To wrap up a blog series to celebrate National Payroll Week we have complied eight fun historic facts for people interested in a career in the profession or for business owners who are generally interested in knowing more about outsourcing your payroll.


1. The word payroll came into use around the 1750’s as a combination of the words Pay (a verb) and Roll (a noun) referring to a list of periodic payments made to employees as salary.


2. The 1925 Contributory Pensions Act – set up a contributory State scheme for manual workers and others earning up to £250 a year. The pension was 50p a week from age 65.


3. The word salary can be traced to ancient Rome and the history of salt. Roman soldiers were historically paid in coin, but it is also said that they were paid in salt. Some even say the word salary is derived from the word salt, due to the salt allowances of soldiers. The Latin salarium may have originally been “salt-money, soldier’s allowance for the purchase of salt,” using salarius “pertaining to salt.”


4. In 1535, King Henry VIII of England, who wore a beard himself, introduced a tax on beards. The tax was a graduated tax, varying with the wearer’s social position. His daughter, Elizabeth I of England, reintroduced the beard tax, taxing every beard of more than two-weeks growth.Outso


5. Albert Einstein is rumoured to have said “The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax”.


6. In 1966, The Beatles released the song Taxman to protest the 95% supertax they were paying – no wonder so many rich and famous people went to live abroad.


7. The phrase ‘bringing home the bacon’ originated in the early 20th century, used by the working class, with bacon being a staple meat for that class.


8. So, when was the first computerised payroll used? Another step towards the payroll that we use today was the development of the first computerised payroll system. An early IT based payroll system began to take shape in the 1950’s when the first computerised LEO (Lyons Electronic Office) was developed in order to handle clerical tasks. It was first used for valuations, but it was soon used to manage other clerical tasks including payroll services.


While payrolls history might be fun, payroll administration can be complex, and take up valuable time you should be spending on growing your business. 


If you would like to learn more about how Robson Laidler’s payroll team can help with the smooth running of your business, then get in touch with us here.



For more detailed information regarding payroll, click the following link to read part 1 in our National Payroll Week series: