There's been a lot of talk recently about online client platforms. They can bring many benefits to both employers and employees alike - from online payslip access to annual leave management to a HR document hub.
But can cloud payroll portals really help with employer obligations? Here we look at how BrightPay Connect can help with record-keeping requirements, employment law obligations and GDPR compliance.
By law, employers must retain certain documentation relating to their employees for specific minimum periods. Good cloud systems will record this information for you, meaning everything is stored securely online.
Not only is BrightPay Connect useful for keeping a record of payroll information, but employers can also use it to hold various employment and leave records. Sometimes record-keeping can be something that we let slip or are perhaps not as diligent as we might be with say, payroll files, where we tend to be very diligent.
If you have an inspection, the inspector will want to see all of the employee records, whether it’s pay records, annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, and they’ll expect the records to be readily accessible. With BrightPay Connect, you can access the calendar and reporting features to see at a glance who has taken leave, and when, so should an inspector arrive, you can simply log into Connect to access the records, rather than getting into a panic about what is saved where.
For employers, there’s also compliance with employment legislation. This will be even more important over the coming months, as three new pieces of employment legislation come into force on 6th April 2020.
One of the changes being introduced is the introduction of a day-one right to receive a written statement of terms and conditions (more commonly known as a contract of employment). At the moment, this needs to be given to new employees, no later than two months after the beginning of their employment, so this new day-one timeframe requirement from this April of providing an employee with their contract on their first day of employment will be a big change for many employers. For employers who use Bright Contracts to create contracts of employment, the software will soon be updated in line with the new legislation.
If you are on leave or not based at the same location as the new employee, meeting that day-one deadline could be challenging, and that’s where the online employer and employee portals can help. Being able to upload employment contracts and other employee documentation onto the cloud from any location, and share it with the employee, could be a lifesaver. With BrightPay Connect, the documents and resources hub also offers an activity log, which gives the date and time stamps in relation to when an employee accessed the document.
In the new world of GDPR, non-compliance will be a continuous threat to all businesses. BrightPay Connect offers significant benefits to help your business or practice comply with GDPR legislation.
The GDPR legislation includes a best practice recommendation, whereby organisations should provide individuals with remote access to a secure system, which would give them direct access to their personal information. An online employee portal, such as BrightPay Connect, will store employee’s information online, giving the employee access to personal data that employer has on file for them. The employee can update their contact information easily, with changes instantly and seamlessly updated in the payroll software.
Your data accuracy and compliance improve even further when you add in the ability to automatically backup payroll data in the cloud. If you only keep your payroll data on your desktop, you are at risk of losing the information. How prepared are you for a disaster recovery situation? Would employees still get paid if the information was lost? Without cloud backup, the consequences would be dire. But now, these problems can be solved quickly, and that’s because of cloud innovation.
Cloud integration introduces the ability to automatically and securely backup the payroll data to the cloud. BrightPay Connect maintains a chronological history of all your backups, and these backups can be restored at any time if required. It’s simply an added layer of data protection to safeguard your payroll data.
Book a demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay Connect can help you comply with your employer obligations.
Research suggests that 1 in 10 employees are likely to be affected by the death of a loved one during their employment. In response to this, "Jack’s Law" has been introduced through the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act. This will come into force in April 2020 and now gives employed parents, who have lost a child, the right to take paid statutory leave to allow them time to grieve.
All employees have a ‘day one’ right to this bereavement leave. Parents and primary carers will be entitled to bereavement leave if they have been employed for a continuous period of 26 weeks. Female employees who suffer a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy will still be entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave and/or pay, as will a mother who loses a child after it is born.
Employers should now put plans in place to introduce and manage the Parental Bereavement Leave policy. You will need to determine if you will give a top-up payment and the approach you will take to communicating this to your staff.
Different religions have their own bereavement traditions and funeral rites. If you were to refuse an employee to observe their beliefs and customs, it could amount to religious discrimination. Employees who suffer a loss may experience mental health issues such as depression and/or anxiety. This could constitute a disability under the Equality Act. It is advisable to look into further training on the Equality Act to prevent potential issues from religious discrimination or mental health arising.
The Bright Contracts Handbook will be updated shortly to include a new Parental Bereavement Leave Policy.
It has been announced that on the 1st April 2020 the minimum wage will increase by amounts ranging from 4.6% to 6.5%. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour that most employees are entitled to by law. An employee's age and if they are an apprentice will determine the rate they will receive.
These rates were recommended to the government by the Low Pay Commission, an independent body that advise on the national minimum wage and living wage. It is estimated that approximately three million workers will see pay increases due to the new rates being introduced. Employees aged 25 and over will see a rise of 51p from £8.21 to £8.72, which will result in an increase of £930 annually.
