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  • Payroll Implications of Brexit Jun 18, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    If you have eyes and ears then you will have heard something about Brexit lately as the deadline looms ever closer. Britain is currently like a cat that waits at the door crying to be let out but once the door is open, decides it doesn’t want to leave anymore. But never mind all these bigwigs in Westminster saying how this will affect that and so on; today I want to talk about what Brexit means for the unsung heroes of HR, in particular, payroll. How will leaving the EU affect their everyday work life? Well, there are a few key areas to note:

    Data Protection - I mean, obviously. This has been pretty much every payroll department’s waking nightmare for the past year since GDPR was introduced. If you have been a good little payroll bureau then you will have all your ducks in a row. But even still, once we leave the EU, it’s up to the European Commission (EC) whether it grants the UK an ‘Adequacy Decision’ to transfer data around the region as the country will no longer be an EU member. So all going to plan it should be ok. But we all know that nothing has gone to plan so far, so in the event we weren’t given an Adequacy Decision, transferring data could become administratively burdensome for employers, especially global ones who rely on data exchanges across borders.

    Payment processing - Money’s great isn’t it? Especially when someone puts it conveniently into your bank account. Do you know who loves money? Payroll. It’s their whole world! And what makes it easy to move money to all its lovely employees is being a member of the Single Euro Payments Area or SEPA. This is a body made up of EU member states (and a few non-EU ones too) that streamlines the sending and receiving of payments across SEPA regions meaning that payments are processed in the same way as UK payments. Therefore, continued membership of SEPA is of paramount importance to payroll providers and something they’ll be keeping an eye on.

    Employment law - Payroll is made up of tons of HR stuff like holiday pay and maternity pay etc. And where we get the rulebook on these processes is from EU directives on employment law. Although these laws have been great, freedom from EU Directives means that the British government could decide to revisit some laws and make some reforms where necessary. Or maybe not! Who knows. Britain may want to maintain their obsequious stance to the EU to make life easier but it is still an interesting point.

    Anything else? How you deal with EU staff (which you can read more about here). Social security payments made in Member states could see a big shift. Along with this, payroll functions that operate across more than one country with, say, expatriate staff could be in for a wild ride. But the most startling obvious thing at the moment is that nothing is really clear at all and none of us can predict what will come out of the woodwork.

    The best way to safeguard your payroll against all this uncertainty is to make sure all your HR processes are in place and your payroll software is up-to-date and ready for changes.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Simple steps to get your employees using a self-service portal Jun 7, 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.

    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Auto Enrolment - A Snitch in Time, Saves Nine May 23, 2019

    Auto enrolment compliance is still very much at the forefront of The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) objectives. However, a small minority of employers are still not complying with their auto enrolment duties. Some employers tell their employees that they would face a pay cut if they joined a workplace pension scheme. Others tell them that they have in fact been enrolled when a pension scheme has not even been set up. These employers are hoping that their auto enrolment duties will simply disappear or that their employees won’t even notice that they are being denied their rights.

    Fortunately, employees are very aware of their rights and entitlements. TPR is relying on employees to inform them where their employer has failed to properly carry out their automatic enrolment duties. According to TPR, ‘It was a whistle-blower who alerted us to the situation at Birmingham-based Crest Healthcare, whose staff were told that pension contributions were being paid by the employer when, in fact, a scheme hadn’t even been set up.’ Both the company and then Managing Director at Crest were prosecuted after pleading guilty to non-compliance.

    For the most part, the role out of automatic enrolment has been hugely successful with over 1.2 million employers gone through the process. More than 9.6 million people have gained a workplace pension as a result which is some achievement. The majority of employers continue to comply with their AE duties and it’s now a regular part of their payroll process.

    It’s likely that a small number of employers will continue to try to evade their duties. Whistle-blowers are a vital component to identifying these employers that have not acted on their legal employer duties. TPR receive over 80 reports every week from employees who suspect that their employers are breaking the law. These reported cases have directly led to around 600 employers being investigated for non-compliance.

    Complying with auto enrolment is easy!!

    It makes sense for every employer or payroll client to comply with their auto enrolment duties. It is a relatively easy process when users utilise payroll software that has automated functionality to process their employer auto enrolment duties. BrightPay is one such payroll software tool that takes the grunt work out of calculating and processing the ongoing duties required. Book a demo today to see why our customers give us a 99% customer satisfaction rating.

