The Living Wage Week took place from 9th to 15th November 2020 and as part of this week the new living wage rates details were announced. The new rates apply to employees aged 18 years of age and older from 9th November 2020, but employers who are already part of this scheme will have six months to apply the new pay rises.
The new London Real Living Wage announced by the Living Wage Foundation, has increased by 10p from £10.75 to £10.85 per hour. This helps reflect the higher cost of living facing families in the city. The UK Living Wage rate has increased by 20p from £9.30 to £9.50, an increase of 2.1%. The Government's current national minimum wage for over 25s is £8.72, which is £78p less than this rate.
It is estimated that over 250,000 employees will be affected by the new real living wage increase. An employee working 37.5 hours per week being paid the new Living Wage rate of £9.50 will earn more than £1,500 more annually compared to an employee on the current national minimum wage for over 25s. And an employee working the same hours per week in London being paid the new Living Wage rate of £10.85 will earn more than £4,000 per year compared to an employee on the national minimum wage for over 25s.
The total number of accredited Living Wage organisations is nearly at 7,000. Over 800 employers have been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. New companies that have signed up include Capital One, Tate & Lyle and All England Lawn Tennis Club.
We are delighted to reveal that we have been shortlisted for both ICB LUCA Payroll Software of the Year 2020 and ICB LUCA Friendliest Software of the Year 2020. Having won the LUCA Award for Payroll Software of the Year last year, 2019, we are hoping to make it two years running.
The LUCA Awards are the ‘Oscars’ of the bookkeeping profession and are presented in recognition of the year’s outstanding bookkeepers and the many organisations and vendors that complement the valuable work that they do. It will be down to ICB students and members to vote and determine which payroll software provider is the best and friendliest.
Our recent BrightPay customer survey suggests some of the reasons why we have been shortlisted:
The winners will be announced as part of the 11th Annual Bookkeeping Summit, being held virtually at the awards evening on 17th November. Best of luck to all the finalists!
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was due to come to an end on 31st October 2020. However, with further COVID-19 restrictions announced, the CJRS has been extended for another month until 30th November 2020. This also means that the introduction of the Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1st November 2020, has been postponed until December.
In the ‘new normal’, employers and employees expect to access their payroll information in the cloud. Self-service online portals are changing the way businesses interact and communicate with their employees, whilst providing the cloud functionality to get things done smarter and faster. BrightPay Connect enables clients to submit employee hours, approve the payroll run, manage their employees’ leave, run payroll reports and much more.
In this guide, we look at how you can overcome payroll processing inefficiency in a crisis. Discover top tips to ensure COVID-19 does not slow down your bureau’s payroll processing and how you can respond quickly and effectively to avoid disruption in the future.
Join our payroll and HR experts in our upcoming webinar as they talk through a range of topics, including the extended CJRS, the Job Support Scheme, HMRC updates, redundancy, API integration with accounting software and safeguarding your payroll against COVID-19. Guest speakers include AccountsIQ & GoProposal. Limited places available.
As businesses look at creative ways to save jobs, many are moving to reduce their business overheads. Savvy businesses have already saved thousands by opting for a payroll provider that does not have an additional charge for auto enrolment, CIS or customer support. BrightPay is one of the most competitively priced payroll software on the market with no contract ties. Making simple changes and investing in payroll solutions with integrated cloud access can save money, improve productivity and increase profits.
Businesses are continuing to be massively impacted by COVID-19, and for many, their payroll solution may not be up to the challenge. At BrightPay, we believe that our COVID-19 response plan means that we are the perfect payroll partner to help you adapt to an ever-changing world.
Making simple changes and investing in payroll solutions with integrated cloud access can save money, improve productivity and increase profits. It is important to choose the right payroll software provider that will ensure COVID-19 does not slow down your bureau’s payroll processing.
Research different payroll software providers and compare them against what you are currently using. Choose the right payroll technology that not only streamlines your payroll processes but supports your business continuity needs.
