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Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals - Six Steps to implementing Online Payslips in ESR


The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) is the main provider of district general hospital services for nearly half a million people and have a staff headcount of just under 8,000. 

SaTH moved to online payslips from August 2020 - their driver coming from their Workforce and Medical Directors who wanted to protect staff during the pandemic by minimising the distribution of paper and reduce foot traffic at hospital sites, thereby removing the need for people to collect payslips from work locations (as this supported home working and redeployed staff), while removing the security risk of non-collection. 

The ESR West Midlands Functional Account Manager, Kerry Rooke, supported the SaTH ESR team to introduce online payslips, providing assistance and guidance where needed and following the steps as outlined in the Implementing Online Payslips toolkit (available here on the ESR Hub).  The toolkit was not available at the time SaTH moved to online payslips, but the guidance provided broadly followed the six step implementation process as detailed within the toolkit. 

SaTH and six Steps to online payslips

1.  Employee Self Service (ESS) – ensure employees have access to ESS or ESS Limited Access over the internet

SaTH were not using Employee Self Service (ESS) prior to their move to online payslips, therefore the first step of their project was to implement Employee Self Service Limited Access (ESSLA). 

Employees who didn’t have an email account were set up with the support of the Trust’s IT team. Having all employees using an account has proven invaluable in helping with the need to support staff testing and vaccination activities during the pandemic.   Staff Side’s input was invaluable and they were fully supportive of the move to online payslips.

The Trust’s ESR team created and resourced a dedicated telephone support service for all staff that needed assistance with accessing ESS for first time. 

To support the introduction of ESS and to promote engagement with staff, useful information and local user guides were made available on their ESR intranet and Trust internet pages. 

The BI NHS Workforce Profile Dashboard (Online ESR access) report was used extensively throughout the project to monitor and report on progress with users accessing ESS.  

Rhia Boyode – Workforce Director advised:

The team did a great job with introducing ESR ESS across our Trust during a very challenging time. The benefits to our staff are fantastic and I’d recommend that if you haven’t fully deployed ESR ESS you do so as it’s been very well received by our staff.

2. Opt out of receiving paper payslips at Trust level

SaTH opted out of receiving paper payslips in August 2020, by switching the Workstructures – Organisation Trust level ‘Print Payslip and P60’ flag to No.  At the time of switching off, although not all staff had accessed their ESS account, the team supported those staff that required assistance.  The switch-off had been preceded with a “soft-launch” in June that was intended to promote the option to staff to opt out of receiving paper payslips.

3.  Exceptions – review exceptions and opt back in at individual level or via mass update

SaTH have an impressive 98% of staff who have opted out of receiving a printed payslip, and ensure that only those with exceptional reasons receive a paper payslip – an example would be visual impairment. A number of staff asked to continue to receive a paper payslip and approximately 2% have been opted back in at individual level. The SaTH Pay Services Team completed this task by manually amending the Person level – Extra Information Type – ‘Print Payslip and P60’ flag to Yes against each individual.  For staffs who currently receive a paper payslip, this is posted to their home address. 

SaTH had minimal numbers so chose to opt individuals back in by entering each Person record; however, if organisations have a requirement to opt a large number of individuals back into receiving paper payslips/P60s, a process is available to mass update person records via the creation of an assignment set.

4.  Offset Date – set the number of days before payday when payslips are available via ESS

SaTH have their Payslip offset date set to -8, which means that their employees have the ability to view their payslip 8 days before payday. 

Andy Lloyd – Head of Payroll Services commented:

We have the payslip set as -8 as we like our employees to be able to view their payslips as soon as we can let them; it helps the Payroll Team as we can space out the queries. 

Example above shows payday -4 days.

5.  Online Payslip Generation – run the Payroll and ensure processes run to generate online payslips

A number of Payroll processes need to be completed before the generation of the online payslips (see related document – Detailed End to End Payroll Processes).  After completion of the relevant processes the following requests will generate the online payslip for viewing by Payroll and Self Service users:

  • NHS Generate Payslip Data Archive (gathers and stores payslip data for all employees processed in a Payroll run).
  • NHS Complete Payslip Archive (picks up the final status of the payslip and adds any payslip messages that may need to be included, therefore should be run after BACS completion).

SaTH run the NHS Copy Pay Advice each pay period which automatically submits the NHS Generate Payslip Data Archive process - if it hasn’t already been run. However, the recommended process is to run the above two processes independently, as single requests.

6.  Leavers and Exceptions – produce copy payslips

As employees no longer have access to My ESR from their ‘Actual Termination Date’, leavers are automatically eligible to receive a printed payslip to their home.  SaTH run the NHS Pay Advice process which automatically produces paper payslips for their leavers. 

Also, SaTH ensured that those who were on maternity leave during the implementation period are provided with access to their ESR ESS account.

Next steps

SaTH’s introduction of ESSLA and online payslips has encouraged and increased the appetite for additional use of ESR functionality, and the next step on their ESR journey is to implement Manager Self Service functionality.

James Drury – Director of Finance states:

This is the second Trust where I have implemented electronic payslips.  Using ESR is simple and straightforward, saves paper and reduces payroll costs.

Further Information and Guidance

In December 2020, approximately 81% of NHS employees who have an ESR record no longer received a paper payslip.  For ESR organisations that are yet to make the switch, we hope by sharing the experiences of the SaTH team, it has helped dispel any concerns you may have and encourage you to look at your own online payslip transition. 

SaTH followed our step by step guidance about how to implement online payslips; the full toolkit is available on the ESR Hub, just visit

Further information and support is also available by contacting your Regional Functional Account Manager.



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