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  • Naming & Shaming Employers who underpay employees May 9, 2019

    Back in August, the government made headlines in a name and shame exercise of epic proportions where they published the names of 239 employers who underpaid more than 22,000 employees. These underpayments totalled in excess of £1.44 million. That might not seem like a lot in relation to the sheer amount of employees who were underpaid, but on average it would amount to £65 per employee. That would cover a tv license for a year, a new winter coat, or a cheeky Nando’s. My point is, it’s all relative and it was their hard-earned money. Even worse is that all underpayments happened to people who were on minimum or living wage. An added kick in the teeth!

    Well the HMRC agreed! They are cracking down on companies who are underpaying their workers. The back pay identified by the HMRC was for more workers than in any other previous ‘name and shame’ exercise. Not only that but the fines wholloped onto the devious employers totalled an eye-watering £1.97 million, which is ironically, more than the underpayments themselves.

    In fact, funding for minimum wage enforcement has doubled since 2015 with the government set to spend £26.3 million in 2018/19. The scheme is now in its fifth year and has identified £10.8 million in underpayments and have fined employers in excess of £8.4 million. So although you might be trying to save a few pennies Ebenezer Scrooge, the ghost of paychecks past will inevitably come back to haunt you.

    But what about me? I’m an honest business owner who pays my employees - I feel very attacked right now! Ok, so the 5 main areas identified by HMRC as reasons for national minimum and living wage underpayments as:
    • Taking deductions from wages for costs such as uniforms
    • Underpaying apprentices
    • Failing to pay travel time
    • Misusing the accommodation offset
    • Using the wrong time periods to calculate pay
    So as you can see, besides underpaying apprentices, the majority of payroll deductions are as a result of money being offsetted from employees’ wages. Now, this could be on a purpose, pre-calculated or if you will pardon the pun or by penny pinching grinches. OR more so, (and the latter is most likely) you’ve gone and messed up the bloody deductions!

    Let me tell you where you’re going wrong. Many employers are not using a payroll software system to do all these mind-boggling calculations for you. And that’s just the payroll calculations. It can get even more complicated for employers using Basic PAYE tools as this tool does not calculate the workplace pension contributions. Instead, this is a manual process.

    Yes that’s right, there is software that can do these calculations for us now and even provide payslips to employees (yes, it’s the law to provide payslips to employees). Using a dedicated employer payroll software means that all of those pesky deductions are calculated and processed for your employees by a machine that is much smarter than you. It means a massive reduction in error, no underpayments and most importantly no fines from HMRC and your company name included on the Wall of Shame.

    The best payroll software out there right now (as voted by the public) is BrightPay. I could talk about all the benefits that it would bring to your company and life in general but instead read for yourself what its customers have got to say about it on BrightPay’s Customer Testimonials page. You can also book a free demo at https://www.brightpay.co.uk/pages/book-BrightPay-Demo/ .

    Trust me, you won’t regret it!

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • The harsh reality of mobile technologies Apr 18, 2019

    It’s predicted that by 2020, the global workforce would be dominated by millennials (35%) and generation X (35%). That means by next year, over 70% of the global workforce will be under the age of 40. A younger workforce presents knock-on effects for the entire business. As an employer, you need to adapt to meet the expectations of this new generation of employees; they’re very different from the workforce that preceded them. Having grown up using the internet as second nature, these young employees are true digital natives and have never known a world without it.

    Take, for instance, payroll. With payment technologies evolving, millennials have become some of the fastest adopters of mobile and digital payments. Their influence on mobile payroll adoption cannot be ignored. The simple fact is these new generation employees don’t do paper forms. They are increasingly looking for digital options to access payslips and apply for annual leave.

    In recent years, employees are using holiday time differently than previous generations, with the average leave duration reduced to just 2.34 days. This alone creates new challenges for payroll and HR managers. Shorter, more frequent bursts of annual leave tend to be requested last minute rather than planned in advance. It is important for employers and HR personnel to be able to quickly review and approve leave requests.

    Mobile payroll solutions, such as BrightPay Connect, are an ideal way to improve the efficiency of your business, especially as new generation workers continue to integrate smartphones into every aspect of business operations.

    BrightPay Connect benefits include:
    • Request annual leave - An employee opens up their phone or tablet, logs in and applies for leave online. The HR manager or employer will be alerted of the leave request and can approve the leave instantly, with the leave automatically flowing back to the payroll software. On the self-service portal, both the employee and the employer can view their number of leave days taken and remaining, along with an employee leave calendar displaying all past and future leave.
    • View payslips and payroll documents - The employee can login to their self-service account to view and download all current and historic payslips and payroll documents such as P60s. For the payroll processor, there is no more printing or emailing payslips. Payslips are automatically added to the employee’s online portal each pay period eliminating employee requests for copies of past payslips.
    • Access everything in one central location - Keep everything in one central place. For employees, there is just one login to view employee documents and a company noticeboard. 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, using it as a central location for everything to do with each individual employee.
    As an employer, adopting these few features favoured by younger workers, along with the additional employer benefits (such as an automatic cloud backup of payroll data and instant access to payroll reports), you are guaranteed to improve the efficiency of your business and payroll processing.

