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You can use this topic to help make decisions when planning your configuration and use of on-cycle payroll processing.

Downstream impacts and cross-product interactions. Security requirements and business process configurations. Questions and limitations to consider before implementation.

What It Is

On-cycle payroll processing enables you to calculate payroll for your workers on a regular, recurring cycle. Workday on-cycle payroll enables you to:

Calculate payroll for all workers in a pay group, a subset of workers, or a single worker. Recalculate payroll results as needed.

Cancel or reverse pay results. Put a worker’s pay on hold.

Business Benefits

 Workday Payroll gives you the flexibility to calculate payroll when it’s convenient for you. You can:

Initiate a payroll calculation manually. Schedule it to run at a certain time.

Enable it to run continuously in the background.

You can use the smart calculation option to maximize efficiency and performance. Smart calculation includes only workers with a pay-impacting event since the last calculation.

The continuous payroll calculation feature calculates payroll as pay-impacting events occur, reducing the need to initiate calculations manually.

Use Cases

In addition to calculating regular, recurring payroll results, you can:

Manually or automatically open a new pay period for a pay group by running a full calculation.

Recalculate payroll for a worker after adding pay input or making other changes that affect pay.

Cancel pay results for all workers when you need to make a configuration change. Example: Correct the payment date.

Put a worker’s pay result on hold to prevent payment temporarily while you troubleshoot issues.

Questions to Consider

Before you use on-cycle payroll processing, consider:

Question Considerations
How often do you want to process payroll?

You can calculate payroll as often as needed to update payroll results.

When you need to make corrections, you don’t need to cancel the calculation, just recalculate the payroll result.


Workday automatically opens a new payroll period when you calculate payroll results for a pay group after closing the previous period. Workday recommends that you start each pay period with a full calculation that includes all workers.


At the end of the period, Workday

recommends that you run another full calculation to make sure you’ve processed all pay-impacting events for the period.

Do you want updated payroll results continually throughout the pay period? If yes, consider enabling the continuous payroll calculation feature. This feature automates payroll calculations, continuously updating pay results as events occur. You can pause continuous calculation when you want to perform period-end audits.
When do you want process payroll? Processing payroll is a calculation-intensive process that could affect the performance of other jobs. If you initiate payroll calculations manually, you can schedule the job to run after hours, either once or on a recurring basis.
Which workers do you want to process?

The Run Pay Calculation task provides options to let you select individual workers, as well as workers with selected:

Payroll-impacting events. Pay result statuses.


To save processing time, select the Smart

Calculation option when recalculating payroll.

The Smart Calculation option excludes

workers whose pay results haven’t changed since the last payroll calculation.

Question Considerations
Do you have payments other than salary that you pay on a defined schedule?

When you have payments that fall outside of the regular payroll schedule, you can create off-cycle payments. When the payments occur on a recurring basis, you can set up separate nonregular run categories for

recurring payments (Example: bonuses).

Do you need to exclude a worker from receiving a payment?

To exclude a worker from receiving a payment, you can put a worker’s in progress pay calculation on hold. Workday then excludes the worker from further processing so you can complete payroll for the rest of the workers in the pay group.


Before you can open a new period for the pay group, you’ll need to remove the hold and complete or cancel the worker’s pay result.

Do you need to split a worker’s pay into multiple checks?

You can’t automatically split a worker’s on- cycle pay into multiple checks in a period. To create multiple checks, you can create an on-demand replacement payment and 1 or

more on-demand additional payments for the worker.

Do you need to update accounting for all workers?

When you calculate payroll, you can reduce processing time by only updating accounting for the workers processed. When you’re

ready to complete payroll, Workday

recommends that you update accounting for all workers.


Ensure that you set up period schedules correctly before running your first payroll. Once you start live payroll processing, changes are more difficult.

 Don’t run more than 1 processing task for a pay group at the same time. Running concurrent tasks in multiple browser tabs increases the risk of data corruption. Example: Don’t cancel an individual worker’s payroll result while a payroll calculation is running.

 To help ensure data accuracy, don’t abort payroll processing tasks.

 If you start the Run Pay Calculation task in error, let it finish. Then use the Run Pay Cancel task to cancel the pay results and reset the workers’ status to Not Yet Started.

If you start the Run Pay Complete task in error, let it finish. Then use the Cancel Pay Complete task to set all pay results back to In Progress status.

 Before you complete regular payroll for the period:

Review and verify all data generated by the payroll calculation (Examples: Payroll accounting entries, regulatory reporting data). Correct any data as needed and rerun the calculation.

