What is Zenefits Payroll?

Zenefits is a cloud-based integrated human resources (HR) management system for small- to medium-sized businesses. The product and service offerings focus on employee onboarding, employee records management, organization charts, time-off tracking, and workforce scheduling. Clients may also choose from various optional add-ons, each attracting additional fees, including payroll administration, benefits management, and access to a panel of HR and payroll experts.

Zenefits is a US company founded in 2013 that originally traded as YourPeople, Inc. before being acquired in 2022 by HR solutions company TriNet. TriNet Zenefits is a technology company headquartered in San Francisco, California, with offices in Charlotte, Tempe, Vancouver, and Bangalore, employing 700 people and supplying HR solutions to 23,000 small to medium-sized businesses. In the past, the company has been valued at over $4 billion. Originally founded to help start-ups locate insurance quotes and manage their employee benefits, the company reinvented itself in 2017 as a software-as-a-service company, offering HR, benefits, payroll, and wellness apps to small businesses and insurance brokers.

The payroll add-on integrates with the base HR package to ensure new hires and existing employee HR information is fully synchronized. This integration ensures the correct wage or salary information is used, and hours worked, leave taken, and breaks are correctly accounted for within payroll. Benefits plans are automatically calculated with the correct deductions applied. Most federal and state tax filings, including 1099 filings for contractors, are automatically managed. Comprehensive payroll administration tasks are included to support the bulk uploading of bonuses and commissions to all employees, eliminating the opportunity for errors.

Zenefits payroll supports all workers, whether consultants, contractors, freelancers, or full-time employees, supporting multiple pay rates and custom earning codes. It also has the functionality to calculate garnishment withholding requirements and provides support for payments due to Child Support agencies. When a new worker is added, a lifetime account is created to enable that employee to access their records even after they have left your business.

What popular features do you get with Zenefits Payroll?

  • Integration with over 40 apps
  • Automated reminders
  • Multiple labor codes for analysis
  • General ledger reporting

  • Manages employee tips
  • Syncs with existing apps
  • Automatic salary update feature
  • Multiple pay rates

  • Automatic new hire state filing
  • Payment by direct deposit
  • Multiple payment schedules
  • Dynamic paystubs with helpful information

Customer Support is available at Zenefits Payroll

As with all such providers, Zenefits Payroll offers a comprehensive self-help menu sorted by topic, offering articles and FAQ lists. There is also a training portal with a large number of explanatory videos. If those resources don’t get you there, you can log in to access an automated ‘assistant’ to best direct you to an answer. However, if speaking to a human is the only solution, the Zenefits customer care team is available to call from 7 am to 4 pm, Pacific Standard Time; you will need to be logged in to access their number.


What kind of business is Zenefits Payroll ideal for?

Zenefits Payroll is suitable for established businesses with worker numbers over five. This limit is due to a minimum employee requirement that Zenefits applies to all HR Base Plans and add-on features, like Zenefits Payroll. While you can use the software for fewer numbers, you’ll be paying a subscription rate and add-on cost as if you had five workers. That makes no economic sense for smaller operations with two or three workers. That said, if you are a small to mid-sized business, whether remote, virtual, or brick-and-mortar, Zenefits Payroll may well be what you’re looking for, given the strong HR system that underpins it.

Pros and Cons

  • Integrated HR, compensation, and performance management
  • Multiple work schedules and pay rates
  • Unlimited pay runs
  • A general ledger reporting feature
  • Support for garnishments and child support
  • Automatic payroll filing
  • W2 and 1099 capability
  • Integrations with major accounting packages such as Quickbooks and Xero

  • The five-worker minimum excludes smaller organizations
  • The pricing structure is cumbersome
  • Payroll plan is not stand alone but must be purchased as an add-on to the HR package
  • The mobile app is good for viewing information but is limited for administrators

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How much does Zenefits Payroll cost?

*based on information provided by the vendor. Actual cost may vary.

You cannot purchase the payroll option as a stand alone package. First, you must decide which of three base HR plans you wish to subscribe to. The core features of all three include automated onboarding, employee management, time-off tracking, scheduling, access to all app integrations, and mobile app use.

These features comprise the cheapest Essentials plan, while upgrading to the Growth plan adds compensation and performance management features. The third plan is called Zen, and it contains all features in the Growth plan but adds well-being, employee engagement surveys, and a collaborative ‘people hub’ feature.

Once you have selected your base HR plan, you can add payroll, advisory services, and using your own benefits administration, with each add-on attracting a further charge per worker. The following table outlines the prices.

Base Plan Essentials Growth Zen
Annual plan paid monthly $8 $14 $21
Monthly plan paid monthly $10 $18 $27
Opt. Add-On Plans Payroll Advisory Services Own Benefits Admin
Annual plan paid monthly $6 $8 $5
Monthly plan paid monthly $6 $10 $5

Bear in mind that these prices are all paid per worker, with a minimum worker requirement of five. For example, the cheapest subscription for the Essential plan with the payroll add-on on an annual subscription will be $70 per month.

Final thoughts...

If you are solely seeking payroll processing and have only a few employees, other providers will be more suitable to your needs and budget. However, if you have five or more employees, see value in the HR offerings, and are prepared to pay for them in addition to your payroll needs, Zenefits Payroll might be just what you’re looking for.

You gain a comprehensive and integrated platform that meets your HR and payroll needs, with advisory support on offer as a separate package. The Zenefits product has consistently won awards as one of the top HR and payroll software offerings, suggesting they’re doing something right.