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  • Are employees receiving the National Minimum Wage? Oct 23, 2019 at 9:50 AM

    According to Office for National Statistics figures, wage growth has risen to 3.6% in the year to May 2019, outpacing inflation since March 2018.

    While unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball to predict how long this will last, we know something for certain: the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will continue to change every year.

    Tracking employee hourly rates depending on their circumstances might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here at BrightPay, we are constantly working to provide you with a platform that makes payroll and amendments easy.

    In this short guide we have summarised all the key information and steps to make changes to the NMW and NLW on BrightPay.

    Hourly rates

    The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on an employee's age and whether they are an apprentice:
    • The apprentice rate is applicable to apprentices aged under 19 and those aged 19 or over when they are in the first year of their apprenticeship

    • Employees under 24 years old are entitled to the National Minimum Wage

    • Employees aged 25 or over are entitled to the National Living Wage
    The rates for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage change every April and are currently:
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    BrightPay can track all employee hourly rates depending on their circumstances. That is including all the cases above, as well as the London Living Wage, and they can also be marked as not eligible.

    Checking if an employee is receiving the NMW

    You can use BrightPay to determine if an employee is receiving the National Minimum Wage, which is automatically calculated for hourly paid employees.

    Once the number of hours worked for a pay period is entered, the payroll software will use the rest of data available about the employee, such as their age, hours worked in period and minimum wage profile to calculate how the hourly rate used compares to the minimum hourly rate, and alert the user if it falls below the relevant minimum wage.

    Non-hourly employees

    The process is simple for most employees, but you might be wondering about non-hourly employees. The good news is that on BrightPay you will also find a Minimum Wage Report feature that allows you to enter/confirm the number of hours worked for each employee and generate a report that confirms who is above or below the minimum wage. Easy, isn’t it?

    If an employee's wage is below the National Minimum/Living Wage, BrightPay will flag it with a yellow status bar within 'Payroll' – or you can choose to hide this notification if you prefer.

    Amending a global hourly rate

    When the Minimum Wage changes, you can amend the global hourly rates automatically. Hourly rates can also be set up at the employer level in BrightPay from the 'Employer' tab, selecting 'Hourly Rates'. Once the hourly rate has been determined, the changes will automatically be applied to all employees assigned to that hourly rate.

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    To find out more about BrightPay, contact the team or try it for free for 60 days.
  • The IR35 clampdowns keep on coming - Three BBC presenters are made pay back a total of £92,000 Oct 8, 2019

    Watch out, HMRC is about again. This time they have the BBC in their firing line; namely, three BBC journalists: Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Willcox. So what was HMRC’s beef with them? Did they do an undercover exposè on their Christmas Party? Did they write a scathing article about workplace fashion? No no, unfortunately nothing as salacious as that, it’s only our old pal IR35 again.

    It’s not the first time HMRC have tried to go after TV presenters. It’s like they had a bad experience on a daytime chat show and are hell-bent on revenge. Back in April of this year they went after Loose Women TV and radio broadcaster Kay Adams and even tried to go after our wee Lorraine over a £1.2m tax bill. Both times, HMRC were defeated in court which makes this recent ruling against the three unlucky presenters all the more shocking.

    For those of you who may have (understandably) nodded off during IR35 class, here’s the Cliff Notes. There has been a recent overhaul and the relationship between employers and independent contractors (or personal service companies) has been redefined within the parameters of IR35 to fall more in line with traditional employer/employee relationships. This is meant to stop people skipping on their tax obligations.

    Now, there definitely were some scurrilous folks out there who were abusing these loopholes to not pay as much tax and this led to the reforms being introduced. But what is becoming apparent is that big companies in particular are vulnerable to such tribunals due to the large number of employees they have, both employed directly and as contractors.

    Well, the old adage of “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t really seem to apply to these IR35 investigations and HMRC are rather like a bull in a china shop and god help anyone who is in their way. Because the worst thing about this case is the presenters in question claimed they didn’t even know what IR35 was until it came up when they were being investigated.

    According to the tribunal’s findings, they acknowledged that the BBC had left the presenters with no choice but to provide their services via limited companies and had failed to warn them of the risks of IR35. The judgment even noted “the BBC were in a unique position and used it to force the presenters into contracting through the PSCs and accept reductions in pay”. Scathing.

    So, how come others won their tribunal cases but the book was thrown at these three presenters? The total amount to be paid back by all three equalled £92,000. Apparently hundreds of BBC presenters who provided their services via a PSC were being targeted in a mass clampdown. But how many of those investigated were actually trying to pull the wool over HMRC’s eyes and who were genuinely acting in good faith on the advice of their employers or accountants?

    The simple answer is: who knows? This tribunal result shows that anything can happen and should make people perk up a bit. And it’s not just limited to the broadcasting industry as demonstrated by a similar clampdown of GSK only a couple of weeks ago. If you employ any sort of independent contractor, it’s time to review them and make sure they are compliant with the new guidelines.

    The only thing we’re certain of is that there will be a lot of uncertainty in the coming months (possibly years) as the dust kicked up by these reforms settles. Where will you be when the taxman comes a’knocking?