Calculate and complete any retroactive pay differences for the pay group. This pulls the retro differences into the current period and includes them in the current pay result.


Before you can complete payroll for a pay period, you must complete any on-demand additional and replacement payments.

Before you can open a new pay period:

 Complete all pay results for a pay group.

Resolve any pay results that are in Error status.

Cancel or complete any pay results that are On Hold.


The smart calculation and continuous payroll calculation features detect employee-level events such as a pay raise or a benefits election change, but not configuration changes. Examples:

Changes to an earning that applies to all workers, changes to state tax rates.

Tenant Setup

You can use the Edit Tenant Setup – Payroll task to enable continuous payroll calculation for all regular run categories.


Domains Considerations

Process: Run Batch Calculations (Pay

Calculation) in the Core Payroll functional area.

Users with security enabled for this domain can run and schedule payroll calculations.
Process: Run Batch Cancel (Pay Cancel) in the Core Payroll functional area. Users with security enabled for this domain can cancel a payroll calculation for a pay group or pay run group.

Process: Run Batch Complete (Pay

Complete) in the Core Payroll functional area.

Users with security enabled for this domain can complete payroll for a period.
Process: Off-Cycle (Reversal) in the Core Payroll functional area. Users with security enabled for this domain can reverse a payment to a worker.
Process: Run Batch Cancel Complete in the Core Payroll functional area. Users with security enabled for this domain can cancel a completed on-cycle payroll.
Domains Considerations


Pay Calculation: Ad-Hoc Actions (Cancel)

Pay Calculation: Ad-Hoc Actions (Complete)

Pay Calculation: Ad-Hoc Items (Hold/Un-Hold)

Pay Calculation: Ad-Hoc Actions (Payroll Accounting)

Pay Calculation: Ad-Hoc Actions (Re- Calculate)


All in the Core Payroll functional area.

Users with security enabled for these domains can complete the associated action from the Related Actions menu on a worker’s pay result.

You can set up an unconstrained role to enable a payroll administrator to view and modify data for all pay groups in all payroll countries. You can set up a constrained role that enables payroll partners to view and modify data only for specified pay groups.

Business Processes

You can configure the Pay Cycle Event business process as a to-do list of the required steps in payroll processing. Using this business process can also help you delegate tasks and ensure accountability when multiple users perform different steps in the process.


Reports or Dashboards Considerations
Pay Cycle Command Center Use to access common tasks used to process payroll.
Audit – Pay Calculation Results for a Period Configure this report to help you identify unusual pay results for possible errors.
Pay Input Not Processed Use to find pay inputs for a period that the payroll calculation didn’t process.
Pay Calculation Results for Group of Workers Use to find payroll results for workers in a pay group or pay run group.

 When you create custom reports, use report data sources that use 1 of these business objects:

Payroll Results for gross and net totals.

Payroll Result Lines for pay component-level detail.

For best performance, Workday recommends:

Using indexed report data sources when possible.

For payroll reporting, avoiding report data sources that use the Worker business object.


You can use the:

Put Run Pay Calculation web service to start a pay calculation.

Get Run Pay Calculation web service to retrieve the status of a calculation.

Connections and Touchpoints

Features Considerations
Absence balances

Workday frequently uses absence balances from Absence Management as part of payroll calculations. To ensure optimal performance when calculating on-cycle payroll, Workday

recommends that you manually schedule the storage of absence balances based on your business needs. See Concept: Guidelines for Storing Time Off Balances.

Pay groups and pay run groups

Pay groups enable you to group workers for payroll processing, and to define the eligibility rules for earnings and deductions.

You can set up pay run groups to process and report on payroll results for multiple pay groups together.

Payroll accounting Workday automatically generates payroll accounting entries as part of the calculation process.
Period schedules Payroll calculations interact with the period schedule to determine period start and end dates and payment date. If you use the continuous calculation feature, you can also configure when to automatically run the first calculation of the period.
Run categories Run categories define which pay components and types of workers to process in payroll calculations.

Workday offers a Touchpoints Kit with resources to help you understand configuration relationships in your tenant.


Review setup considerations for on-cycle payroll processing. Enter or load payroll input for the pay period.


You can process on-cycle payroll to:

Calculate and complete payroll. Generate payroll accounting entries.

You can run and complete pay calculations for pay groups with workers in both U.S. and Canada, provided all workers have the same period schedule. Run the settlement process separately for each country.

Even if the pay group is effective as of the period end, pay calculations still include:

Workers terminated in the middle of the pay period. Workers who are on leave in the middle of the pay period.

