BrightPay Blog

Jun 2017


HMRC issue with Real Time Information responses

HMRC are currently experiencing issues with a delay in submission responses from RTI submissions. If you are unsure if your submission has been successfully sent, you should receive your confirmation email from HMRC to acknowledge receipt of the RTI submission.

The following message has been added to the PAYE service availability and issues page

PAYE Real Time Information slow submission responses

HMRC are aware of a technical issue which is causing a delay in submission responses being issued for Real Time Information (RTI) submissions. We are currently investigating the underlying problem and are working hard to resolve this as soon as possible.

If you have received your confirmation email from HMRC to acknowledge receipt of the RTI submission and it still shows as outstanding in BrightPay you can mark the submission as sent and accepted by HMRC.

To mark an FPS as sent in BrightPay:

1) Click the RTI tab heading and select the FPS from the left hand listing.

2) Click the 'Send' button on the menu toolbar and select 'Mark as Sent and Accepted by HMRC'

This will flag the FPS as sent on BrightPay but the FPS file will not be submitted again to HMRC.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinHMRCPayroll SoftwareReal time information

Jun 2017


Ditch the suit....

Firms are being urged to relax workplace dress codes to help staff cope with the heatwave, the TUC has urged firms to temporarily relax their dress codes and leave work all together if it gets too hot.

The advice will come as a particular relief for male office workers who are often expected to wear shirts, suits and ties to work.

Heatwaves are generally easier for female workers to dress for, as they are able to switch to smart short-sleeved dresses.

It comes as Sunday saw a high of 32C, the hottest day of the year so far and emergency services are on standby after the Government issued a level three amber heat alert as temperatures are set to increase further this week.

Temperatures are due to peak at 34C in certain parts of the UK – hotter than the Bahamas – before cooling down at least a few degrees by next weekend.

As well as allowing comfortable clothes, the TUC has suggested that any outside work is done in the morning or afternoon to avoid the searing heat of the mid-day sun.

The union organisation again called for a change in the law to let workers go home if the temperature reaches 30C or 27C for people carrying out physical work. At present there is no upper temperature limit at which workers have a right to leave work.

It also called for a change in the law to introduce a maximum indoor temperature, with employers obliged to adopt cooling measures when a workplace temperature reaches 24C.

Companies should supply workers with cool drinks and allow them to take regular breaks, advised the TUC.


Posted byCaoimhe ByrneinPayroll

Jun 2017


5 Steps to Complete Employer Re-Enrolment Duties

The majority of employers will already have a schedule in place for completing their automatic enrolment duties. However, it is important to also take into consideration automatic re-enrolment. Re-enrolment occurs every three years where employers must enrol certain members of staff back into an automatic enrolment pension scheme. This might sound tedious but with the right payroll tools and processes, automatic re-enrolment can be a breeze. In this blog, we will go over five simple steps to follow for re-enrolment in order to stay compliant.

Step 1: Pick a Date

An employer’s re-enrolment date occurs by default on the third anniversary of their automatic enrolment staging date. Fortunately, there is a six month window that employers can choose from, being three months either side of the anniversary of the staging date.

When the chosen date arrives, employers must assess certain members of staff for re-enrolment. Different departments or employees cannot be assessed on different days. Also, postponement cannot be used when it comes to re-enrolment.

As employers can choose their own date for re-enrolment, this can be used as an opportunity to align the re-enrolment date with other important dates, such as the start of their financial year, or as a way to avoid seasonal peaks.

Step 2: Assessing Employees

The employees that must be assessed will meet one of the following criteria:

  • They opted out of the pension scheme
  • They left the pension scheme after the opt-out period
  • They are still enrolled in the pension scheme but have reduced their contributions so it is now below the total minimum level

There may be certain staff that meet the above criteria but do not need to be assessed if they fall into one of these categories:

  • They are already in a qualifying pension scheme
  • They are below the age of 22
  • They are at or over state pension age
  • They have not met the AE earnings criteria

Where employees meet the age and earnings criteria, there are certain circumstances where the employer can choose whether or not to re-enrol the employee:

  • Employees who left the automatic enrolment pension scheme within the 12 months leading up to the re-enrolment date
  • Employees who were paid a winding up lump sum in the 12 months leading up to the re-enrolment date, then left the employment and were later re-employed by the same employer
  • Employees who have either given notice or been given notice of the end of their employment
  • Employees who hold the office of director with the employer
  • Employees who are a partner in a Limited Liability Partnership which is the employer, and is not treated for income tax purposes under HMRC’s salaried member rule.