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Survey says: 1 in 5 employees have quit a job due to poor payroll experience Oct 1, 2019

    This week the payroll community were left shocked with the release of a truly eye-opening report. The fascinating research, commissioned by Zellis and conducted by an independent research firm, found that 1 in 5 Brits (21%) have changed jobs after being paid late or inaccurately by their employer. Just to put that into perspective that’s about 7 million people!

    The research also identified that 60% of employers found mistakes on their payslips and 31% said they had been paid late. This unsurprisingly left them feeling:
    • The employer didn’t care about their well-being (48%)
    • High levels of stress and worry (47%)
    • Less engaged and productive at work (25%)
    • At risk of their financial situation (40%)
    No, the survey was not conducted on overdramatic teenagers. These are real-life concerns for us little people. It’s all well and good for the fat cats in the boardroom to miss out on a week’s pay; I mean, they’d probably gamble my year’s salary on a game of Snap and not bat an eyelid. But for us regular folk, no money means more problems.

    The study highlighted the real life impact of late and inaccurate payments on financial, and therefore mental, wellbeing. 37% had missed payments on direct debits, 31% said they had gone into their overdraft, 26% had incurred bank charges and 24% had damage to their credit rating. Enough to ruin any payday!

    If this doesn't highlight the need for automation, then I don't know what will. Humans got the job and didn't pass the probation period, the robots have it. This research proves that payroll departments are unable to pay staff accurately and on time. Not only does it affect the employees, but if all your talent are leaving because you've ticked them off due to silly errors then it’s your business that is affected too.

    But the argument about who is responsible for payroll accuracy rages on. It’s true that employees do play a significant role in providing their payroll departments with timely and accurate information to enable them to perform their core objectives. But payroll processing is becoming more and more complex and the changes and challenges that come with them are on the onus of payroll to deal with appropriately.

    The chance of breaching payroll legislation and thus the possibility of incurring fines and reputational damage means it is crucial that payroll departments stay up-to-date, because even though you might think your payroll department are doing a great job, the results of the survey say otherwise and attention needs to be paid to this valuable insight to ensure that employees receive their pay both accurately and on time.

    Gosh, seems all doom and gloom doesn’t it? Well, it’s your lucky day pal because I’m here to tell you about an amazing software that could take all the anxiety you’re currently feeling away. BrightPay offer an amazing add-on to their award-winning payroll software called BrightPay Connect which you’ll love so much you'll want to take it home to meet the parents. Its features include a self-service portal that allows them to view their payslips immediately and there's also a handy archive to store them all.

    But most importantly BrightPay are at the forefront of payroll automation. No matter what changes come your way they will have already anticipated them, leaving you to get on with keeping your staff even happier by giving them every Friday off to pet puppies. You’re welcome.

    Check them out at www.brightpay.co.uk

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • The benefits of using both Cloud and desktop payroll software in unison Sep 19, 2019

    Most small businesses prefer to handle their business in-house. This is no different when it comes to payroll. In fact, payroll is probably the most important thing in the world any business and there are two types of solutions to choose from: on-premise and cloud based systems. Both systems are designed to automate and streamline payroll processes - music to any MD’s ears.

    However, there’s a huge difference between these two types of payroll software programmes. While each individually has their own merits, two is better than one, right? Why should you have to choose? Why not both? What if I like processing data on my desktop instead of in a virtual world? Well the folks at BrightPay have you covered. That’s right ladies - HYBRID payroll software is now a thing. Payroll has always been a daunting task for businesses and while the people responsible for payroll runs are beautiful, intelligent and downright charming, they are but mere humans and hit some snags along the way. Here’s where using BrightPay Connect, a hybrid - that is, both cloud and desktop payroll systems in unison - comes in.

    Cloud portals offer a single solution to a number of processes that, before, would have been based across multiple platforms. So the fact that cloud systems merge both payroll and HR functionality together is not only efficient, it’s incredible. Tracking HR through a payroll system also maximises efficiency of employee administrative tasks by automating things like time and attendance. With BrightPay Connect, you can process all of the payroll run on your desktop system, and then wooosh - it gets uploaded onto the cloud giving you the benefits of fully cloud-based software.

    Manual processes are full of mistakes (also known as human error) and these are especially apparent with payroll, where one slip-up means that an employee doesn’t get their holiday pay on time and ends up calling in sick for a week in protest (not based on actual events *cough*). These sort of inaccuracies are widespread and have serious knock-on effects for the company. Hybrid payroll software can dramatically reduce such inaccuracies.

    I’ve also talked before about how cloud systems are incredibly efficient at keeping employee information and data safe. BrightPay Connect has a hierarchical feature which only allows staff members with the appropriate access to view sensitive information. Not only that, but it’s all paperless so you can put down your bamboo toothbrush and give yourself another pat on the back for saving the planet.

    And finally (although I could go on and on), there’s the added bonus of storing employee data, enabling employees to access their data anytime, anywhere. This has been shown to boost employee engagement in administrative processes and gives the HR team some breathing room. This information is also stored securely and is easily accessible in the case of audits, employee queries and reports.