    Book a demo today to find out how you can benefit from BrightPay Connect.

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    Written by Rachel Hynes | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • GDPR - Is it still okay to email payslips? Apr 10, 2019

    When it comes to being GDPR compliant you might think that you only need to password protect all the payroll reports and payslips. There is nothing in the GDPR legislation that states it is no longer permissible to email payslips, that doesn’t mean you can email payslips without protecting the information you send. There is a strict process that needs to be followed.

    If you choose to email payslips, you need to ensure that they are all password protected and sent directly to the employee’s chosen email address. It is very important that a unique password is used for each employee, as using the same password is for all employees could be considered a breach of GDPR. Once they are sent, then the payslips need to be deleted from the server of your payroll software provider.

    But sharing the information securely is not the only thing that you need to do to make sure that you are GDPR compliant. Making sure you put all the necessary steps in place to avoid cyber attacks, keeping secure copies of the data in case of theft, fire or damage to the computers and providing employees with a way to easily update the information their employer holds about them are other important GDPR requirements.

    Secure portals

    Putting a system in place that takes into account all these requirements can be time consuming. Instead, secure portals can simplify the payroll process and offer the most secure environment to protect the employees’ information. Secure portals offer the maximum level of security and compliance with GDPR and make the payroll process much easier since they automate payslip distribution and eliminate the need to email payroll reports each pay period.

    Besides the ability to securely send and store payslips and other sensitive payroll documents, self-service portals also have other advantages such as providing employers and employees with an easy way of remotely accessing information. Additionally, self-service portals make it easy for employees to request leave, keep track of their personal information and update it when necessary, and they also keep a secure backup of all the payroll records.

    Avoiding cyber threats… and fines!

    Self-service portals does not only make GDPR processes much easier, they also eliminate the risk of being fined up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover of the previous year, whichever is higher. BrightPay Connect automatically backs up payroll data every 15 minutes when the payroll is open, and again when you close down the employer file and all the backups are available to be downloaded and restored if necessary.

    This means that the portal always keeps a secure copy of the payroll files in the cloud, protecting the data in case of cyber attacks and making it possible to restore it should something happen to the physical equipment, such as any damage to the computers.

    Accurate records

    GDPR specifies that individuals have a right to have inaccurate personal data rectified, or completed if necessary. The BrightPay Connect portal makes all the personal data held by their employer visible to the employee, who can easily edit approve leave requests and update contact details for employees.

    When the employee information is incomplete or inaccurate, for instance, should their phone number or postal address change, employees can easily update their details from the portal, which they can access 24/7 from any device, such as PCs, Macs, tablets or even their smartphone via the employee smartphone app.

    Limited access to data

    To be GDPR compliant, all the payslip information should only be available to payroll processors, only when it is strictly necessary for processing the payroll. With BrightPay Connect, users can be set up so that they only have access to the information needed to complete their assigned tasks.

    Stay GDPR compliant with BrightPay Connect. Book a demo to find out more
  • Zero hour workers are now entitled to a payslip Apr 5, 2019

    It’s time to look ahead at what 2019 has in store for us. Personally, I’m excited for new episodes of Homes Under The Hammer, the Royal Baby and maybe a weekend away in Scarborough. But amidst all this excitement there is another huge event looming on the horizon that is going to change the face of payroll forever.

    From April 2019, if you have paid employees then your world is about to be flipped upside down, never to be the same again. Ok, that was a bit dramatic - but this is a big deal. Basically under the new system employers will have to deliver itemised payslips to every worker on their payroll, not just those classified as “employees”. This means all workers, including zero hour and casual workers, must be issued with written, printed or electronic payslips. YES! You heard right, AND the employer must either:
    • itemise the figures for different types of work worked and for different rates of pay
    or
    • show the combined number of hours worked for which payment is being made.
    At first glance, yes, this payroll change can seem daunting. It could be a huge undertaking for a large proportion of businesses if you use HMRC’s Basic PAYE tools or if your payroll does not offer a payslip facility. But if you act ASAP you can ensure that you’re ready by the deadline. It’s important that there is a smooth transition. How do you do this? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

    First of all, make sure you have a meeting with your HR team. As long as your employees have the right information regarding these changes and that whoever is responsible for the payroll process knows how to implement them then you’re halfway there. But most importantly, your payroll processes should be revised so that this new information will appear as it should on the payslip itself. This includes:
    • earnings before and after any deductions

    • the amount of any deductions that might change per pay period such as NI contributions

    • an explanation of any fixed amount deductions

    • and finally - everyone’s favourite part - the net wages to be paid.
    But don’t worry - as long as you're using a dedicated payroll software you can rest easy. Payroll software such as BrightPay will have already prepared for these changes and have built-in functionality to process these amendments according to each individual payslip.

