JeanLouis - Head of Pay Office (French)

“The job is highly specialised, with an obligation to produce results within strict deadlines. With that comes a good deal of autonomy to organise our work.”
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I’m in charge of the payroll at the ESRF. It can be very stressful to manage the employees’ money: we have strict legal obligations and we can’t afford to make mistakes or approximations.  We also have deadlines to manage on a daily basis. It’s a job where you need to be rigorous, to respect confidentiality and to like working hard.

The ESRF has many specificities that you might not find elsewhere. For each specificity we have to find a way to adapt the pay system so that people are compensated correctly. You don’t leave school as a pay specialist and it takes many years to become one: you have to work within the company, get to know it and stay informed of the legislation. 

I left school with a technical and administrative Baccalaureate and applied for a job in pay without really knowing what to expect. I worked in several different companies over ten years, learning more about labour laws all the time. I joined the ESRF in 1990 and was able to study for a Bachelor’s degree in human resources management and labour law. When I qualified, it enabled me to evolve internally at the ESRF and reach a higher level of responsibility.

I’ve followed the ESRF’s expansion from 100 staff members to around 700 today. I really enjoy working with the pay software to find solutions to new situations that arise, for example dealing with shift-work, the introduction of the 35h working week, the switch from Francs to Euros. The next big change in view is the withholding tax that will be introduced next year.

Top image: Jean-Louis Barnoud ©ESRF/C. Argoud.