Ask other providers what their customer satisfaction rating is, what are the hidden costs and how they are helping their customers through COVID-19.
''Complex CJRS claims, 4 weekly pay periods crossing into July, the beginning of flexible furloughing. We could be in the middle of a logistical nightmare, but thanks to @BrightPayUK our lives have been made considerably easier.’’ Lucy Stupples @autumn_ cottage – Twitter
‘‘BrightPay have made it easy for us during this difficult time. They have kept us up to date on their information hub on all matter COVID-19 related, with free webinars on CJRS matters and other resources.’’ Linda Nicholls – Trustpilot
''We have worked around the clock since COVID disrupted life as we know it to support our clients. However, it would have been a lot harder to provide that support if we didn’t use BrightPay. Well done team @ BrightPayUK.” Investment Bookkeeping @InBookkeeping – Twitter
Download the guide now: ‘Safeguard your payroll against COVID-19 and the (hidden) cons of the Job Support Scheme’
Originally introduced in March, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme & Furlough Leave has been extended beyond the original October deadline.
The Furlough scheme had been winding down over the last couple of months, with 70% government contribution to hours not worked in September and the employer paying 10%. In October the government paid 60% of the furloughed employees wages for their unworked hours, up to a maximum of £1,875, with employers contributing the remaining 20%.
The announcement made on 31st October in line with the second lockdown means that businesses can receive grants covering 80% of wages throughout November and the JSS implementation has been delayed to 1st December. The employer must pay for all the employer’s NIC and employer’s minimum workplace pension contributions on those wages and the grant will be for time not worked, up to £2,500 per month.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows all UK employers to access financial support to continue paying part of their employees' salary that would otherwise have been laid off due to the second lockdown. It prevents against layoffs and redundancies.
All UK companies are eligible: limited companies, sole traders who employee people, LLPs, partnerships and charities.
Employees who were on the employer’s payroll on 30 October 2020 will qualify to be included in CJRS claim for November; they don’t have to have been included in an earlier CJRS claim. The employee must have been paid by the employer, and that pay must have been reported on a RTI return before midnight on 30 October.
Furlough leave is available to all employees on a contract, including;
• full-time employees
• part-time employees
• employees on agency contracts
• employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
Flexible furlough will still run alongside full-time furlough, so staff may be brought back part-time to say, prepare the premises for the lifting of national restrictions, or to prepare for Christmas.
The same rules for flexible furlough will continue to apply as they have done since 1 July, so the employee may be furloughed for a couple of days or hours per week. No minimum time set for furloughed hours or working hours has been communicated.
However, each furlough claim must be for a period of at least seven consecutive calendar days.
• The employer must designate affected employees as furloughed workers.
• They should notify the employee that they have been marked as Furlough. Agreement from the employee may be required.
• HMRC must be notified of the employee designated as furloughed workers as well as details of their earnings. This is done through an online portal (not currently set up).
• HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, based on the February earnings of salaried workers, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
• Wages for those on variable hours, can be calculated based on the higher of either:
o the same month's earning from the previous year
o average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year
If the employee has been employed for less than a year, employers can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.
• Employees remain employed, their continuity of service is not impacted.
• Employer may choose to top-up the other 20% of salary. If they don’t top-up the 20% it will be a deduction in wages.
• Wages paid through the scheme are subject to the usual income tax and other deductions.
Changing the status of employees to a furloughed worker remains subject to existing employment law. Generally, where an employee’s contract contains a layoff or short term clause employers should be able to place employees on furlough leave. Where there is no such clause, it is best advised to get agreement from the employee.
Additionally, a 20% reduction in salary will be a change in terms and conditions of employment. Where employers are not topping up the government payment, they should also seek agreement from the employee.
Given the current situation and the alternatives for those employees should they not agree, one can expect that most employees will agree. That said, prudent employers will seek to get their employees agreement as part of their furlough leave process.
