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Zenefits Payroll Review | Best Payroll Services
Zenefits Payroll Review | Best Payroll Services
April 16, 2021 / Sarah Pritzker
Zenefits Payroll Review | Best Payroll Services
April 16, 2021 / Sarah Pritzker
Easy & reliable payroll software
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Zenefits is a fully-featured online payroll software that includes much more than your typical payroll services. From new hire onboarding to time tracking, benefits management, and multi-labor codes, Zenefits has a ton of functionality. Zenefits allows you unlimited pay runs and provides direct deposit for faster, more efficient payments. You can automate your recurring payrolls, schedule multiple deductions, and customize earning codes as well.


  • One-year free payroll limited offer
  • Unlimited pay runs
  • Multiple payment schedules and types


  • No payroll-only plans
  • Mobile app needs more functionality

Best for - Startups, small-medium size businesses

Price range - From $8-$27

Benefits & HR - Commuter benefits, life and disability, 401k, FSA, HSA accounts, supplemental benefits, onboarding, compensation packages, HR management, time-off management, exiting

Automatic tax filing - Yes

Apps - Quickbooks, Guideline, Xero, Copilot, and more

Features and Add-ons

Zenefits is a full HR management software. So, in addition to payroll, there are a lot of additional features and services that come included with a Zenefits plan. Here are the main highlights:


Zenefits covers the whole gamut of human resource management from potential hires to employee exiting. Zenefits manages details before an employee is even hired, including compensation packages, auto-sending offer letters, and recruitment scouting. HR includes onboarding, company directories, and employee self-management portals. Plus, Zenefits has time-off request management and other PTO policy details. In short, it's the whole package.


Zenefits offers a pretty well-rounded variety of employee benefits. Some of the benefits employers can offer include:

  • Commuter benefits
  • Life and disability
  • 401k
  • FSA/HSA accounts
  • Supplemental benefits

Benefits are available in 49 of the 50 states (exclusive of Hawaii), and Zenefits lets you choose between using your own broker or opting for one of their certified brokers.

Time & Scheduling

Not to be outdone, Zenefits handles time and scheduling with full integration. There are a lot of customizable features (including niche-specific tools), so you can tailor the software for your specific business needs. Some features include creating and editing work shifts, notifications, block out dates, role-based schedules, employee activity monitoring, and managing PTO requests. That last one syncs automatically with HR and payroll, so your calculations are seamless across the system.

We like that you can track work time for different types of employees, including independent contractors/freelancers, full-time, and part-time employees.


Zenefits integrates with a lot of popular business apps, including benefits, financial, accounting, performance management, and travel apps. Some of the big names that work smoothly with Zenefits include Zapier, G Suite, Salesforce, Office 365, Slack, Guideline 401k, Xero, Quickbooks, Uber, Lyft, Bonsuly, BetterWorks, and Expensify. What’s more, Zenefits will let you create your own integration (if you’ve got the knowhow).


Last, but certainly not least, Zenefits has plenty of payroll features to earn its reputation. While payroll is just an add-on, we were impressed with how well Zenefits does payroll. It has a lot of extra functionality that even dedicated payroll services don’t include. Here are some of the advanced features that we were impressed to see from Zenefits:

  • Auto-prorated payments for new hires
  • Automated reminders and tasks
  • Dynamic pay stubs
  • Pay previews
  • Bulk earnings uploading
  • Lifetime accounts
  • Capture reported tips
  • Contractors payments
  • Multiple deductions
  • Custom earning codes
  • Multiple labor codes
  • Garnishments

Zenefits really makes a solid payroll service, despite having other notches on its software belt. It’s also worth noting that Zenefits offers nine different types of workers you can pay. This is a lot more than most competitors make available to you.

Tax Compliance

Zenefits is a full tax compliance service. State and federal taxes are automatically filed, along with the end of year W2s. Zenefits can manage tax compliances in all 50 states. But what we really liked about this software is its automatic compliance assistance. This feature makes sure that all pay stubs that are issued are compliant according to the federal, state, and local regulations. The ACA also ensures that you have the right documentation for your payroll and that they are securely stored online. In our opinion, this is the most important feature for a tax compliant payroll service to offer because it'll help you avoid severe tax penalties due to misinformation or lack of knowledge (a common pitfall for small businesses and startups).

Payment Options

Zenefits uses direct deposit in the vast majority of cases. In fact, it’s the default setting when you run payroll. However, you can have paper checks printed for employees that select to not have direct deposit as their payment method of choice.

Pricing/Costs & Fees

One downside to working with Zenefits is that it doesn't offer businesses a stand-alone payroll plan. If you want to get payroll services, you'll have to purchase it as an add-on to one of the HR software packages. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering the fact that the HR plans give you a ton of useful features. But if you're just looking for a straight-up payroll service, then this will register as a drawback.

On the other hand, considering the fact that Zenefits offers unlimited pay runs, it's a cost-effective option for most businesses. Zenefits offers three different plans to choose from. Here's the pricing structure for those plans:

Plan Essentials Plan Growth Plan Zen Plan
Price per month per employee annual plans $8 $14 $21
Price per month per employee monthly plans $10 $18 $27
Core HR Yes Yes Yes
Time & Scheduling Yes Yes Yes
integrations Yes Yes Yes
Compensation management No Yes Yes
Performance management No,Yes Yes Yes
Well-being and productivity management features No No Yes

Payroll itself is an add-on that costs $6 per month per employee. So, for the Essentials Plan, you’ll end up paying $14 per month per employee, $20 for the Growth Plan, and $27 for the Zen Plan. There are other add-ons you can include in your plans like advisory services ($8-$10) and broker-driven benefits admin ($5).

Zenefits has a two-week free trial. So, you can test out the platform and see if it is what your business is looking for. And for a limited time, Zenefits is making a very generous offer. Everyone is struggling to get through this coronavirus situation. Businesses are closing or downsizing considerably. In an effort to show camaraderie with suffering businesses, Zenefits is offering companies a free year of payroll services when they sign up for an annual subscription to one of the HR software packages.


Zenefits offers good UX for employees and admins. The platform is intuitively-designed, and most tasks offer automation for set and forget functionality. What is particularly noteworthy is the efficiency with which Zenefits handles the initial uploading process and future onboarding. Rather than having you do everything manually, Zenefits has a preformatted template you can use to save time on the cross-referencing and data input.

Zenefits also has a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. The mobile app is primarily useful for employee self-management. It gives you access to your paystubs, the ability to clock in and out from your phone, and a snapshot of your PTO balance. You can also access the employee directly, and admins can track employee details via the app. The app is somewhat limited in functionality for admins, though.


Zenefits won the Editors' Choice award for BA software from PC Mag, and that says a lot. The software is loaded with features and functionality from HR management to benefits and tax compliance. Zenefits also has one of the most feature-rich payroll services in the industry, including advanced features like multiple labor codes, nine different labor types, and garnishments. What's more, Zenefits gives you unlimited pay runs, making it an economically-sound option as well.

Get started now, visit Zenefits
By Sarah Pritzker
Sarah Pritzker is a professional writer who loves scouring the web looking for the coolest products and services at the best prices. Sarah writes for Sarah has lived and traveled all over the world, but has finally settled down with her family in the Middle East - and yes, she misses winter!