    Guys, I know it seems like a huge pain but at the end of the day, this is a huge victory for employees who will be able to understand their pay better and also dispute missed payments with greater ease.

    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
  • Student loan repayment thresholds set to change in 2019 - and it’s actually good news! Mar 28, 2019

    Ah uni days, I remember them fondly. It was worth every penny! I rarely think of my student loans (just kidding) but recently the government, not content with increasing the national minimum and living wage, overhauling payslips and increasing auto enrolment contributions have decided that student loan repayments also need a look-in.

    Student loans are mostly collected through payroll. A deduction is made from the employees’ pay which is sent to the HMRC and goes towards paying off the loan. The amount of deduction is determined by the employees’ level of earnings.

    Currently, the student loan repayment threshold is £18,330 and, if you’re lucky enough to have a salary over this threshold in the current economic climate, then you must repay 9% of any earnings above that figure. This is Plan 1. If you are even luckier and did something like a rocket science degree and are earning over £25,000 then anything you earn over this will also be taxed at 9%. This is called Plan 2.

    The new regulations will see the repayment threshold for Plan 1 rise to £18,935 and the repayment threshold for Plan 2 to £25,725. This may not seem like a big change but it means that some people will actually be paying less back each month. Every penny counts when you start to repay your student loans. They’re like big black clouds hanging over your payslip every month and it feels as if they will never go away, so any reprieve is welcome. Not only that but the repayment threshold will change each year based on how average earnings change. So if earnings somehow fall, then the threshold could too.

    Now, what does this have to do with you? You’re not a student anymore. BUT if you’re an employer and your employees need to pay back student loans, then this does affect you and you need to prepare for these changes.

    If your payroll process uses manual entry, email or spreadsheets then this can lead to inaccuracies and you may have errors with over or under-deductions. Ensuring compliance and accuracy is super important when it comes to payroll and student loans. What ensures compliance and accuracy whilst reducing the resources needed to manage payroll each month? Technology - in particular, a payroll software called BrightPay that has been preparing for these upcoming changes since they were announced way back when and will do all the calculations automatically for you.

    So you don’t have to relive the horrors of being a student i.e. doing maths, and you can leave all the hard work to the professionals. And it’s not just student loans that are changing in 2019, BrightPay will help you with all upcoming payroll changes coming over the next few years. Check out BrightPay at https://www.brightpay.co.uk.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Complaints increase since the introduction of GDPR Mar 18, 2019

    Guys, it’s been nearly 11 months since the introduction of GDPR. Can you believe it? You know it’s true what they say, time really flies when you’re having so much fun complying with legislation! However, there has been an unexpected (or expected, depending on who you talk to) consequence of all these changes and that is: complaints! What? Yes, complaints! Tons of them! How many? Well in the UK (aka the politest nation on Earth) the amount of Data Protection complaints have nearly doubled, and in Ireland (aka the friendliest country on the planet) the number of complaints are up nearly two thirds! Shocking! By the looks of it they have just HAD it and GDPR is to blame, right? But actually, if you dig a bit deeper there are some very simple explanations for this surge of chagrin.

    GDPR was designed to give Data Subjects more control over their personal data, and requires that any company that suffers a data breach has to notify its subjects within 72 hours of the breach being discovered. So that partly explains the surge, because people know about a breach that affects them. You can’t complain about something you have no clue about!

    Another contributing factor is the amount of high profile data breaches that have been in the news lately, especially involving tech companies that hold a lot of our data. They are on our radar and as a result we are more aware of data breaches on a larger scale and the severity with which they are treated.

    Gone are the early days of the internet where we would enter a scanned copy of our passport and the last 5 years of addresses just to find out what type of Pokemon we were on an online quiz. Once bitten twice shy; we are savvier now and understand the consequences of our data getting into the wrong hands.

    This is particularly true for payroll data and is why payroll companies are the ones who are taking GDPR as seriously as it should be. Payroll bureaus possess extremely sensitive data for sometimes hundreds of employees - birthdates, addresses, bank details... It is a hacker’s treasure trove and this is why payroll companies need to be extra vigilant when safeguarding against data breaches. This has always been the case, it’s just now GDPR is bringing these concerns to the forefront.