    I mean…. it’s a no-brainer, right? If you haven’t already converted to the Connect by now then I’m clearly in the wrong profession. What’s not to love? But where do you even begin when the market it so saturated? Well, not that I haven’t mentioned it a hundred times already, but BrightPay won Payroll Software of the Year in 2018 and their add-on BrightPay Connect is the stuff that hybrid payroll software dreams are made of. BrightPay’s payroll software is easy-to-use, and its user-friendly interface is compatible with all desktop platforms, making your life a lot easier. Head on over to www.brightpay.co.uk to have a look at their amazing products and to book a free demo.

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  • Watch out, HMRC’s about! GSK targeted in IR35 crackdown Sep 12, 2019

    OK guys, HMRC are no longer in a good mood. Gone are the happier times of waiving fines, helping pensioners across the road and cuddling puppies. Yes, they are back in business and this week that business was GSK.

    GlaxoSmithKline (in case you didn’t know) is the largest pharmaceutical company in the UK and employs approximately 33,000 employees in the UK alone. (I bet they have some stories from their Christmas parties!)

    Well this week nearly 1,500 of its employees, who were in fact contractors, were accused by the HMRC of being “disguised employees”. No, that does not refer to a group of employees who skulk around the corridors wearing Groucho glasses and trench coats. It means they’re bloomin’ tax dodgers! They behave exactly like employees, except that they get paid via a limited company and therefore pay less tax. Escandalo!

    Hmmm, where have we heard of this before? That’s right, sounds like something to do with our old pal IR35. Not long ago, HMRC introduced reforms which meant that these sort of employees who were posing as independent contractors to reduce their tax bill would now be subject to the same employment laws and taxes as the rest of us.

    So where does GSK come into this? Well, GSK is made up of a vast number of different departments such as IT, vaccines, biomedical, manufacturing… the list goes on. With such a large workforce it is inevitable that some of these will be independent contractors. It wouldn’t be feasible to think otherwise. Try telling that to HMRC!

    In a move that has been largely criticised, the HMRC wrote to around 1,500 contractors (both current and previous) and asked them to retrospectively review the tax status of their engagement with the firm for the 2018-19 tax year. Yikes! The letters went on to say that any recipient who determined that their engagements qualified outside of IR35 would need to provide evidence to support their claim by September 19th of this year. Those targeted also have the threat of penalties and “compliance checks” looming over them which sounds like it’s straight out of George Orwell’s 1984.

    So needless to say, there has been a bit of a backlash to these letters. The letters were deemed “aggressive” by Qdos (IR35 specialists) CEO Seb Maley who also said the letters seemed to take the stance that the contractors were “guilty until proven innocent” and dubbed the whole fiasco an “unfair treatment of independent workers”. *finger snap*. We DEFINITELY want Seb on our side in a catfight.

    This has been the first large scale assault by HMRC since the new IR35 reforms were introduced, but because of the backlash they’ve received, who knows if it will become par for the course.

    If you are a business who works with independent contractors, best not to take any risks and get all your ducks in a row. Make sure to speak to your HR and payroll departments and carry out IR35 “tests of employment” to assess people’s working practices. But most importantly, sleep with one eye open because HMRC is watching you.

    About BrightPay

    BrightPay, WINNER of Payroll Software of the Year 2018 is a payroll and auto enrolment software that makes managing payroll easy. Our cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect introduces powerful online features including an automated cloud backup, online annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval and an employee self-service portal.

    Book a demo today to see just how much time cloud automation and integration can save you.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • Buckle in for more new data protection regulations Sep 3, 2019

    Just when you thought it was all over, that all your data protection processes were up-to-date, along comes another EU regulation on personal data. No, you haven’t travelled back in time and are reading an article about GDPR. This is GDPR 2.0 and it’s called ePrivacy Regulation (Jaws music plays in the background). It’s due to come into effect this year and although it has a different focus to GDPR, it has been designed to work in sync with it. But what is it and most importantly, how much of a headache will it give me?

    The ePrivacy Regulation will replace the ‘ePrivacy and Electric Communications Directive 2002’. The word “regulation” makes it a legal act which will be immediately enforceable across the EU; much like - yes you got it - GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation). So pull up your bootstraps and buckle in, because we’re in for another wild ride.

    While GDPR was mainly about protecting personal data, the ePrivacy Regulation is more about protecting personal privacy across electronic communications. So, for example, as a payroll provider, the GDPR is concerned with the data you hold and who can access it; whereas the ePrivacy Regulation is more concerned about how you are transmitting the data. GDPR is still the Big Daddy and will sit above the ePrivacy Regulation and apply to wider data protection orders, whereas the ePrivacy Regulation will deal with specific subjects inside the scope of GDPR.

    The regulation states that "electronic communications data should be defined in a sufficiently broad and technology-neutral way so as to encompass any information concerning the content transmitted or exchanged... and the information concerning an end-user of electronic communications services processed for the purposes of transmitting, distributing or enabling the exchange of electronic communications content; including data to trace and identify the source and destination of a communication, geographical location and the date, time, duration and the type of communication."

