When an employee dies

Practical steps when an employee dies


When an employee dies there are a number of practical issues you will need to sort out. You will have to deal with payroll and pension issues. You will also have to make temporary arrangements to cover their work.

Payroll issues when an employee dies

You or your payroll department, if you have one, must calculate the final pay amount owed to the employee. You should make sure this is paid to the deceased employee's personal representative, usually the executor of the estate.

You will need to consider whether the employee was:

  • due any outstanding payments of wages
  • due any outstanding payments for untaken holidays
  • due to make payments from their salary, such as student loan or child support payments
  • receiving statutory payments, eg maternity pay
  • a member of a company share scheme

Payments made after an employee's death are still subject to the same tax rules as normal. However, Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) - from both employer and employee - do not have to be made and a P45 does not need to be produced.

For more information on dealing with payroll after an employee dies, see employees joining, leaving or changing their circumstances.

Occupational pension schemes when an employee dies

A surviving spouse or other dependants may be entitled to receive a survivor's pension.

In some cases, a lump-sum payment may become available. This will often be paid to the surviving spouse, or to a person named on the employee's nomination form, or to the executor of the estate as decided by the scheme's trustees.

If the pension scheme is trust based, the trustee chair of the pension scheme will be able to provide further detail on any payments which need to be made to the deceased's dependants.

If the pension scheme is contract based (eg a group personal pension), you will need to approach the scheme provider. They will be able to advise on any death-in-service benefits that are due. Know your legal obligations on pensions.

Staffing issues when an employee dies

You will have to make arrangements to cover the deceased employee's work. In the short term, you could:

  • reallocate work to existing staff
  • take on a temporary member of staff, eg an agency worker

You can then begin the process of recruiting staff.

  • LRA Workplace Information Service
    03300 555 300
  • HMRC Employer Helpline
    0300 200 3200
  • MoneyHelper helpline
    0800 011 3797
Developed with:
  • LRA