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  • 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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  • Payroll Implications of Brexit Jun 18, 2019

    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