Step 3: Re-Enrol Employees

Once the employer has determined which employees are eligible for automatic re-enrolment, the next step is to re-enrol these employees into a workplace pension scheme. This must be done within six weeks of the chosen re-enrolment date. Employer and employee contributions must also be paid into the pension scheme.

Step 4: Communicate with Employees

After re-enrolling staff back into an automatic enrolment pension scheme, employers are legally obliged to write to each member of staff informing them that they have been re-enrolled into the pension scheme. The letter must explain that they have been enrolled, explain their right to opt out of the pension scheme and that detail what contributions will be paid into the scheme.

Step 5: Re-declare Compliance

The re-declaration of compliance must be completed within five months of the third anniversary of an employer’s automatic enrolment staging date. The re-enrollment date chosen by the employer does not change the re-declaration deadline.

The re-declaration of compliance is an online form that informs The Pensions Regulator that the employer has met their legal re-enrolment duties. If someone else is helping the employer with their automatic enrolment duties, it is still the employer's legal responsibility to ensure the re-declaration is completed on time and filled in correctly.

Although an employer has five months to complete this re-declaration of compliance, it is recommended that it is completed as soon as possible after the re-enrolment date.

How Software Can Help?

Re-enrolment may seem like a long process that will take up an employer’s valuable time. However, using payroll software that handles the re-enrolment process, such as BrightPay, will greatly reduce the hours required to remain compliant.

After entering the re-enrolment date in BrightPay, the software will automatically assess and flag employees for re-enrolment before the payroll is processed for the pay period. BrightPay will also generate the letters needed for employees that were re-enrolled. By automating the re-enrolment duties, BrightPay will save employers time which can be invested into other important business matters.

Why not try a free 60 day trial to test the full capability of BrightPay? Sign up for a free demo to see just how easy it is to process payroll and auto enrolment using BrightPay.

Jun 2017


Company Cars - Advisory Fuel Rates from 1st June 2017

For company cars, HMRC has issued details regarding the latest Advisory Fuel Rates. From the date of the change, 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 only change is to Petrol engine over 2000. The rates are as below:

Engine size Petrol - amount per mile LPG - amount per mile
1400cc or less 11 pence 7 pence
1401cc to 2000cc 14 pence 9 pence
Over 2000cc 21 pence 14 pence


Engine size Diesel - amount per mile
1600cc or less 9 pence
1601cc to 2000cc 11 pence
Over 2000cc 13 pence


Posted byDebbie ClarkeinEmployment Update

May 2017


BrightPay UK - Customer Update

Cyber Security – Keep your payroll data safe against Ransomware

Ransomware is when your files are held for ransom. It is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing their data until such time as a ransom is paid. Learn more about keeping your payroll data safe.

Read full article here

Managing Annual Leave – How to stave off that annual leave headache

This webinar helps employers make sense of their legal obligations regarding annual leave. Attendees will learn how employers should be calculating holiday pay, how this should be processed on BrightPay, as well as practical guidance on managing annual leave.

Register here

Windows XP Support Discontinued

The technology that BrightPay utilises has been updated and improved. As a result of this improvement, BrightPay will no longer be able to run on Windows XP operating systems. This technological enhancement brings many performance, reliability and security improvements.

Read full article here

Do you need help with your employee contracts?

Our sister product, Bright Contracts enables users to create tailored, professional contracts of employment and staff handbooks. What was once a very expensive and time-consuming process can now be done on your PC.

Request a demo / Find out more

Auto Enrolment: What matters most in 2017?

This year we will see the largest number of employers reaching their auto enrolment staging date. Over 750,000 small and micro employers will need to enrol their eligible jobholders into auto enrolment pension schemes, helping them save for their retirement.

Read full article

Have you tried BrightPay Connect?

BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud and HR add-on which offers an online self service portal for employees, automatic cloud backup, annual leave management, uploading of employee documents (including contracts and handbooks) and much more.

Book a demo / Find out more

Understanding Your Employer Auto Enrolment Ongoing Duties

Auto enrolment is not a one off job and employers need to carry out a number of tasks on an ongoing basis. Automatic enrolment is a continuing responsibility for employers. Employers must complete the following tasks in order to remain fully compliant with the law.

Read article here

Bureaus: Review BrightPay on Accounting Web

Please share your views on BrightPay and you could win a prize. AccountingWEB are offering one lucky winner a £500 Amazon voucher, and 2 runners up with Amazon vouchers worth £250. The survey takes less than 30 seconds.