A BrightPay UK (Windows) upgrade has just been released to cater for the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This upgrade also removes previously released Job Support Scheme (JSS) functionality.
During COVID-19, BrightPay have been running regular webinars to keep businesses and accountants up-to-date with the latest changes and the impact on payroll processing don’t miss the latest webinar.
18th November – 10.30am
In this webinar, we look at what you need to know about the re-instated Furlough scheme and new Job Support Scheme, including which employees are eligible, the level of government funding, and how the scheme is actioned through payroll. We will also share top tips to ensure COVID-19 does not slow down payroll processing. Plus, we will explore the rise in redundancies and the new changes regarding statutory redundancy and notice pay for furloughed employees.
What you'll learn:
• What the extended CJRS means for your business
• Everything you need to know about the Job Support Scheme
• Tips for safeguarding your payroll
• How BrightPay’s Job Support Scheme Calculator & Claim Report works
• How to calculate notice pay and redundancy pay for furloughed employees
• Top tips to ensure COVID-19 does not slow down payroll processing
BrightPay and other companies were required to offer essential functions such as supporting all RTI submission types, full automatic enrolment functionality and HMRC recognised.
Digital.com’s research team conducted a 40-hour assessment of over 210 payroll software companies across the web.
Digital.com reviews and compares the best products, services, and software for running or growing a small business website or online shop. The platform collects twitter comments and uses sentiment analysis to score companies and their products.
The award comes just one year after BrightPay was announced as the winner of ‘Payroll Software of the Year’ 2019 at the ICB Luca Awards. This also follows BrightPay winning 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 for SMEs
BrightPay includes several useful payroll features and support that are very beneficial for employers:
These are just a few of the many features we have in BrightPay that can help SMEs, but there’s so much more on offer.
Don’t miss out - book a payroll 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.
Thanks again to Digital.com for the award and all our customers supporting us during this challenging period.
BrightPay is built on a technology called WPF, which is part of Microsoft’s very popular .NET Framework. For .NET development on Windows, WPF has been the first-choice framework for over a decade, and is still very much going strong.
From its beginnings, WPF has included the ability to display and interact with web-based content in a special user interface component called
WebBrowser. BrightPay uses
WebBrowser to display the “log in” web pages that are required for certain API integrations (e.g. when submitting pension contributions or posting payroll journals to certain providers).
WebBrowser has worked well, but it has one aspect that is beginning to cause problems.
WebBrowser is based on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, which has an end-of-life support date of 21 August 2021, meaning that from then on it will no longer receive security updates. Apart from that, Internet Explorer lacks support for many modern technologies, and the web development community has been cheering on its deprecation for years.
In September 2020, BrightPay customers started to notice that our integration with QuickBooks (for posting payroll journals) is no longer working – the log in process results in a blank screen. This is happening because Intuit (the creators of Quickbooks) have dropped their support for Internet Explorer – they are now using technology that is simply too modern for Internet Explorer (and therefore's BrightPay's use of
WebBrowser) to handle. In the coming months and years, one by one, many other cloud-based software providers will no doubt be doing the same.
So where does this leave BrightPay? Well, you might be aware that in 2015, Microsoft released the first version of their successor to Internet Explorer: the Edge browser. It wasn’t until 2019 that a WPF component for using Edge in Windows applications was made available. This component, called
WebView, is not perfect, however, and comes with some technological shortcomings that made us decide to not adopt it right away.
Despite the shortcomings with
WebView, when Intuit made their announcement that they would not support Internet Explorer anymore, we created a version of BrightPay that uses
WebView and began testing it internally. But not long after, Intuit revised their announcement, confirming that they would not be supporting the Edge browser either. This left us in a bit of a quandary.
