Zenefits Payroll Review

San Francisco, CA
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Zenefits At A Glance

Good: An easy-to-use platform with features that automate many payroll functions, like deduction calculations and tax filings.
Bad: Customer support can be difficult to reach, especially after the implementation process.
Bottom Line: A full-service payroll system that connects to all HR solutions to streamline tasks and sync critical information.

Product Overview

Zenefits is an all-encompassing, cloud-based HR suite that improves efficiency by automating key tasks related to payroll, benefits, performance, compliance and more. This review will focus on the features and benefits of Zenefits’ payroll system. For more information about Zenefits’ full HR functionality, read our Zenefits HRMS Review.

Zenefits’ payroll system connects to all your HR solutions. The system automatically syncs any changes you make while managing employee information to reduce errors in critical payroll and tax documents.

Zenefits has launched a new program called In It Together to help small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. New clients that sign up for any of Zenefits’ paid plans will have free payroll features for 12 months. It also applies to current Zenefits customers that aren’t signed up for payroll features. Clients that currently pay for payroll functionality will be upgraded to the Zen plan at no extra cost. The Zen plan offers the Well being app.


Zenefits automates its payroll features so the software can practically run on its own. This allows your team to focus more on performance instead of correcting errors or making tedious calculations.

Some of Zenefits’ key payroll features include:

  • Automatic Pay Runs – Figure out the best payroll schedule for your company, and Zenefits will automatically run it for you.
  • Automatic Tax Filings – For no additional cost, Zenefits can process your W-2s and file your taxes in all 50 states.
  • Automatic On/Off Boarding – Zenefits will automatically add a new hire’s data to payroll and calculate all deductions. Zenefits will also prorate the person’s first and last pay checks with your company.
  • Automatic Upkeep – Payroll is integrated with all of your Zenefits solutions, so any updates and changes made to employee information are automatically synced.

Zenefits also has features that give you and your employees full visibility for payroll functions, allowing you to better understand when and why updates or changes were made. Those are:

  • Payroll Timeline – A complete visual history of the events that change payroll ( like start date, life changing event, etc.), which help employers answer employees’ questions.
  • Smart Stubs – To help employees understand their paychecks better, this breaks them down into a clearer format.
  • Easy Comp – Easily collaborate with your team to coordinate bonuses and commissions for each employee on a single-platform dashboard.
  • Pay Preview – Preview and manage a paycheck before the pay run to make sure everything’s correct. You’re able to edit ledgers, dig deeper into deductions and more with this overview tool.

Target Market

Zenefits has helped over 11,000 HR departments become more efficient through its all-encompassing, online dashboard.

Zenefits has a customer base ranging from start-up to mid-sized and, like Workday, aims to cover a growing list of industries, from retail to IT to healthcare and more. Some of its customers are provided below.

  • Agency EA
  • Coney Island Prep
  • Fireclay Tiles
  • Goals for Autism
  • Impact
  • Lensrentals
  • MeUndies
  • Narvar
  • Strada
  • Ylabs

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After sending a request to Zenefits (providing your name and a work email), the support team will work with companies one on one to start the implementation process.

Each company is assigned a support representative as a main contact. The company will continue to work with that representative from the initial set-up process to launch and training to periodic software/account maintenance.

Customer Service & Support

Zenefits offers various support options to fit a customer’s needs via its online Help Center, which includes guidance on various topics and telephone support.

If a company chooses to manage its benefits through Zenefits, a benefits representative will be assigned to the company for a consistent point of contact.


Zenefits offers three levels of pricing: Essentials, Growth and Zen. Customers can be billed monthly or yearly.

Essentials: This plan is $10 per employee, per month ($8 for yearly billing) and includes the HR platform, time and attendance, scheduling, compliance, mobile app, PTO tracking and app connect (i.e., the ability to integrate Zenefits to third-party applications).

Growth: This plan costs $18 per employee, per month ($14 for yearly billing) and has all the features in the Essentials plan, plus compensation management and performance management.

Zen: This plan is $27 per employee, per month ($21 for yearly billing) and includes all the features in the Growth plan, plus Well-being (a feature that help companies measure and improve employees’ well being).

Zenefits also offers optional features, such as:

  • Payroll – Payroll is free to new clients under the In It Together program, which supplies free payroll for 12 months.
  • Benefits – This feature costs $5 per employee, per month if a company wants to use their existing broker and, it’s free for companies that use a broker from Zenefits’ partner network.
  • Advisory services – These services are $10 per employee, per month ($8 for yearly billing) and include access to certified HR and payroll experts for questions or issues.


Zenefits is a growing company that recognizes its software limitations, and it’s diligently working to expand its features. Once bugs are found in the software, the support team quickly sets to work to fix the issues.

That said, some customers reported that their assigned representatives were difficult to reach during implementation, resulting in missed deadlines for insurance open enrollment. Other customers mentioned that Zenefits’ initial implementation support was good, but representatives became distant after launch.


Zenefits Screenshot 1
Zenefits Screenshot 2
Zenefits Screenshot 3


Co-founded by Parker Conrad and Laks Srini in 2013, Zenefits has been dubbed as one of the fastest SaaS start-ups in Silicon Valley.

With its “hub and spoke” business model, Zenefits offers an online dashboard, including all the bells and whistles to alleviate HR headaches. In 2017, it pivoted from being a digital broker to partnering with leading brokers who use its HR platform, and in 2018, it began offering advanced HR features.

Zenefits is headquartered in San Francisco, and has additional offices in Tempe (AZ), Charlotte (NC) and Vancouver (British Columbia).

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on 2018-11-20 13:59:34

Zenefits Payroll was not great for us. Lots of mistakes and issues. Then they dropped us in 2 weeks and forced us to find another alternative because they didnt operate in a state that we did.

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Stay Away!

on 2018-08-02 20:02:05

After two payroll runs we are cutting our loses and switching back to our previous provider. The mistakes (while minor) they have made and their excuses is very telling. They are not fit to run a payroll company.
If you do a Google search, you will see they have made alot of tax miscalculations with their payroll runs.

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Lack of Support

on 2017-12-06 14:11:55

My company has been using Zenefits for about 2 years. This was our total solution for HR, Onboarding, Benefits Management and Payroll interface. We have found many errors with the system and required a full audit of every new hire to ensure data being communicated to payroll and benefits systems was correct. We found many errors and could not count on data integrity. Our largest issue is with support. Technical support is located on the West Coast and therefore we are required to wait until 11:00 EST before communicating our issues. This completely threw our annual benefits enrollment into a last minute rush because of waiting on support. This limited availability for support should be obsolete.