    So you see, just because the amount of complaints has increased doesn’t mean there’s been more breaches, it just means that we are more aware of them and how serious they are. It also highlights the scale of data breaches and leaks before GDPR came into effect and why this bit of legislation is necessary. That’s why BrightPay have designed a fully GDPR compliant bit of software called BrightPay Connect that essentially puts data protection up on a big ol’ pedestal.

    As their website says

    Our number one priority is security. All communication between BrightPay on your PC or Mac and the BrightPay Connect servers is carried out on a safe channel with maximum security. As you or your employees browse the online dashboards, we use various methods to protect against things like data injection, authentication hacking, cross site scripting, exposure flaws, request forgery, and the many other types of vulnerabilities.”


    Basically it means that your data is in very good hands. Book a demo today and get in touch at https://www.brightpay.co.uk/connect/


    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • What you need to understand about payslips for the 2019/20 tax year Mar 13, 2019

    Every new year brings with it a host of changes and 2019 is turning into quite the year. Be it suddenly not being able to get a space on a treadmill in your gym after January 1st, or having to remember to write a different year every time you write the date; the point is the whole world is doing a #NEWYEARNEWME. Some take this more seriously than others but you know what’s taken this mantra the most seriously? – Payroll. But not everyone is so clear on these new changes with payslips, so I’m here to just quickly recap the two most important changes that have happened/are yet to happen to our lovely payslips in the 2019/20 tax year.

    1) GDPR affects how employees receive their payslips and the legality behind making sure you’re not breaching the rules.

    So this came into effect when GDPR did (obviously) but is still a bit of a grey area for a lot of people. If you want to read a detailed and, quite frankly, hilarious article about GDPR and payslips you can do so right here. But basically in TL;DR terms (that’s “too long; didn’t read” for all you who aren’t down with the lingo) it says that:
    • It’s not illegal but it’s not ok to email payslips, unless you have a super secure network which is encrypted and has two dragons guarding the front gates.

    • You need to be practicing due diligence in all areas which basically means the “I didn’t know” excuse won’t wash if you are caught breaching GDPR guidelines. It’s your responsibility to know and you should do by now.

    • You need to make sure all your staff who handle sensitive data – i.e. payroll – are fully GDPR compliant and are using fully compliant payroll software.

    • The government recommends using a cloud based employee self-service portal so that employees’ can view their own payslips with their individual passwords.
    2) Payslips having to include not just the amount of hours worked, but a breakdown of these hours and how you are being paid.

    From April 6th of 2019 (this year) payslips are changing to include the amount of hours worked and in particular where the rate of pay is variable (like casual or zero hours) it must be set out in a written, printed or electronic payslip. It’s also required to include details of how the payment was calculated or the different payment for varying types of work and/or pay. So what do you need to do as an employer? In another amazing and, if I may say so myself, award worthy article I talk about this in more depth. But the TL;DR version once again is:
    • Start preparing right now. Review your payroll processes ASAP to ensure a smooth transition.

    • Look at how your current payslip format can be amended to incorporate the new data and stay within legal requirements.

    • Train your HR staff to make sure they understand and can relay all this new information to other staff members.

    • Automatic or manual? If you’re doing manual then it’s time to get yourself an automated payroll software that will include all this new information for you automatically.
    So you need an automated, reputable, payroll software that also includes a Cloud based employee self-service portal where employees can view their payslips and other details with individual passwords? I’m sorry but the perfect payroll software doesn’t exi-......

    Or does it???

    Head to BrightPay and check out amazing software that was voted 2018 payroll software of the year and allows the user to display a customisable breakdown of the employee’s pay on the payslip. You’ll be living your best life, along with your payroll.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Employees snitch on Employers who don’t comply with Auto Enrolment Mar 12, 2019

    Auto enrolment compliance is still very much at the forefront of The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) objectives. However, a small minority of employers are still not complying with their auto enrolment duties. Some employers tell their employees that they would face a pay cut if they joined a workplace pension scheme. Others tell them that they have in fact been enrolled when a pension scheme has not even been set up. These employers are hoping that their auto enrolment duties will simply disappear or that their employees won’t even notice that they are being denied their rights.

    Fortunately, employees are very aware of their rights and entitlements. TPR is relying on employees to inform them where their employer has failed to properly carry out their automatic enrolment duties. According to TPR, ‘It was a whistle-blower who alerted us to the situation at Birmingham-based Crest Healthcare, whose staff were told that pension contributions were being paid by the employer when, in fact, a scheme hadn’t even been set up.’ Both the company and then Managing Director at Crest were prosecuted after pleading guilty to non-compliance.