    So communications are protected regardless of where the data has been transmitted from. Such data should always be confidential and if you interfere with the communication of that data then, through human or automated processes, then guess what, you’re breaking the law. For example, scanning electronic messages, listening to calls, monitoring a list of visited websites or monitoring interaction between users - without consent - is a big fat no no. So if as a company you do any of the above you’ll need to have a team meeting.

    But there are also OTT (“over the top”) communications, no not a bunch of emotional teenagers in a room together, they are named so because they sit on top of services provided by a named service, i.e. WhatsApp or Facebook. The ePrivacy Regulation is designed with the OTT services in mind (getting with the times) and all will be brought within the scope of EU privacy rules and will be bound by the same rules as traditional methods. Cookies are also a huge part of what you need to know as a company because you’ll now need to configure your software so that it offers the option to prevent third parties storing the information.

    Gee, that sounds like a lot of work, I think I’ll pass. OH NOOOO you don’t, like GDPR this is non-negotiable and there are some eye-watering consequences of not complying. Penalties range from up to £10 million or 2% of your global turnover (whichever is higher). And before you say “well this is an EU regulation, doesn’t apply to Brexit Britain” then you're wrong.

    In order to achieve a whitelisted status from the EU and be seen as a safe zone under GDPR, the UK has passed its own laws that work in tandem with the new EU regulations. And given that the regulations cover communications and technologies that cross territories, the majority of businesses will need to comply even if they’re not in the EU.

    You’re welcome. Good night. Sweet dreams. :)

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Igniting the spark of a new system in your employees Aug 22, 2019

    Employees eh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Every business has a mix of the absolute stars, always willing to go the extra mile, eager beavers! Then you have the ones who are always late, sigh whenever you ask them to do something and call in sick every Monday after the rugby has been on.

    So when you try to introduce a new working payroll procedure such as using a self-service portal it’s not always going to go to plan and not everyone will be as excited as you. Introducing something doesn’t necessarily mean your staff are going to use it. Why is this?
    • People don’t like dealing with machines. Ask anyone who’s been on hold to an automated call system for any length of time and you’ll see them rocking back and forth in a corner screaming “I just want to speak to a HUMAN BEING!” Some can find it difficult to transition to a digital system when we’ve been used to human contact previously.
    • People might just straight up not want to change to a new payroll system after years of doing things a certain way. We all have someone in the office who still uses paper records and drives to work in a horse and cart.
    • Support and training can often be inadequate, leaving the less tech-minded struggling to use the new system. It can be intimidating!
    So how do you get past these roadblocks and make this new payroll transition seamless?
    1. Make it easy – this is a no-brainer and a staple of any successful software. Having an easy and user-friendly interface is the key to success. Simplicity is key. When you are shopping around for the perfect self-service portal make sure you can do an online demo and get the least tech-savvy person in the office (someone instantly sprang to mind didn’t it?) to test it out. The pack is only as strong as its weakest member.

    2. Mobile App – if it doesn’t come with an app then I don’t want to know. We don’t carry desktop computers around in our back pockets so having a smartphone app that employees can access anytime, anywhere is key to improving uptake.

    3. Provide proper training and support – Exactly what it says on the tin; the more confident people are in using something, the more successful the uptake will be. Or better still invest in a cost effective system that is so easy, you or your employees won’t even need training.

    4. Deal with the naysayers! – There is always going to be that one person (or group) who refuses to use a new system or just rolls their eyes and moans about change. In these cases, it is important to listen to their concerns whilst extolling the virtues and benefits of the self-service system.
    If some employees are loving the new software then it will have a knock-on effect with other staff - If they see others pumped and positive about it then they will soon come on board once they realise how much it benefits them. You just need to ignite that spark!

    BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay Payroll Software that fits all of the above. Its simple user interface has been a hit with its users and they have even won Payroll Software of the Year 2018. Not that you’d need it, but they have a great customer service team to help you with all your support queries. And it’s not just the self-service portal that it has to offer - head to www.brightpay.co.uk to check out all its other features that will make your life a lot easier.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Igniting the spark of a new system in your employees Aug 22, 2019

    Employees eh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Every business has a mix of the absolute stars, always willing to go the extra mile, eager beavers! Then you have the ones who are always late, sigh whenever you ask them to do something and call in sick every Monday after the rugby has been on.

    So when you try to introduce a new working payroll procedure such as using a self-service portal it’s not always going to go to plan and not everyone will be as excited as you. Introducing something doesn’t necessarily mean your staff are going to use it. Why is this?
    • People don’t like dealing with machines. Ask anyone who’s been on hold to an automated call system for any length of time and you’ll see them rocking back and forth in a corner screaming “I just want to speak to a HUMAN BEING!” Some can find it difficult to transition to a digital system when we’ve been used to human contact previously.
    • People might just straight up not want to change to a new payroll system after years of doing things a certain way. We all have someone in the office who still uses paper records and drives to work in a horse and cart.
    • Support and training can often be inadequate, leaving the less tech-minded struggling to use the new system. It can be intimidating!
    So how do you get past these roadblocks and make this new payroll transition seamless?
    1. Make it easy – this is a no-brainer and a staple of any successful software. Having an easy and user-friendly interface is the key to success. Simplicity is key. When you are shopping around for the perfect self-service portal make sure you can do an online demo and get the least tech-savvy person in the office (someone instantly sprang to mind didn’t it?) to test it out. The pack is only as strong as its weakest member.

