Payroll templates are pre-designed spreadsheets and forms that help organize, calculate, and track payroll data. They’re best for business owners who are preparing to hire their first employees and want to better manage payroll. You can use these templates instead of, or in conjunction with, payroll software to eliminate extra costs for add-ons like time tracking.
If you need an easy way to process payroll and automatically sync time tracking to payroll without using Excel templates, then consider Gusto. Its mid-tier service plan, which offers both features, is priced at $39 plus $12 per employee monthly. Automatic payroll tax payments and filings are also included—at no additional cost.
The payroll templates that are best for you depend on the need you’re trying to fill. Do you want an organized way to track your new employees, or are you only looking for help calculating how much your staff should be paid?
We have prepared several free payroll templates that you can use. Simply click to download the ones that you need.
How Payroll Templates Work
Payroll templates are pre-formatted, so all you need to do is fill them in with the applicable information to begin using. If you need to personalize the templates, make sure you have an editable copy so that you can add or change rows, columns, and cells.
Free payroll templates created through spreadsheet programs (like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets) can help you save time, especially if the templates use formulas to automate calculations. These formulas work as a calculator and automatically figure solutions out once you enter the required numerical information.
There are also simpler templates, such as employee information sheets and vacation trackers, that may be printed and filled in by hand. However, some documents (like pay stub templates) require data to be typed in versus handwritten as they appear more professional.
Note that if you opt to use an online payroll template instead of creating one from scratch on your own, be prepared to download and save it to your computer. If you start using a template before saving it, you could risk losing valuable data in the event of a system or website crash.
Payroll Budget Template
Creating a payroll budget is essential, especially for those preparing to either become an employer or continue business operations for a new year or month. You need a way to plan for the expenses ahead, so you can avoid cash shortages and issues with the IRS.
With a payroll budget template, you can plan and track expenses for staff wages, benefits, and Social Security taxes. This form has five tabs, wherein the first one contains instructions. It provides you the option of budgeting for a month, a year, or both. Regardless of which time frame you choose to budget, you should always start with the corresponding “Wage Expense by Employee” tab. It feeds into the “Payroll Expense Budget” tabs and automatically calculates FICA taxes.
In addition, this template enables you to budget for both salaried and hourly employees. There’s even a special place to add in projected bonus payments. Plus, you can use it to plan for overtime expenses.
One item that doesn’t fit in the template is tips. If you have tipped employees, note that while you will need to pay taxes on employee tips received, the tips won’t be a payroll expense to your business.
In terms of budgeting tip payments, if you are paying tipped employees below minimum wage (meaning you are eligible for the tip credit), you should budget at or above the minimum wage amount. This is a conservative practice that will ensure you have enough money to pay employees should they not receive enough tips to boost their hourly wage to the required minimum wage amount. It also ensures your tax budget is sufficient.
Download the free payroll budget template through the link below if you need to plan for wage expenses by employee, including monthly and annual payroll expenses for the company.
New Hire Preparation Templates
Once you have a few employees on board, there are several new hire templates that you may find useful. With these forms, you can compile adequate documentation to organize your employees, track their work hours and paid time-offs (PTOs), and pay them accordingly.
Employee Information Template
If you’re not using payroll software, like Gusto, for pay processing, our employee information sheet is useful for organizing new hires. You should print several copies so that you can have the templates on hand when new employees start. It’s also pretty self-explanatory—new hires enter their personal information (like name and date of birth), in addition to emergency contact information, on specific data fields. There’s even a section for job details with spaces for pay-related information and a supervisor’s name that you can complete.
You can download our free employee information template by clicking the button below.
Payroll Time Sheet Template
If you don’t have a time tracking software like Homebase, then you need a time sheet to track employee work hours for payroll processing. This is critical for businesses that hire hourly employees like restaurant servers.
We have seven free payroll time sheet templates available for you to use. There’s a time sheet for employers who pay weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, daily, semi-monthly, and by project. Download the one that fits your pay schedule and business requirements.
- Payroll Time Sheet Templates (MS Excel templates)
- Daily Time Sheet Template (PDF)
- Weekly Time Sheet Template (PDF)
- Bi-Weekly Time Sheet Template (PDF)
- Semi-Monthly Time Sheet Template (PDF)
- Monthly Time Sheet Template (PDF)
- Project Time Sheet Template (PDF)
Employee Scheduling Template
Having an employee scheduling template is useful, especially if your company operates outside of normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). We have two templates available for you—one allows your employees to request changes within the spreadsheet, while the other doesn’t. Both forms also help you create weekly schedules as far into the future as you’re willing to plan.
You can check our two free employee scheduling templates via the link below, and download the one that fits your needs best.
