Help Centre for Employers

Why is there a pay period 53 and what do I need to do?

Artwork of a calendar and the text 'Week 53' continued by 'All you need to know'

What is pay period 53?

Pay period 53 takes place when there are 53 weekly pay days in the year – usually when it’s in a leap year. For the 2019/2020 tax year, pay period 53 is Saturday 4 April and Sunday 5 April 2020.

How does it affect the payroll run?

If you run a weekly, two-weekly or four-weekly payroll you may need to complete an additional period after week 52 to finish your PAYE tax year.

If your normal pay date falls on 4 April or 5 April in 2020, you’ll need to complete the additional period to complete your tax year – even though this might only be one or two days.

As 2020 is a leap year, there may also be additional pay periods as follows:

  • Week 54 if you pay your employees fortnightly
  • Week 56 if you pay your employees every four weeks.

How do I amend the pay schedule?

Once you’ve submitted pay period 53, select ‘Edit schedule’ – you can find this on the payroll page under the dates for your next expected file submission – to manipulate pay period 1 to match the dates to your payroll structure.

Monthly payrolls aren’t affected by the additional week.

What does pay period 53 mean for employees?

HMRC instructs employers to give employees an extra amount of tax-free pay – even if their tax-free pay for the year has been allocated. This helps to protect employees’ take-home pay, and ensures the tax for that week doesn’t vary too much from the usual amount.

Once the tax year ends, HMRC will recover the underpaid tax given by the extra personal allowance, by sending out a P800 calculation.

If you have any questions or need information, call our dedicated support team on 0330 100 3336 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

When you call, please quote your four-digit employer code. This will help us to help you faster.

You can also email us on, including the details above.

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