    2. Mobile App – if it doesn’t come with an app then I don’t want to know. We don’t carry desktop computers around in our back pockets so having a smartphone app that employees can access anytime, anywhere is key to improving uptake.

    3. Provide proper training and support – Exactly what it says on the tin; the more confident people are in using something, the more successful the uptake will be. Or better still invest in a cost effective system that is so easy, you or your employees won’t even need training.

    4. Deal with the naysayers! – There is always going to be that one person (or group) who refuses to use a new system or just rolls their eyes and moans about change. In these cases, it is important to listen to their concerns whilst extolling the virtues and benefits of the self-service system.
    If some employees are loving the new software then it will have a knock-on effect with other staff - If they see others pumped and positive about it then they will soon come on board once they realise how much it benefits them. You just need to ignite that spark!

    BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay Payroll Software that fits all of the above. Its simple user interface has been a hit with its users and they have even won Payroll Software of the Year 2018. Not that you’d need it, but they have a great customer service team to help you with all your support queries. And it’s not just the self-service portal that it has to offer - head to www.brightpay.co.uk to check out all its other features that will make your life a lot easier.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Watch out: Employee self-service is taking over Aug 15, 2019

    As a concept, self-service is nothing new. From paying at the supermarket self-service checkouts to online banking, consumers don’t want to have to wait for something if they know they can get it themselves. It’s no different in the workplace.

    An employee self-service is the ultimate tool whereby employees can login from anywhere to view their employment and pay related information. With a self-service system, employees can download payslips, request annual leave, look at policies and HR documents and update personal information - all without once contacting HR personnel.

    Benefits for Employees
    • Instant Payslips - The employee can login to the employee self-service portal to view and download their most recent payslip, along with all of their historic payslips. Gone are the days of emailing HR chasing lost or past payslips when needed, for example when applying for a mortgage.
    • Annual Leave - Employees can submit leave requests instantly through the employee self-service portal. Once the leave is approved, employees will be notified and the approved leave will automatically appear on the employee’s calendar. Employees can also view their leave balance and leave history through their portal.
    • HR Documents - Access everything in one central place - a single online login gives the employee instant online access to other employment related documents such as employment contracts or company handbooks and policies.
    • Personal Data - With the self-service portal, the employee can view their personal payroll information that the employer has on file. The employee can also amend or update various personal data, including their postal address, contact number, emergency details etc.
    • 24/7 Access - Employees can login to the employee self-service through any web browser at any time - meaning they don’t have to be at their desks to use it. They can login from home or anywhere else with an internet connection. Better yet, employees can access their employee self-service directly from their phones using the BrightPay employee app.

    Knock-on Effect for Employers

    Today’s employees are accustomed to having information readily available. An employee portal can help fulfil that expectation with the added benefit of creating workflow efficiencies. The employee self-service portal eliminates the burden of sending payslips, updating personal information, approving annual leave requests and answering leave balance enquiries for the payroll department.

    Managers and HR personnel will save administrative hours and frustration on a daily basis when no longer faced with working through these monotonous and time-consuming tasks.

    The former way of managing employee data is fast becoming outdated. What was once considered normal in the past is no longer considered normal anymore. Today, the new normal is to implement an employee self-service system whereby workflows are streamlined, with added benefits for both employees and employers.

    Book a demo today to find out how BrightPay Connect can transform your business.

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  • The £183m British Airways fine - how the ICO showed that they’re NOT playing when it comes to data breaches Aug 12, 2019

    Now that we’re all settled in and comfortable with GDPR, it’s easy to lapse into familiarity. It’s like when you have a new partner and you put on a few pounds once the honeymoon phase is over. You stop trying. Then BAM they tell you to get your arse to a gym or it’s over. This is how the massive fine given to British Airways by the ICO feels.

    Let’s be honest, we probably all forgot about the threats that the ICO warned us about with the introduction of GDPR last year. Well, what happened last week with BA is enough to pull those bootstraps up so high you’ll be swinging from the ceiling. Thanks to a data breach of its security system that occurred last year, BA were hit with an eye-watering fine of £183 million. Yes, the ICO were NOT KIDDING when they foretold of fines equalling £10 million or 4% of annual turnover, whichever is highest, and gee whizz they didn’t pull any punches. (Well actually they sort of did, as this fine was only 1.5% of BA’s annual turnover, imagine they were hit with the full 4%?? Yikes!). The ICO mean BUSINESS.

    So a bit of background - the incident in question took place when users of BA’s website were diverted to a fake site through which the details of approximately 500,000 customers were harvested by the attackers. The ICO deemed that BA, as an organisation, failed to protect their customers’ personal data from loss, damage or theft.

    Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, said: “That’s why the law is clear - when you are entrusted with personal data you must look after it. Those that don’t will face scrutiny from my office to check they have taken appropriate steps to protect fundamental privacy rights”. Coincidentally, Elizabeth Denham has joined my list of people I do not want to mess with.

    So if all y’all were sleeping on GDPR and have put on a few proverbial pounds it’s time to WAKE UP and hit the gym to work on the ol’ GDPR compliance and data protection…yeah that metaphor sounded better in my head. Anyway, the message from the ICO is clear - if you’re not treating your customers’ data like the Ark of the Covenant then you can expect swift and severe retribution. Up until now, the highest fine has been given to Facebook and that was a measly £500k.

    Scary huh? THAT’S THE POINT! I bet you’re rustling through those mental filo-faxes and mind maps trying to remember if you have all of the proper procedures in place, if your security system are up-to-speed. And I bet you’re sweating even more if you work in a profession that holds way more sensitive data than most businesses; for example: payroll.

    Luckily for those of you that do work in payroll, BrightPay have had all their ducks in a row and appreciated the importance and severity of GDPR regulations a long time ago. In the new world of GDPR, non-compliance will be a continuous threat to all business and BrightPay specialises in payroll solutions that are literally tailored to help you with GDPR compliance. Features such as securely sending payslips, an employee self-service portal, end to end encryption and cloud-based storage to name but a few.

    There’s enough to worry about in this world: Did that cute guy on the bus catch me taking a picture of him? Are those wrinkles or am I just tired? Does my dog really know how much I love him? Don’t let GDPR compliance be another one - head over to www.brightpay.co.uk, put your feet up and enjoy one less thing to worry about.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Employees don’t like change - How to bypass the mental roadblock of a new system Jul 25, 2019

    Employees eh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Every business has a mix of the absolute stars, always willing to go the extra mile, eager beavers! Then you have the ones who are always late, sigh whenever you ask them to do something and call in sick every Monday after the rugby has been on.

    So when you try to introduce a new working payroll procedure such as using a self-service portal it’s not always going to go to plan and not everyone will be as excited as you. Introducing something doesn’t necessarily mean your staff are going to use it. Why is this?
    • People don’t like dealing with machines. Ask anyone who’s been on hold to an automated call system for any length of time and you’ll see them rocking back and forth in a corner screaming “I just want to speak to a HUMAN BEING!” Some can find it difficult to transition to a digital system when we’ve been used to human contact previously.

    • People might just straight up not want to change to a new payroll system after years of doing things a certain way. We all have someone in the office who still uses paper records and drives to work in a horse and cart.
    • Support and training can often be inadequate, leaving the less tech-minded struggling to use the new system. It can be intimidating!
    So how do you get past these roadblocks and make this new payroll transition seamless?
    • Make it easy – this is a no-brainer and a staple of any successful software. Having an easy and user-friendly interface is the key to success. Simplicity is key. When you are shopping around for the perfect self-service portal make sure you can do an online demo and get the least tech-savvy person in the office (someone instantly sprang to mind didn’t it?) to test it out. The pack is only as strong as its weakest member.
    • Mobile App – if it doesn’t come with an app then I don’t want to know. We don’t carry desktop computers around in our back pockets so having a smartphone app that employees can access anytime, anywhere is key to improving uptake.
    • Provide proper training and support – Exactly what it says on the tin; the more confident people are in using something, the more successful the uptake will be. Or better still invest in a cost effective system that is so easy, you or your employees won’t even need training.
    • Deal with the naysayers! – There is always going to be that one person (or group) who refuses to use a new system or just rolls their eyes and moans about change. In these cases, it is important to listen to their concerns whilst extolling the virtues and benefits of the self-service system.
    If some employees are loving the new software then it will have a knock-on effect with other staff - If they see others pumped and positive about it then they will soon come on board once they realise how much it benefits them. You just need to ignite that spark!

    BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay Payroll Software that fits all of the above. Its simple user interface has been a hit with its users and they have even won Payroll Software of the Year 2018. Not that you’d need it, but they have a great customer service team to help you with all your support queries. And it’s not just the self-service portal that it has to offer - head to www.brightpay.co.uk to check out all its other features that will make your life a lot easier.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • ePrivacy Regulation - what is it and how much of a headache will it give me? Jul 16, 2019

    Just when you thought it was all over, that all your data protection processes were up-to-date, along comes another EU regulation on personal data. No, you haven’t travelled back in time and are reading an article about GDPR. This is GDPR 2.0 and it’s called ePrivacy Regulation (Jaws music plays in the background). It’s due to come into effect this year and although it has a different focus to GDPR, it has been designed to work in sync with it. But what is it and most importantly, how much of a headache will it give me?

    The ePrivacy Regulation will replace the ‘ePrivacy and Electric Communications Directive 2002’. The word “regulation” makes it a legal act which will be immediately enforceable across the EU; much like - yes you got it - GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation). So pull up your bootstraps and buckle in, because we’re in for another wild ride.