Vacation Tracker Template
If you offer your employees PTO or paid vacation time, then you’ll need a way to track the PTO hours used. Our free vacation tracker can be used either as an electronic spreadsheet or in printed form. It tracks vacation hours by day and month and has 12 tabs labeled by month.
If you opt to use the template electronically, note that the total hours will automatically populate as you enter data. This makes it easy to monitor how much PTO each employee has earned.
You can also print the tracker and post it in your office for easy access. However, be sure to delete all the data in Column AG (titled the “Total Hours” column) before printing. Currently, it has a formula that sums all of the cells to the left of it, which explains why it reflects zero. Once you delete the formulas, the cells will become blank, leaving space for you to manually enter a total at month-end.
You can download our free vacation tracker below.
Whether you’re doing payroll yourself or have subscribed to a third-party service, having payday templates can help you calculate how much to pay employees and the IRS (for payroll taxes). They can also be useful for providing the information you need to prepare salary-related documents like pay stubs and W-2 Forms.
Annual Payroll Template
Our 12-month template is pretty extensive and can calculate gross and net pay for each month. It computes taxes for each employee if you enter the required tax rates. You can even see payroll expenses broken down by month and totaled as annual expenses. Benefit contributions, payroll taxes, and reimbursements are a few other components managed in the spreadsheet.
Another useful feature is the PTO summary tracker within the “Setup” tab of this template. As long as you enter the annual number of PTO hours that each employee is entitled to, along with the credits used each pay period (in the monthly tabs), the spreadsheet will keep a running total of available PTO per employee.
There’s also a separate tab for employer payroll taxes and workers’ compensation expenses. It automatically calculates how much you owe each month—provided you enter the rates you’re required to pay. Note that FICA tax rates are already built in, so you won’t need to re-enter them.
Download our free 12-month payroll template and review how to do payroll in Excel.
Pay Stub Template
Depending on your state laws, you may be required to provide your employees with pay stubs that list how much you paid in wages, the period for which you paid them, and other pay-related details. We have several templates for you to choose from—there’s a generic pay stub template, a restaurant-specific form, and a household employer template. The restaurant pay stub template even has columns for cash, credit card, and allocated tips.
While you can find many free pay stub templates online, you can also check our forms below to find one that may work for your business.
Payroll Accounting Templates
Given that all payroll transactions affect the company’s accounting and general ledger, employers should be familiar with the payroll accounting and bookkeeping sides of the business. General ledgers can also help you efficiently conduct financial analysis. It even provides insight into the company’s past, present, and future since it houses all of the finance-related transaction histories.
Payroll Chart of Accounts
Before you can start recording payroll transactions in your company’s financial ledger, you must have a chart of accounts that include payroll accounts. Our payroll chart of accounts template can be used and printed as is without adding any information to it. However, if you need to personalize the template—whether by renaming an account or updating a description—you can copy the data and paste it into a Word document.
To start an effective payroll accounting system, click on the below button to download our free payroll chart of accounts.
Payroll Expense Analysis Template
A payroll expense analysis template is good for any company that’s undergone at least a month of payroll expenses. It provides key metrics to help you identify any red flags you should monitor going forward. With our template, you have five calculations that you can choose to use. You can enter annual payroll expense totals to see if there are any noticeable trends. The other analyses perform various calculations for you, while the payroll trend analysis is more of an observation than a calculation.
There’s even an option to evaluate management wage expenses as a percentage of total expenses. If you want to make comparisons, you can substitute management costs with labor costs for other staff types (like dishwashers, hosts, chefs). Having access to this data can help you review how you schedule certain employees to drive down costs or identify whether you’re overpaying in some areas.
For example, if you own a restaurant, you can use the template to calculate how much of your revenue is used to cover payroll expenses. Restaurateurs typically aim to keep labor costs between 20% and 30% of sales, according to Upserve. Imagine finding out your business is spending 50% on labor costs after entering the required data into the payroll template. This allows you to perform further analysis to figure out what’s driving the excessive costs.
Download our free payroll expense analysis template to start reviewing your payroll expenses.
Free payroll templates are good tools to use when you’re not subscribed to a software service and have a few employees. Aside from these forms being free, they’re also customizable. When deciding which templates are right for you, consider your business needs. While templates are great for organizing, tracking, and calculating, some of these forms aren’t the best at handling unique employee and payroll-related situations.
If you’re interested in using a flexible payroll provider that can handle various situations (like multiple pay types), consider Gusto. Starting at $39 plus $6 per employee monthly, it can automate your payroll and handle payroll tax payments and filings (federal, state, and local taxes). All documentation is stored electronically, and the provider offers numerous templates to make your hiring process go smoother. Sign up for a Gusto plan today.