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How to use Unified Payroll

Understand how to use the key features of Unified Payroll

Updated over a week ago


Plane's Unified Payroll experience enables customers to run payroll for US (W-2) employees, international employees, and contractors worldwide, all in the same platform. Unified Payroll replaces Plane's original functionality for recurring contractor payments.

Read more about the benefits and process for switching if that applies to your organization: Switching to Unified Payroll for recurring contractor payments.

Running payroll

Payroll > Run payroll is where you can manage all payroll. Note: You won't see Run payroll in the navigation menu until you receive access.

Run Payroll > Overview

Payroll is represented with payroll items containing the earnings, deductions, benefits, reimbursements, etc., used to pay an employee or contractor for a given pay period.

The Overview tab helps you manage payroll by grouping payroll items to give you quick visibility. You'll see payroll items that:

  • Require approval

  • Have exceptions

  • Are ready for processing

  • Are currently processing or have been recently paid

Payroll items for current pay periods that have not been processed yet will always be displayed with the upcoming deadline(s). You'll also see items that are currently being processed or have been recently paid.

In the example above, one US employee is paid on a twice-per-month pay schedule, and one contractor in India is paid on a monthly pay schedule. Because Unified Payroll enables you to run payroll for everyone – contractors and employees, US and global – you can pay both the US employee and the Indian contractor from the same payroll screen.

In the example, all payroll items in the current period are pending/waiting to be processed with pay dates on May 15th and May 31st.

When you click into the Pending payroll item for the contractor, you see the following.

You can make changes, such as revising hours and adding additional earnings, reimbursements, or notes. Changes are allowed up until the approval deadline, when payroll will begin processing.

You can decide if you want to manually approve payroll or have payroll be auto-approved by toggling a pay schedule's auto-approve setting.

Payroll changes can also be initiated from a team member’s profile, such as changing their compensation or adding a recurring reimbursement.

Approval deadlines and four-day processing

All contractor payroll has a four-business-day processing period. In our example, the pay date is May 31, 2023. Therefore, you must make any changes before the approval deadline of Monday, May 24 at 12 pm Pacific. (This accounts for the bank holiday on Memorial Day, May 29th). Approval deadlines are displayed prominently in the new experience in your local time zone.

Soon after processing begins, Plane will initiate the charge to your bank account or Plane balance to fund payroll. The charge is completed within two business days, and then payments are initiated to team members over the next two days to land on the pay date.

Please note:

  • Maintaining a Plane balance does not change the total 4-day processing period for payroll. Plane balances only shorten the processing period to two days for one-time payments.

  • Payroll for US employees can be shortened to 2-day processing for customers that meet the requirements.

How to use the new payroll experience

The Run payroll page is always available for you to monitor the current pay period and see what has recently been processed or paid.

You will also receive email notifications before the approval deadline:

  • Four business days before if anything requires your attention, such as approvals or conditions that are blocking team members.

  • Two business days before to notify you of any outstanding issues or to let you know that everything looks good.

  • Four hours before if anything still requires your attention.

  • Immediately if a condition blocks payroll for all team members.

To run payroll:

  1. Click on any draft or pending payroll item from Run Payroll > Overview or from Items. You can review payroll by pay period, pay date, or country.

  2. Make changes if necessary.

  • If you make a change to a payroll item that was previously approved, it will remain approved. To move it back to draft, click "Cancel approval."

  • You won’t need to re-authorize any payments after making a change.

Expense reports and recurring reimbursements

Functionality for expense reports and recurring reimbursements works similarly with Unified Payroll.

Expense reports approved for team members who are on payroll will be reimbursed through payroll.

  • Reimbursements are attached to the next available pay period.

  • Admins can reject approved expenses using the Expense page or by editing a payroll item.

  • Recurring reimbursements will continue to be processed via payroll

Payroll history and reporting

View payroll history

Payroll > History gives you access to all payrolls that have been paid. You can review individual payroll items or view the Payroll Summary report.

All payments to team members, whether they originated from Unified Payroll, historical recurring contractor payments, or one-time payments, are included under Payments > History.

Run payroll reports

Two payroll reports are available under Insights > Report:

  • Payroll Summary — View a summary of your team’s past earnings, deductions, and taxes.

  • Payroll Journal — View a detailed breakdown of your team’s past earnings, deductions, and taxes.


ℹ️ Important Information: Only employees and contractors can be added to Unified Payroll. You cannot add vendors but can continue to pay them with one-time payments. You also have the option to convert a vendor to a contractor.

Getting Access

Please contact if you have any questions.

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Questions? We’re here to help! You can find more of our guides here, reach out to us at, or use Plane's in-app chat.

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