Workday automatically generates accounting entries when you calculate on-cycle and off-cycle payroll results. It generates entries for accruals and accrual reversals as part of normal, on-cycle runs based on the accrual dates specified on the period schedule.


  1. Verify input data for the payroll calculation. Examples: Worker data, payroll input, absence, and compensation data.
  1. Process retroactive payroll. Workday recommends that you run the retro pay calculation at least once before running each on-cycle pay, including the initial payroll run. This enables you to maximize the number of supported retro events that Workday can process and forward to workers’ regular pay results.
  1. Access the Retro Calculation Processing Report to verify retro pay results.

You can use the report to take action on the results. Examples: You can suspend the results to exclude them from further processing, or cancel them to adjust retro entries.

  1. Manually or automatically start on-cycle payroll calculations: Calculate On-Cycle Payroll.

Schedule Payroll Calculations.

Access the initiating task from the Pay Cycle Event business process.

  1. Run Payroll Audits.

Workday recommends that you verify and correct audit exceptions. See Reference: Payroll Audit Reports.

  1. Review and correct payroll results.

Correct worker data, such as new approved time entries. Adding payroll input.

Creating on-demand payments.

  1. Review and correct accounting results.

To avoid completing pay calculations with journal errors, Workday recommends you address all errors when reviewing results.

  1. Complete Retro Results for Workers.
  2. (Optional) Recalculate pay results.

Calculate On-Cycle Payroll: For a pay run group or pay group. Recalculate a Payroll Result: For a single worker.

Rerun Pay Accounting: For a pay run group or a pay group.

  1. Complete Payroll.

For off-cycle payments, view the Pay Calculation Results for Worker or Pay Calculation Results for Group of Workers report.

  1. Reconcile payroll results and prepare external payments and declarations.

3  | Complete Payroll


Calculate payroll and generate accounting entries using the Run Pay Calculation task.

Make sure that a full calculation has run for the period. Select either Smart Calculation or Based on Result Status > Not Yet Started.

Clear the Limit Accounting Population Based on Calculation Criteria check box to ensure that you include any recent costing allocation changes. It refreshes accounting for your entire payroll population before you complete payroll.

Verify that payroll results are correct and complete. Verify that payroll accounting is correct.

When completing on-demand additional payments that include retroactive differences, the retro results are Complete.


Process: Run Batch Complete (Pay Complete) domain in the Core Payroll functional area.

Pay Calculation: Ad-Hoc Actions (Complete) domain in the Core Payroll functional area.

Reports: Pay Calculation Results for Pay Group (Results) – CAN domain in the CAN Payroll functional area.


You can complete In Progress on-cycle payroll or off-cycle payments for:

An individual payroll result, using the Pay Calculation > Complete related action. Pay groups or pay run groups, using these steps.

Note: Workday doesn’t recommend aborting the Run Pay Complete task. But if you do, Workday resets the status of any Completed results back to In Progress. Depending on the number of results, the reset could take a significant amount of time.

Workday uses the currency rate type (or the company override) as of the pay period end date for currency conversions during the pay calculation.

Workday recommends that you:

Complete payroll in advance of Workday updates, to avoid midperiod changes in tax calculations or gross-to-net pay.

Ensure that all payroll results with their corresponding accounting journals are up to date before completing payroll. You can use the Payroll Results with Outdated Accounting report to identify results that’s out of sync.

If you can’t complete payroll, you can run the Pay Calculation Results for Group of Workers report before the update and download the results. After the update, compare the latest results and make any necessary adjustments.


  1. Access the Run Pay Complete task.
  2. Select the Period to complete.
  3. Select the pay run groups or pay groups to complete.
  4. Select On-cycle in the On-cycle/Off-cycle field, or On-cycle and Off-cycle to complete results for both
Option                                                                     Description
Current Period Select a period in progress from the Period prompt.
Option                                                                     Description
Prior Period

Select the Prior Period check box and a prior Period.

You can select any period in the 6 calendar years preceding the current year. Workday determines the current year as the year of In Progress results or the next period to be calculated.

Next Period

Select the Next Period check box and a Period that’s Opened for Off-Cycles.

Use this to complete next period on- demand payments that you’ve run.

  1. Result

Workday changes the status of In Progress results in other pay groups to Requires Re-Calculation, when:

A worker belongs to multiple pay groups, and

You complete the worker’s payroll results for only 1 pay group.

4  | Concept: Payroll Process Workflow

Processing payroll in Workday follows these main steps:

  1. Input worker data
  2. Calculate
  3. Review
  4. Complete
  5. Settle

Keep this basic workflow in mind as you address variations or complexities, such as payroll input by worker.

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