    While GDPR was mainly about protecting personal data, the ePrivacy Regulation is more about protecting personal privacy across electronic communications. So, for example, as a payroll provider, the GDPR is concerned with the data you hold and who can access it; whereas the ePrivacy Regulation is more concerned about how you are transmitting the data. GDPR is still the Big Daddy and will sit above the ePrivacy Regulation and apply to wider data protection orders, whereas the ePrivacy Regulation will deal with specific subjects inside the scope of GDPR.

    The regulation states that "electronic communications data should be defined in a sufficiently broad and technology-neutral way so as to encompass any information concerning the content transmitted or exchanged... and the information concerning an end-user of electronic communications services processed for the purposes of transmitting, distributing or enabling the exchange of electronic communications content; including data to trace and identify the source and destination of a communication, geographical location and the date, time, duration and the type of communication."

    So communications are protected regardless of where the data has been transmitted from. Such data should always be confidential and if you interfere with the communication of that data then, through human or automated processes, then guess what, you’re breaking the law. For example, scanning electronic messages, listening to calls, monitoring a list of visited websites or monitoring interaction between users - without consent- is a big fat no no. So if as a company you do any of the above you’ll need to have a team meeting.

    But there are also OTT (“over the top”) communications, no not a bunch of emotional teenagers in a room together, they are named so because they sit on top of services provided by a named service, i.e. WhatsApp or Facebook. The ePrivacy Regulation is designed with the OTT services in mind (getting with the times) and all will be brought within the scope of EU privacy rules and will be bound by the same rules as traditional methods. Cookies are also a huge part of what you need to know as a company because you’ll now need to configure your software so that it offers the option to prevent third parties storing the information.

    Gee, that sounds like a lot of work, I think I’ll pass. OH NOOOO you don’t, like GDPR this is non-negotiable and there are some eye-watering consequences of not complying. Penalties range from up to £10 million or 2% of your global turnover (whichever is higher). And before you say “well this is an EU regulation, doesn’t apply to Brexit Britain” then you're wrong.

    In order to achieve a whitelisted status from the EU and be seen as a safe zone under GDPR, the UK has passed its own laws that work in tandem with the new EU regulations. And given that the regulations cover communications and technologies that cross territories, the majority of businesses will need to comply even if they’re not in the EU.

    About BrightPay

    BrightPay, WINNER of Payroll Software of the Year 2018 is a payroll software that makes managing payroll easy. Our cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect introduces powerful online features including an automated cloud backup, online annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval and an employee self-service portal. Book a BrightPay demo today to see just how much time automation and integration can save you.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Key issues facing your payroll department in 2019 Jul 9, 2019

    The CIPP unveiled their latest “Future of Payroll Report” (2019) for the second year running and surprisingly, it’s not a total snoozefest! The foreword by CEO Ken Pullar is a tour de force of future forward-thinking, extolling the virtues of embracing change and moving with the times in an ever changing industry. He acknowledges that whilst payroll software and technology makes things easier, the number of enquiries does not decrease and payroll departments need to be on the ball to be in a position to answer these queries effectively.

    This brings me to what I feel is the most interesting part of the report - “Key Issues Facing Your Payroll Department”. The report itself was made possible by feedback so this snazzy little section has its finger on the proverbial pulse and is super useful to anyone whose bread and butter is payroll.

    Surprisingly, Brexit is nowhere to be seen which makes a nice change! Instead, coming in at Number 1 with 38.50% of queries is “GDPR and Data Protection”. It just goes to show how much of a quagmire this thing still is for people. You can find a very interesting article here that may clear a few things up. In any case, your payroll processes should be GDPR compliant and if you still don’t know how to achieve this, then simply outsource it to a payroll provider who will do the hard work for you. And if you are the payroll provider, then making sure your staff are up to scratch is half the battle.

    Coming in just behind GDPR is “Automatic Enrolment” with 32.50%. Yes, the same automatic enrolment that began to be rolled out back in 2012 and is by no means a new government initiative. While auto enrolment has been a huge success, enabling hundreds of pensioners to finally be able to afford that trip to Benidorm, it seems that confusion is still rife. The report makes some interesting conjecture about why this is - Is it the sheer number of employers who are hitting their automatic re-enrolment date for the first time? Is it the ins and outs, the complexity behind understanding the scheme in layman’s terms? or is it simply that payroll software is not doing enough to help the soldiers on the frontline? With more phasing imminent perhaps employers aren't aware of their obligations? Who knows? Well, you - you should know! So it’s time to brush up because it’s clear that auto enrolment queries aren’t going anywhere.

    “Holiday Pay Calculations” come in at a close third (31.75%), maybe because of the changes to payslips, the rise of the gig economy coupled with some landmark Employment Tribunal rulings, businesses are getting their ducks in a row. Next is “Expenses and Benefits” (29.50%) which is likely due to the increase in employers moving to payrolling benefits and away from the traditional method of submitting P11D forms to HMRC after year end.

    Next on the list is “Automation of Business Processes” which will be music to payroll software provider’s ears. Companies are always looking for ways to streamline processes and make things more efficient. It is unsurprising that this is a huge issue for people moving into 2019 with the introduction of so many new employment and payroll changes such as phasing and changes to payslips to name but a few.

