Consistently delayed salary: How to support staff in this area

Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U). 

What you need to know:

  • Start with the discussions so that you understand the issues and the best way forward.

Dear Caroline, I work for a family-owned business. The business has many entities, from hotels to car hire services. I joined the company as an HR and administration assistant and have worked up to an HR officer level. I enjoy what I do because it forces me to work outside my comfort zone. The team I work with are friendly and I have a professional relationship with my supervisor. I have noted a trend, and staff have raised concerns about salary delays in the last few months.  The finance office manages salary payments. As the HR team member, how can I support the staff and my manager in this area?  Sheila

Hello Sheila,

thank you for sharing your concern.  You need to be mindful that regardless of whether it is family-owned, the driving factor is the availability of cash flow that allows the business to pay its costs and its employees.

My suggestion is to first speak with your HR  supervisor to understand what issues are affecting the payment of salaries. Approaching it this way allows you to understand what is happening and think through how to message the same to the staff. The critical issue here is not to cause panic among the team.

You must also work with your HR supervisor to provide them feedback from the staff about their concerns.

In addition to having a session with your manager and communicating with staff, if there is an indication that there may be need to change due to cash flow issues, you may want to start thinking about how to restructure work and when work is completed. This may mean that we move staff to work part-time or on shorter shifts.

This means that the team will be working less and likely get less pay, but you are trying to be supportive so that the team does not lose their jobs and get no pay.  

If the trend continues, there is a high chance that either staff will likely be made redundant. If this were to happen, you would have to play a tricky balancing act of supporting the process and staff transition out of the business.

That said, start with the discussions so that you understand the issues and the best way forward. Good luck. 

Caroline Mboijana,
Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U)