Please see the current rates and the new rates below:
|Rates from 1 April 2019 are||Rates from 1 April 2020 will be|
|25 yrs old and over||£8.21 per hour||£8.72 per hour|
|21-24 yrs old||£7.70 per hour||£8.20 per hour|
|18-20 yrs old||£6.15 per hour||£6.45 per hour|
|16-17 yrs old||£4.35 per hour||£4.55 per hour|
|Apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who
are in the first year of apprenticeship
|£3.90 per hour||£4.15 per hour|
It has also been recommended by the Low Pay Commission that the national living wage will be paid to employees aged 21 and over. The National Living Wage is an obligatory minimum wage currently paid to employees aged 25 and over that was introduced in April 2016. The government aims to achieve this recommendation by 2024.
Start 2020 with some HR goals to put you on the front foot. Make your goals achievable and easy and you won’t be one of the 80% of people whose resolutions have fallen by the wayside by February 1st! Consider how technology could help you achieve a leaner you in 2020…
Hate all those repetitive admin tasks that keep popping up over and over like manually recording your employees annual leave, amending employees’ personal details, making sure they are receiving and reading important company updates? Well, now is the time to get rid of them. Consider how an online platform could take care of those tasks and many more.
Manage your HR tasks from almost anywhere by using your Employer Dashboard to monitor your employees annual leave requests, review your payroll reports and keep an eye on your HMRC payments. As long as you have an internet enabled device, it can all be at your fingertips… anytime, anywhere!
Use online document upload features to distribute, track and manage any information you want your staff to have access to. Contracts, policies, training, schedules, you name it. You have the peace of mind of knowing your employees have that information at their fingertips and that you can see a log of when and how often they are accessing it.
GDPR and cybersecurity. The two scariest words in the English language. Free yourself from that fear with a robust online portal. Fully secure servers, individually password protected and fully GDPR compliant.
What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘cloud’ will vary from person to person. Some will think of the weather as they look, grumbling, out their front window. But others will be thinking about all that extra storage on their iPhone. See, the meaning of the word has changed in recent times and most of us will now think the latter. But what about those who haven’t a notion what you’re on about? What is the cloud?
The cloud is a general term for any computing service that involves hosting over the internet to deliver computing services in lieu of a hard drive. Services such as storage, payroll and HR information. The other key feature is that you can access these services or information anytime, anywhere from any device that is connected to the internet. In fact, you’re already using cloud services if you use social media, Google Drive and Dropbox to name but a few. And now the cloud has become a must-have for any business who wishes to keep up with the times.
I can hear some of you now: “it sounds great but my employees would never use something like that”. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. A recent survey found that 48% of people believe technological advances will change the face of the workplace and a whopping 87% of those said they would be happy to adapt to technological changes if the right tools were given to them. Wow! So how do I know which cloud platform to choose for my business?
I’m glad you asked! Our experts got together for a brainstorming session and found that there are four key things to look out for when choosing the right cloud platform for your business - cost, compliance, simplicity and connection.
So there you have it… off you go now! Good luck scouring through the internet trying to find the perfect cloud platform. But….., well, ...it is Christmas after all and I’m feeling generous. Ah what the heck, I’ll just let you in on a secret which is the best cloud platform for businesses out there: our very own BrightPay Connect.
BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay’s award-winning payroll software and ticks literally every single box I just mentioned over the course of this post. I’ve done enough talking so instead let me show you. Book a demo today to find out if BrightPay Connect is the perfect fit for your business.
Merry Christmas everyone! Don’t say I didn’t get you anything!
The Living Wage Week ran from 11th to 17th November 2019 and as part of this week, the new Living Wage rate details were revealed on Monday 11th November 2019. The Mayor of London announced the London rate for the Living Wage whereas the UK rate is announced countrywide at the same time.
The UK Living Wage rate has increased by 30p per hour to £9.30, an increase of 3.3%.
The new London Living Wage, announced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has increased by 20p from £10.55 to £10.75 per hour. This is a 1.9% increase and this rate is £2.54 higher than the legal minimum wage set by the Government. This helps reflect the higher cost of living facing families in the city.
There are now 1,700 London Living Wage accredited employers in London such as London City Airport and Crystal Palace Football Club. With this increase, London full time employees who receive the Living Wage will be almost £5,000 better off than other employees in London on the minimum wage.
According to the Trust for London, almost 20% of employees in London are paid less than the Living Wage which include 60% of jobs in the hotel and restaurant sector and 40% in the retail sector.
For information about the Living Wage Foundation and Living Wage Week visit the Living Wage Foundation website.
HMRC has issued details regarding the latest Advisory Fuel Rates for company cars.
From the 1st December 2019 employers may use the old rates or new rates for one month. Employers are under no obligation to make supplementary payments to reflect the new rates but can do so if they wish. Hybrid cars are treated as either petrol or diesel cars for this purpose for the fuel rates.
The rates are as below:
|Engine Size||Petrol- amount per mile||LPG - amount per mile|
|1400cc or less||12 pence||8 pence|
|1401cc to 2000cc||14 pence||9 pence|
|Over 2000cc||21 pence||14 pence|
|Engine Size||Diesel - amount per mile|
For fully electric cars the Advisory Electricity Rate is 4 pence per mile. But electricity is not a fuel for car fuel benefit purposes. Please click here to see all details as per HMRC.