Start survey here

May 2017


Using BrightPay to Create Earlier Year Updates

A Full Payment Submission (FPS) informs HMRC of payments to employees and includes deductions that have been made. This should be sent to HMRC from your payroll software on or before each payday.  The end of year deadline to send an FPS submission is the 19th April. If any amendments need to be made to an employee’s totals after this date then you are required to submit this information in the form of an Earlier Year Update (EYU).

EYUs are used to correct information submitted in the previous tax year. An EYU simply reports the adjustment made to an employee’s totals in the payroll, as opposed to reporting re-stated year to date totals for the tax year to HMRC. EYUs for each tax year can be prepared multiple times as required, without limit, and will be accepted by HMRC for a period of 6 years.

Unfortunately for employers, not all payroll software packages have the ability to create EYU files and therefore cannot easily make corrections where needed after the tax year. In addition to using their existing payroll software, many employers double their workload and use HMRC Basic PAYE Tools to create and submit an EYU. HMRC have advised that employers should only use Basic PAYE Tools to complete and submit an EYU if their payroll software does not have this facility.

It is important to note that good payroll software packages can seamlessly create an EYU and facilitate the submission to HMRC. Compared with using two separate payroll systems, it is advisable to look for payroll software that can do this for you, for example BrightPay.

With BrightPay, if a mistake is made in the payroll the user can seamlessly roll back the payroll for employees on an individual basis. Once the correction has been made and the payslip has been finalised, BrightPay will enable users to create the EYU at the click of a button. Simply select the employees for whom you have made an adjustment and submit the EYU to HMRC.

Along with easy to use RTI functionality, BrightPay also allows users to automate their auto enrolment duties and has both CIS and P11D features. Book a demo today to see just how easy it is to use BrightPay.

Read more at >

Posted byRachel HynesinPayroll SoftwareRTI

May 2017


Hiring An Apprentice:

If you are considering employing an apprentice there are some things you should know:


  • An apprentice will be aged 16 or over
  • An apprentice must be paid at least the minimum wage for their age  
  • An apprentice must work with experienced staff, learn job specific skills and study for a work based qualification during the working week
  • An apprentice must work for at least 16 hours per week and will usually work for 30 hours
  • An apprentice must be paid for time spent training or studying
  • An apprentice must be provided with the same conditions as other employees i.e. paid holiday, sick pay and any benefits such as childcare voucher schemes.


If you employ an apprentice you may be eligible for an apprenticeship grant of £1,500 if you have less than 50 employees and your apprentice is aged between 16 and 24.  

If you are providing the training you can apply for training funding to cover some or all of the training costs.  Further information is available on the HMRC website.

Employers who have an apprentice will not be required to pay employers National Insurance Contributions (NICs) on their earnings if they are under 25, earning below £45,000 and on an approved UK government apprenticeship.  National Insurance category ‘H’ is to be used for apprentices under 25 in qualifying circumstances.

Posted byCaoimhe ByrneinHMRCNICPay/WageWages

May 2017


BrightPay discontinuing Windows XP support

The technology that BrightPay utilises has been updated and improved. As a result of this improvement, BrightPay will no longer be able to run on Windows XP operating systems. This technological enhancement brings many performance, reliability and security improvements, while also opening up new possibilities for BrightPay’s development team to add further functionality. Users will not notice any obvious difference using BrightPay 2017/18 compared to previous versions as all the changes are operating in the background.

Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP in April 2014. This means that Microsoft are no longer releasing upgrades for these systems. Although Windows XP machines may still work normally, it does mean that these PCs are more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.

If you are still using Windows XP, you should consider upgrading to a newer PC or operating system. Due to the greater security risks, more and more programmes and applications are discontinuing support for Windows XP. Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported. If your Windows XP PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 8 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats.

These security threats became a reality for many Windows XP users in recent weeks with more than 200,000 organisations becoming victims of the widespread ransomware attack, WannaCry. This cyber attack affected organisations across the globe, including hospitals, banks and government agencies. The majority of these victims were using outdated or older Windows operating systems, such as Windows XP and Windows Vista.

While we do apologise for any inconvenience this change may cause, it is the best decision for our customers’ security and user experience.

Useful links:

Posted byRachel HynesinPayroll SoftwareSoftware Upgrade

May 2017


Keep your payroll data safe against Ransomware

Ransomware, like the name suggests, is when your files are held for ransom. It is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing their data until such time as a ransom is paid. The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows. If you want to decrypt them, you have to pay. If the ransom isn’t paid, the data is often lost forever.