Earlier this year, Microsoft released a new version of Edge, based on the same technology that powers the Google Chrome browser. Although it has the same name as the Edge browser from 2015, it is completely different (and Intuit have confirmed that the new Edge will be supported by Quickbooks). Microsoft have also since announced that they will be releasing a component to allow WPF applications to use the new Edge browser, called
WebView2, in Q4 2020. This is a much better component than
WebView, with wider support, less restrictions and improved deployment. It’s the obvious solution to our Quickbooks problem, except that at the time of writing this, it’s still not available. But it will be soon enough.
And so, our only real choice is to wait until the
WebView2 component is available. As soon as it is, we will prioritise its integration. When that's done, BrightPay customers who need to post journals to Quickbooks should no longer have any issues.
In the meantime, BrightPay version 20.6 contains the
WebView component (based on the legacy Edge browser), as we have found that despite Intuit’s claim to not support legacy Edge, it seems to still work for posting journals to Quickbooks anyway. Hopefully, it will continue to do so until
WebView2 is available.
Please note that to use
WebView in BrightPay 20.6, you (i) must have Windows 10 version 1803 or higher and (ii) you must not run BrightPay in administrator mode. Otherwise, BrightPay will fall back to using the Internet Explorer-based
WebBrowser, and the Quickbooks integration will not work. Also, to be able to support
WebView (and in preparation for supporting
WebView2), BrightPay now requires the .NET Framework version 4.7.2 or higher. If your computer does not already have this version, you will need to download and install it manually to be able to continue using BrightPay.
NOTE: BrightPay for Mac users are not affected by any of this.
Processing the payroll for your client’s employees and calculating payroll taxes accurately and on time are two of the most important tasks for payroll bureaus and accountants. That's why we have created this new webinar:
Thursday 5th November 11am
What you'll learn:
Tracking payroll figures in accounting systems is also equally important. In the past adding payroll journals was a manual process of exporting a CSV file from the payroll software, mapping the nominal codes and uploading them into AccountsIQ.
Without API integration between payroll and accounting systems, payroll journal information would need to be entered manually into the accounting system, which can result in errors and duplication of efforts. You may also need to make journal entries to fix mistakes. In order for this information to be included in financial statements efficiently, the payroll and accounting system should ideally be integrated through an API facility.
Payroll and accounting integration between BrightPay and AccountsIQ is a critical part of the payroll reporting process. BrightPay have now added an API payroll journal feature allowing users to create wage journals from finalised pay periods so that they can be added into AccountsIQ.
BrightPay produces the payroll journal in a file format that is unique to AccountsIQ allowing users to easily upload their payroll figures into their general ledger in just a few clicks.
Once you have entered your AccountsIQ login credentials, BrightPay will automatically retrieve your nominal ledger accounts so that you can easily map each payroll data item to the relevant nominal account. The nominal ledger mapping is then saved for an even speedier process going forward. The payroll journal can include records for payslips across multiple pay frequencies. Users then have the option to include individual records for each employee or merge the records for each unique date. A nominal account can be used for multiple items.
Some accounting programs come with payroll modules that are fully integrated from the outset. However, the payroll module can be expensive, outdated or/and lack basic automation features. BrightPay and AccountsIQ are multi-award winning software systems that increase efficiency, avoid duplication of efforts and reduce the possibility of manual processing errors. The accuracy and automation of this wage journal API will help to ensure that your books and your payroll journal match up. This can be a critical part of both payroll and accounting.
Webinar: Payroll in the Connect Era: How integration has transformed the world of payroll
To find out more about how you could benefit from the BrightPay and AccountsIQ integration register for the webinar now.
Thursday 5th November - 11am
In today’s technology-driven world, how well a business performs – whether it succeeds or fails – is increasingly dependent on how well it connects applications and integrates systems. That’s why BrightPay and AccountsIQ have teamed up, making it easier to keep your payroll and accounting systems aligned. Join BrightPay & AccountsIQ on Thursday 5th November to discover how you can streamline your payroll and accounting processes. Register today.