    For the most part, the role out of automatic enrolment has been hugely successful with over 1.2 million employers gone through the process. More than 9.6 million people have gained a workplace pension as a result which is some achievement. The majority of employers continue to comply with their AE duties and it’s now a regular part of their payroll process.

    It’s likely that a small number of employers will continue to try to evade their duties. Whistle-blowers are a vital component to identifying these employers that have not acted on their legal employer duties. TPR receive over 80 reports every week from employees who suspect that their employers are breaking the law. These reported cases have directly led to around 600 employers being investigated for non-compliance.

    Complying with auto enrolment is easy!!

    It makes sense for every employer or payroll client to comply with their auto enrolment duties. It is a relatively easy process when users utilise payroll software that has automated functionality to process their employer auto enrolment duties. BrightPay is one such payroll software tool that takes the grunt work out of calculating and processing the ongoing duties required. Book a demo today to see why our customers give us a 99% customer satisfaction rating.

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  • Changes to employment law that will affect payroll in 2019 Jan 31, 2019

    Blimey! What a year 2018 was eh? If you’re like me, you’ve barely made it out alive and are hanging on to your sanity by the skin of your teeth. HOLA 2019! I actually have a good feeling about this year. I’m going to reinvent myself, start volunteering at the local puppy shelter and finally call out Dave from Accounts about farting in the lift every morning. I imagine all this with a big hopeful smile on my face and then BAM, I remember all the changes that 2019 will bring to employers, accountants and payroll providers and it all comes crashing down. If you fall into any of these categories then here are the 3 biggest things that 2019 has in store for you.


    1 - Increase in NLW and NMW


    The biggest payroll change to come into effect in 2019 is the increase in the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) as outlined in the 2018 Budget with a capital B. This will take effect from April 2019. Under the new NLW the minimum hourly rate workers aged 25 and over are entitled to will increase from £7.83 to £8.21, 21-24 year olds from £7.38 to £7.70, and 18-20 year olds from £5.90 to £6.15 and workers who are over compulsory school age but not yet 18 will see their hourly rate increase from £4.20 - £4.35. Apprentices will also see their minimum rate increase from £3.70 - £3.90 providing the apprentice is under 19. Phew! Got all that? There’ll be a pop quiz once we’re done!


    2 - Auto-enrolment contributions increase


    I talked in a previous post about the increase in minimum contributions from April 2019. Basically the workers’ automatic enrolment contributions increase from 2% to 3% and the employees’ contributions increase from 3% to 5%. If you do not meet these contributions then you do not qualify for the auto-enrolment scheme and can be sentenced to death. Just kidding, but it is in in both you and (especially) your employees’ best interest to have all your ducks in a row before the cut-off date to avoid any nasty surprises or slaps on the wrist. Your payroll software should automatically do the calculations for your employees.


    3 - Payslips


    The last Big (with another capital B) change is to how employers issue payslips. From the 6th of April 2019, the legal right to a payslip will be extended to include those who are recognised as “workers” including those on zero hour contracts. Employers are also obligated to include hours worked on their payslips for all employees whose wages vary depending on hours worked. This is a huge undertaking for a huge proportion of businesses. Gone is the gig economy and in its place are revolutionaries who stood up and demanded to be counted! Well, their hours at least. Good for them - a pain in the butt for payroll departments!


    So how can you avoid a mental breakdown as an employer in 2019? Well, besides volunteering with me at the puppy shelter on weekends, it’s simple - you can save yourself the stress by using a dedicated payroll software that does all the hard work for you. If you haven't already invested in one then it’s time to move to the museum with the other fossils because the future is here, Barbara! With all these big changes happening in 2019 there is no time like the present. Head on over to www.brightpay.co.uk to start the New Year off right.



    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software


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  • What do we want? The perfect payroll solution. When do we want it? Now! Jan 28, 2019

    Here are some really easy questions to answer:
    • 2+2? 4
    • Should I give the nice young man on the phone my banking details? No
    • Should I use payroll software to automate my payroll, saving me both time and money? Absolutely.
    See? Easy! So you’ve decided to join the smart kids club, congratulations! Now come the difficult questions:
    • Who do I hate more, Kanye West or Donald Trump?
    • Were Ross and Rachel really on a break?
    • Which software provider should I choose to do my payroll?
    Like browsing through online dating sites, there are 7 factors that you should take into account whilst selecting the ‘perfect payroll partner’:

    Cost - Ease of use….Free tria….woah ooooooook let’s end that analogy right there and start again.