You can now do so much more than simply manage the payslip process. BrightPay Connect offers an online self-service platform and an employee app. Employees have 24/7 easy access to view the payslips anytime, anywhere, using your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Historic payslips and P60s are available to access and download. BrightPay Connect offers employees:
BrightPay Connect’s Payroll Approval Request allows bureau users to securely send their clients a payroll summary before the payroll is finalised. Clients can then review and authorise the payroll details for the pay period through their online employer dashboard. Ultimately, your client will be accountable for ensuring the payroll information is 100% correct before the payroll is finalised. Additionally, there is an audit trail of the requests being approved by the client.
The popular AccountingWEB online platform has announced a new conference for accountants. AccountingWEB Live is a unique blend of technology showcase, educational workshop and inspiring content. As well as a full content programme, AccountingWEB Live will feature showcases from the UK’s leading technology brands, demonstrating the latest products, updates and solutions. We are delighted that BrightPay will exhibit at AccountingWEB Live next year to showcase our latest features.
From April 2020, customers will be billed on a usage subscription model based on the number of active employees in the billing month. Once signed up for a BrightPay Connect account, you will be invoiced monthly in arrears through our new online billing system. There are no contracts or ties. Should you decide to stop using Connect, no notice is required. Payroll Bureaus on a bureau package will be charged based on the total number of active employees in respect of clients that are synchronised to BrightPay Connect (not on a client-by-client basis).
The advancement of employee mobile apps offers many different advantages for employers, employees, and the business as a whole. Payroll apps will streamline payroll processing while reducing the number of payroll queries from employees. The BrightPay Connect self-service app provides a digital payslip platform where employees benefit from secure access anytime, anywhere, using their smartphone or tablet. Through these app features, you can provide your employees with access to GDPR compliant self-service tools, a payslip library and a user-friendly holiday leave management facility.
The annual LUCA Awards recognise outstanding achievement in the bookkeeping world, where ICB members and students vote in an online ballot to decide the winners of the awards. This year, BrightPay was awarded Payroll Software of the Year, over shortlisted contenders Moneysoft, Sage and Xero.
The awards took place earlier this week, during the annual two-day Bookkeepers Summit, where the BrightPay team had great feedback from the ICB members who are using BrightPay.
The award comes just one year after BrightPay was announced as the winner of ‘Payroll Software of the Year’ 2018 at the AccountingWEB Software Excellence Awards.
With over 25 years of payroll experience, our products are used to process the payroll for over 250,000 businesses across the UK and Ireland. BrightPay also has an impressive 99% customer satisfaction rate and a 5-star rating on Software Advice.
BrightPay includes a number of features that are very beneficial for bookkeepers.
These are just a few of the many features we have in BrightPay that can help bookkeepers, but there’s so much more on offer. Don’t miss out - book a demo today to see these features in action and to discover more ways that BrightPay’s award-winning software can improve efficiency and save you time.
We would like to say a massive thank you to all of the ICB members and students who voted for us this year and to all of our customers. Go team BrightPay!!
Until the recent past, small businesses were unlikely targets for sophisticated cyber-attacks. But in the internet era, things have changed dramatically.
SMEs are doing more business online than ever and they are using cloud services that don’t use strong encryption technology. It’s turned your average SME into a likely, lucrative target. There’s a lot of sensitive data to be had, and if it’s behind a door with an easy lock to pick then all the better.
This new reality is on display in official statistics. Over four in ten businesses (43%) and two in ten charities (19%) experienced a cybersecurity breach or attack in 2018, according to the government’s cybersecurity breaches survey.
Three-quarters of businesses (74%) and over half of all charities (53%) surveyed also identified cybersecurity as a high priority for their organisation’s senior management. It’s likely GDPR and its stiffened sanctions for breaches and blunders has a lot to do with this heightened priority.
Payroll processing is a key innovation battleground in this new era of hacks and data regulation. Clients want the convenience of online access to their payroll information, but they also demand (and require) the very best in security.
For a bureau, offering best-in-class cybersecurity is a valuable way to add and demonstrate value, with very little actual effort on your part. A bureau using the most secure cloud payroll facility will offer data security as standard.
Meanwhile, the security itself is actually handled by the software supplier and the infrastructure they provide. All you need to do is make the right choice when it comes to picking a software partner.
When using BrightPay Connect in conjunction with your BrightPay desktop application, for instance, all communication between both systems is carried out on a safe channel with maximum security.
BrightPay utilises all manner of best practice to guard against nefarious tactics such as data injection, authentication hacking, cross-site scripting, exposure flaws, request forgery, and the many other types of vulnerabilities.
BrightPay Connect utilises the Microsoft Azure platform to give users reliability, scalability, data redundancy, geo-replication and timely security updates out of the box.
As a payroll bureau, cybersecurity is a critical commercial area. You must be able to promise security to both current and prospective clients. By investing in payroll software that offers cloud integration powered by the latest tech, that’s an easy promise to keep. Being at the bleeding edge of cybersecurity has never been simpler.
Book a demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay Connect can protect your business.