    The last two topics on the list are “Gender Pay Reporting”, which is slightly up from last year (24%) and still obviously a very important issue, and finally - “Implementing a New System”, (21%) which is really just the not-as-attractive cousin of “Automation of Business Processes” which we’ve already discussed.

    So there you have it! A lot of information to stick in your pipe and smoke. If you recognise yourself among these statistics, or if you’ve thought “same” whilst reading any of this, then head over to www.brightpay.co.uk and check out their award-winning payroll software. It is fully GDPR and auto-enrolment compliant, automates all of the most confusing payroll and HR processes including holiday pay, expenses and benefits and offers incredible customer support. They are at the forefront of payroll software and will take the pain out of your payroll.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Reduce HR queries and payroll administrative tasks with BrightPay Connect Jul 2, 2019

    With Summer creeping in and school holidays fast approaching, employee holidays go from a trickle into a flood. For workers, it’s a well-deserved break - but for businesses, it can be a nightmare.

    The process of annual leave management can still be a manual, spreadsheet, paper-based or, worse, email heavy exercise. BrightPay Connect’s online annual leave tools completely eliminate these cumbersome people management tasks.

    It’s more than just payroll software, it’s a ready-to-go, easy-to-use HR software solution that offers an annual leave management facility. HR software shouldn’t be an expensive luxury reserved for big corporates. BrightPay Connect is affordable and designed with small businesses in mind.

    The benefits of BrightPay Connect’s online annual leave tools come in three main prongs, enabling:
    • Employers to effectively plan their company calendar and staff resources
    • Employees to request leave on a portal or smartphone app
    • Employees to access leave taken and leave remaining records
    All the while, leave is automatically recorded on the payroll software and synced to the cloud. It’s easier for everyone: the employer and the employee. The annual holiday rush should be a reason to be excited, not an admin nightmare.

    Employee self-service is about more than leave, though. With BrightPay Connect’s employee self-service portal, an employee can login to their self-service account to view and download all current and historic payslips and payroll documents such as P60s.

    No more printing or emailing payslips. Instead, payslips are automatically added to the employee’s online portal each pay period eliminating employee requests for copies of past payslips.

    That’s easy access to everything in one central location. Employers can upload documents such as employment contracts, staff handbooks, privacy policies, training manuals. The employer can decide whether the employee should have access to view the document or not.

    No more laborious, repetitive admin. Just one simple online portal that can save you hours every pay period while simultaneously reducing HR queries and payroll administrative tasks. That’s payroll that’s better for employers, employees, and the environment.


    BrightPay, WINNER of Payroll Software of the Year 2018 is a payroll and AE software that makes managing payroll easy. Our cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect introduces powerful online features including an automated cloud backup, online annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval and an employee self-service portal.

    Book a BrightPay Connect demo today to see just how much time cloud automation and integration can save you.

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  • The P11D filing deadline is almost here Jun 25, 2019

    Employers have until 6 July to submit their expenses and benefits annual returns (P11D and P11D(b) forms) to HM Revenue & Customs.

    Businesses need to submit P11D forms for employees they’ve provided with expenses or benefits before 6 July to avoid any penalties.

    Employers registered with HMRC before the end of the tax year can deduct and pay tax on most employee expenses through their payroll. In those cases, employers do not need to submit a P11D form. Instead, employers need to file P11D(b) forms to inform HMRC about the amount of Class 1A National Insurance that they owe for the year.

    Certain employee expenses such as some business travel expenses or phone bills are exempt. The full list is available on gov.uk, where you can also find information on what needs to be reported and paid depending on the type of expenses and benefits.

    Producing P11D forms with BrightPay

    Although this year’s deadline is almost upon us, you still have a few days left to process the forms and send them to HMRC.

    BrightPay can produce P11D and P11D(b) forms to send to HMRC after year end.

    After you’ve entered the details of the expenses and benefits for all employees, you can send the return to HMRC from BrightPay by selecting 'RTI' on the menu bar and looking for the ‘Expenses and Benefits (EXB)’ option.

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    You’ll see a summary of the information you provided. If everything is correct, select 'Create Submission' and ‘Send Now’ to submit the return.

    Submitting amendments

    If you need to correct an error, you will need to send a new paper form including all the expenses and benefits for that employee – not just the information or sections that you want to amend – to HMRC.

    All amendments need to be submitted in paper form, even if the original return was filed online, and they also need to clearly specify it is an amendment as well as the tax year you are making the amendment for.

    It is important that all the information is correct and submitted in time, as HMRC charges penalties to businesses that make careless and deliberate mistakes that result in an underpayment of tax or over-claim of tax reliefs.

    Find out more

    Visit our guides for more information on adding benefits and expenses, including cars and fuel and vans and fuel. To find out more about BrightPay, book a demo or contact us.

    About BrightPay

    BrightPay, WINNER of Payroll Software of the Year 2018 is a payroll and AE software that makes managing payroll easy. Our cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect introduces powerful online features including an automated cloud backup, online annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval and an employee self-service portal.

    Book a BrightPay demo today to see just how much time cloud automation and integration can save you.

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