    *ahem* There are 7 factors that you should, take into account while picking the right payroll software for ‘your needs’:

    Cost - Ease of Use - Free Trial - Security - Online Support and - Features. Let’s discuss:
    • Cost - As a business owner you need to be careful with costs. As a small business owner, you need to be even more careful with payroll costs. You need to look out for what features are offered as standard and what may be charged as extra in future. You will most likely be tied into a contract and a lot of companies will charge you for software support which is essential with all the upcoming changes coming your way.

    • Ease of use - exactly what it says on the tin! You don’t want to need a computer science degree to use the bloomin’ software. Make sure even the least-tech savvy person in the office can still use the payroll software system (not naming any names, Barbara). And if you’re still having trouble then what do we need? SUPPORT! When do you we need it? Actually it’s been a pretty rough week I could wouldn’t say no to a hug right about now...

    • Free trial - Yes yes, a thousand times yes! This is the best way to get feel for how it works and manages your payroll over the course of the trail. Free trials, free demo, free money; look out for great offers!

    • Security - If you’re dealing with finance then security is paramount. And since the introduction of GDPR your employee and client data is now just as important to keep under lock and key. Check that the payroll software can backup and restore data if it becomes corrupted and that there is end to end encryption. This way you can breathe easy and know that your data is in safe hands and you won’t be given the death sentence for breaching data protection laws.

    • Online Support - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Good customer support is as important as a daily skincare routine! A lot of places will charge extra for this so make sure to check before you buy.

    • Features - It’s a veritable quagmire out there when it comes to businesses trying to sell you stuff and be heard amidst the chaos. Payroll is no different and you will be bombarded with different features that companies will try and use to entice you into bed. So here are some of the things that you should be looking out for:
      • Automated payslips
      • RTI Compliant
      • Auto enrolment functionality
      • Data analysis
      • Time & Attendance
      • GDPR Compliant
      • Reliable Customer Support
      • Employee Portal
      • Pay Period selection
    So there you have it. All the information you need to make an informed consumer decision. Or you could just save yourself a lot of time and effort and head straight over to BrightPay who have actually been voted Payroll Software of the Year 2018 at the Accounting Excellence Awards.

    BrightPay’s snazzy interface is easy to use and they offer free (yes, FREE) support via email and phone. BrightPay offers a plethora of payroll features that make it, literally, the best out there.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne for BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Payslips, Employee Consent & a Self Service Portal Jan 16, 2019

    GDPR came and went one year ago but has anything changed? The short answer is no. All businesses must continue to protect and securely manage the payroll data they manage on behalf of their employees. Payroll bureaus must also continue to protect their clients payroll data.

    Businesses must provide their employees with information on what happens to their data, for example sharing employee’s personal data with a third party (payroll bureau) who processes the payroll. Employee personal data can be stored and managed by a payroll bureau, bookkeeper or accountant for the sole benefit of correctly paying their wages, paying the correct tax and providing a payslip. All of this legitimately falls under the remit of the GDPR legislation.

    By law, you must provide employees with payslips which include personal data such as proof of earnings, tax paid and any pension contributions. It is advisable that bureaus take steps to protect and securely send this payslip information.

    Employee Consent

    Many bureaus have expressed concern and confusion in relation to getting consent from client’s employees and securely distributing payslips. Payroll bureaus do not need to seek consent from individual employees that the payroll is processed for. However, the employer will need to inform their employees that they are sharing their personal information with a third party. It is also an employers responsibility to ensure that their payroll bureau or accountant is taking action to protect their employees’ payroll information under GDPR.

    An employee cannot withdraw their consent for their personal data to be used as part of the payroll processing. It should be noted that bureaus should keep only the personal data that is strictly required for the purpose of the payroll. This is referred to as data minimisation or privacy by default.

    Posting Payslips

    There is nothing in the GDPR legislation that states it is no longer permissible to post payslips. Payroll bureaus who post payslips will need to ensure that all appropriate security measures are in place to protect the payslip. This may include using security payslip envelopes, marking the envelope as ‘Private and Confidential’ and ensuring that it is addressed to a specific person. In some cases, you may decide to use registered post.

    Emailing Payslips

    There is nothing in the GDPR legislation that states it is no longer permissible to email payslips. However, payroll bureaus should take steps to securely protect each employee’s payslip. When emailing payslips, bureaus should ensure that all payslips are password protected with a password that is uniquely chosen by the employee. The payslip should be sent directly to the employee’s chosen email address.