Before diving into the positives and negatives of the new Job Support Scheme I want to recap on what it is.
The new Job Support Scheme was announced by the government in September, and it'is designed to top up the wages of employees unable to work full-time because of coronavirus restrictions over the winter. Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Businesses will continue to pay their employees for time worked, but the burden of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.
The scheme was originally set to open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until April 2021. However, the start of a second England-wide lockdown has prompted the Government to extend the original furlough scheme until December – pushing back the start date for the Job Support Scheme.
This scheme is designed to protect jobs where businesses are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus. 9.6 million employees are still on furlough leave across the UK, with the scheme still supporting 1.2 million businesses. This new scheme could help mitigate the impact of the end of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ending on 31st October.
Employers can receive up to £697.92 per month wage top up of eligible employees unable to work full-time because of coronavirus restrictions over the winter.
An unexpected silver lining to the scheme is that employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers who have availed of the CJRS for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021.
It’s far less generous than the current Job Retention Scheme - The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month compared to the initial £2,500 plus associated Employers’ National Insurance and pension contribution under the Job Retention Scheme placing a greater responsibility on the employer to fund employment costs. In fact, under the scheme the government never pays more than 22% of the employees' overall salary.
The employer ends up paying more in wages than the hours they get in return - The percentage cost to the employer far outweighs the percentage of productive hours provided by that employee to the business and a stark reality is that it costs more than 50% more to employ several people working 40% of the time compared to fewer people working full time.
Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee. Therefore, employers face the dilemma now of assessing demand for the forthcoming months for their business and making decisions about the number of employees required.
Job Support Scheme payments will be made monthly in arrears commencing in December, reimbursing the employer for the government’s contribution. The grant will not cover employer NICs or pension contributions, but these contributions will remain payable by the employer. This means that the overall cost of employment for employers is higher than simply their contribution to employee salaries.
Sadly, it does not appear that the Job Support Scheme will avoid a rise of redundancies over the coming months as employers seek to manage their cashflows to survive the winter months. Join our latest webinar to find out more about the New Job Support Scheme and whether it’s right for your organisation.
In this webinar, we look at what you need to know about the new Job Support Scheme, including which employees are eligible, the level of government funding, and how the scheme is actioned through payroll. We will also explore the rise in redundancies and the new changes regarding statutory redundancy and notice pay for furloughed employees.
What you'll learn:
Note: the new Job Support Scheme that was due to commence on 1 November 2020. However, the start of a second England-wide lockdown has prompted the Government to extend the existing furlough scheme until December – pushing back the start date for the Job Support Scheme
What’s in store for employers over the coming months as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends? Join us for a free webinar where we examine key concerns:
At BrightPay, we take customer satisfaction very seriously. We regularly carry out customer surveys to make sure our customers are satisfied with their BrightPay experience. These surveys provide invaluable information regarding what our customers want and need, and what we need to work on moving forward. We’ve compiled the results of our latest survey and we wanted to share them with you.
In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will need to pay employer NI contributions and employer pension contributions plus 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total, up to a cap of £2,500. After 31st October, the government contributions will finish, and the scheme will come to an end. The new Job Support Scheme will start in November to top up the wages of employees unable to work full-time because of coronavirus restrictions over the winter.
Together with FreeAgent, we’ve built a meaningful API integration to make payroll refreshingly easy while keeping your accounting simple. BrightPay produces the payroll journal in a file format that is unique to FreeAgent. Users can easily upload their payroll figures into their general ledger from within BrightPay using the FreeAgent API facility.
With the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme fast approaching, more employers are having to consider the issue of redundancies. New regulations which came into effect on 31 July 2020 have changed the way in which statutory redundancy and notice pay must be calculated in respect of employees who have been furloughed. If a worker loses their job and is entitled to redundancy pay, this should be calculated based on their pre-furlough wages. Firms cannot use the money from furlough to subsidise redundancy packages.