A ransomware attack, also known as WannaCry or WeCrypt, is currently spreading across the globe and is believed to have affected over 200,000 organisations. The cyber-attack struck banks, hospitals and government agencies in more than 150 countries, exploiting known vulnerabilities in Microsoft operating systems.

How to protect against a ransomware attack?

  • Think before you click – It is important to look for malicious email messages that are often concealed as emails from companies or people you regularly interact with online. It is important to avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in those messages, since they could unleash malware. However, unlike many other malicious programs, WannaCry has the ability to move around a network by itself. Once the virus is inside an organisation, it will hunt down vulnerable machines and infect them too.
  • Keep software up to date – Users should ensure that security updates are installed on their computer as soon as they are released. Last month, the NSA revealed software vulnerabilities in a Windows Server component which allows files to spread within corporate networks. Since then, Microsoft has released software patches for the security holes. Anyone who applied this patch more than likely was not affected by WannaCry. However, not everyone has installed these updates and so these users are susceptible to an attack. It is also important to note that the vulnerability does not exist within Windows 10, but is present in all versions of Windows prior to that, dating back to Windows XP. Support for Windows XP was discontinued in 2014, and so if you are using XP it is recommended to upgrade to a more secure system. It is important to keep all software packages up to date to maximise protection against attacks.
  • Keep backups of data files – Users should regularly back up their data, which will make it possible to restore files without paying a ransom. This can be done by saving files to a USB key, external server or a cloud sharing facility such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Individual software packages may also offer a backup facility, enabling you to automatically back up sensitive data, for example BrightPay Connect allows users to easily backup payroll data.

How can BrightPay Connect help?

BrightPay Connect allows employers to automatically and securely backup payroll data to a highly secure cloud server. Payroll data (including payslips, payroll reports, auto enrolment records etc.) is automatically backed up every 15 minutes ensuring that you will never lose your payroll data if you are the victim of an attack.

You may decide that you only want to use BrightPay Connect for payroll backups, however, the features listed below can also be availed of.

With BrightPay Connect, employers can invite their employees to their own self-service portal. Employees can login to their own personal account, be it on their PC, tablet or smartphone, where they can view payroll documents relevant to them, with a full history of payslips, P60s and auto enrolment documents. Employees can also request annual leave and view annual leave remaining through their portal.

Furthermore, BrightPay Connect provides users with an annual leave management facility and a document upload facility, where all information is stored within the same location. With the document upload, employers can upload employee contracts & staff handbooks, training manuals, employment documents and much more, which can be accessed by employers and employees on any device.

Find out more about BrightPay Connect with an online demo.

Posted byRachel HynesinBrightPay CloudEmployee ContractsEmployee HandbookEmployee Self ServicePayroll Software

May 2017


Understanding Your Employer Auto Enrolment Ongoing Duties

Auto enrolment is not a one off job and employers need to carry out a number of tasks on an ongoing basis. Automatic enrolment is a continuing responsibility for employers. Employers must complete the following tasks in order to remain fully compliant with the law.

Record keeping:

Employers must continually keep records of their auto enrolment activities including names and addresses of employees they have enrolled, records of when the contributions were paid to the pension provider, opt in requests, pension scheme reference or registry numbers and information that was sent to the pension provider. These records must be kept for a period of six years. Opt out requests or notices must be kept for four years.

Ongoing employee assessment:

You must complete an employee assessment each pay period to monitor any changes to an employee's age and earnings. For example, if an employee turns 22 or their qualifying earnings increase then they may become an eligible jobholder. Payroll software should handle this automatically for you. Be aware, HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools will not cater for employee assessment. Additionally, new staff must also be assessed to see if they are eligible for enrolment.

Enrolling staff after the staging date:

All existing or new staff that become eligible will need to be enrolled into the pension scheme. As part of this, eligible jobholders will need to receive an enrolment letter informing them of how auto enrolment will affect them now that they have become eligible. These employees will have the right to opt out of the scheme within the opt out period.


Avoid Auto Enrolment Fines

Ultimately the responsibility of auto enrolment is with the employer. Employer payroll software will make auto enrolment must easier to manage these new duties on an ongoing basis. The Pensions Regulator will fine employers who fail to submit their declaration of compliance or comply with their duties. Make sure you avoid fines and fully complete all of the mandatory duties required.

Over 100,000 businesses now process their payroll through BrightPay. BrightPay is free for employers with three or less employees, £89 + VAT / per tax year for an employer licence and £229 + VAT / per tax year. Download a BrightPay 60 day trial to see just how user friendly it is.


Posted byKaren BennettinAuto EnrolmentEmployee RecordsPayroll Software