    Where a generic and identical password is used for all employees, this could be considered a breach of GDPR. In this scenario, the bureau could be seen as not taking sufficient steps to offer the most secure environment to protect employee’s personal pay information.

    Furthermore, your payroll provider should provide secure encryption on all payslips and automatically delete payslips that are being sent from their server. Check with your provider to be certain that they are offering this level of protection. If not, you should look for another payroll provider who does. For maximum security, it is recommended (but not mandatory) to offer a secure self-service portal to securely send and store payslips and other sensitive payroll documents.

    Recommended Self-Service Option

    The GDPR legislation includes a best practice recommendation for businesses to provide individuals with a secure self-service platform offering remote access to information held. On a self-service system, employees would be able to remotely access payroll information including payslips, contact details, and employee documents such as employee contracts and handbooks. Employees may also be able to request leave and view their annual leave entitlements including leave taken and leave remaining, which are also considered as personal data.

    According to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)

    The GDPR includes a best practice recommendation that, where possible, organisations should be able to provide remote access to a secure self-service system which would provide the individual with direct access to his or her information (Recital 63).

    The employee self-service portal should be password protected for every employee. Again, identical or a generic password must not be used for all employees. Each employee's password should be unique, chosen by the employee and confidential, offering maximum protection. Accessing payslips and personal contact details through a remote access secure system will provide flexibility and full transparency for employees to retrieve their information at any time.

    A self-service portal offers significant benefits for payroll bureaus to comply with the GDPR legislation. Remote access will provide clients and their employees with direct access to their payroll information anywhere, anytime. Clients can login 24/7 to view their employees' payslips, HR documents, amounts due to HMRC and other payroll reports.

    Payroll bureaus also benefit as they can now automate the distribution of payslips and payroll reports. With some systems, payslips and payroll reports will be automatically available on the self-service portal as soon as the payroll has been finalised. This offers additional security against cyber attacks and eliminates email hacks that could occur when sending payslips or payroll reports by email. Additionally, a self-service option allows payroll bureaus to keep their data updated and accurate as employees can edit their contact information.

    Written by Karen Bennett | BrightPayPayroll Software

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  • BrightPay wins Payroll Software of the Year 2018! Nov 13, 2018

    The Accounting Excellence Software Awards celebrate the achievements of ambitious and growth-oriented firms and technology providers. The awards are based on the biggest independent business software survey conducted in the UK, with around 12,000 customer ratings making up the overall results each year. So to win the Payroll Software of the Year would be a big deal, right? Duh. It would, in fact, be a HUGE deal. And why is that?

    To quote AccountingWeb’s website:

    “using customer feedback to determine the winners is what makes these awards so important and the ongoing survey presents a unique opportunity to assess what is happening on the profession’s front line”.

    (Can we just take a second to appreciate the image of the “front line” of payroll?
    *frantically screaming while bombs whistle in the background* “I’m going to need a P45 over here STAT or this guy’s going to be charged emergency tax next month and godDAMNit I can’t let that happen to one of my own again”.

    Ok I’m done).

    I’m a modern day woman, a child of the technological revolution, born and raised in a microchip. And those of us who have embraced technology (i.e. your whole client base if you are a software provider) rely heavily on other people’s opinions in order to make an informed purchase about their payroll software. This is not even being a sheep following the herd, as is so typical of many technological communities. It’s more of a way of everyone looking out for each other. We all know how easy it is to be told by a company how amazing they are only to be disappointed. (Like a business Tinder - the profile picture never looks anything like them). The point is we’re inherently wary about what a company has written about their own product.

    It’s like getting a CV from Tommy who describes himself as being “punctual, able to multitask, and a team-player” when in reality, he’s late every day, has a slight whiff of BO and chews with his mouth open. If I want the real story I need to hear it from the people who worked with him. Hence, if I am buying something, then I want to hear from people who actually used it and are offering their opinion based on real life experience. So, the fact that BrightPay has won the Payroll Software of the Year Award and the fact that this award based on THOUSANDS of customer reviews should tell you that it is a pretty awesome piece of kit.

    Here are a selection of actual customer testimonials from the BrightPay website:

    upload_2018-11-13_9-36-14.png
    *not an actual review - but it could be..

    Not only that but BrightPay have a 99% customer satisfaction rate. 99%!! That is the stuff that corporate dreams are made of.

    As a company, BrightPay are going from strength to strength and this award was (in my opinion) well overdue and deserved. I may be biased, but the thousands who voted for them and raved about the payroll functionality are not. Book your free demo today to see just what all the fuss is about at https://www.brightpay.co.uk/book-demo/.


    Written by | Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software


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