Our support lines are extremely busy as a result of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme being administered through payroll. Our Covid-19 Resources Documentation will generally answer your query

Also, please note that our support staff are working from home and may answer your call in a sometimes chaotic home environment. We appreciate your patience.


Jul 2020

2

Customer Update: July 2020

Welcome to BrightPay's July update. Our most important news this month include:


Changes to the CJRS & Furloughing Employees

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been hugely popular and will continue to support jobs until the end of October. However, from 1st July, there will be many changes to the scheme. Here we've put together a summary of some of the key points in relation to flexible furlough, phasing out of the scheme and changes to making a claim.


Employees returning from statutory leave after 10 June 2020

From 1st July 2020, employers will only be able to claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks any time between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020. An exception to this is where an employee is returning from statutory parental leave after 10th June 2020 and meets the qualifying criteria to be furloughed for the first time.


CJRS calculations have changed in BrightPay from version 20.5 onwards

For many of our customers, this calculation change will not make a difference. But those who pay in lieu (e.g. a July pay date for June payroll), or those for whom an already submitted claim period ending 30 June did not actually cover all of June's earnings, will need to check and ensure that all reclaimable amounts are accounted for and submitted to HMRC prior to making July claims.


COVID-19 Webinar - Did you miss it? Watch on-demand now

During our most recent webinar, we looked at upcoming changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We also examined five principles that employers should be following to protect employees as they come back to work. Don't miss out - watch it back anytime.

 

Posted byRachel HynesinCustomer Update


Jul 2020

1

CJRS calculations have changed in BrightPay from version 20.5 onwards

When guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was first published in April 2020, HMRC did not provide comprehensive instructions on how to calculate the amounts for every scenario. Like other software providers, we were left to make certain assumptions with very little time for development.

One such scenario for which no official guidance was initially provided by HMRC was the handling of pay reference periods that are only partly encapsulated by a CJRS claim period (e.g. the week ending 3 May in a claim for 1–31 May).

BrightPay's initial handling of this scenario was to ignore the pay reference period start and end dates, and work solely from the pay date, i.e. if a pay date was encapsulated by a claim period, then BrightPay would include the full amount in the claim, regardless of whether the pay reference period start and end dates were fully or partially within the claim period. This reasoning is consistent with other payroll calculations (e.g. that for average weekly earnings for statutory pay), and was deemed adequate by HMRC in our communications with them.

Later, HMRC published new guidance on how to handle part pay reference periods that involved apportioning the pay by the number of encapsulated days in a claim period. For example, if an employee was paid £500 for the week ending 3 May, then the new guidance stated that only £500 ÷ 7 × 3 (£214.29) should be accounted for in a claim for 1–31 May (with the other 4 days in a previous claim).

At first, there was no urgency to update BrightPay, as claim period dates were flexible anyway, and as long as claim period dates were selected that aligned with the pay reference period dates (including the pay date), everything worked out.

But from July 2020, things are changing again.

From July 2020 onwards, to support flexible furlough, HMRC require that claim dates are strictly within a single calendar month. And so to meet this new obligation, we have had no choice but to change the CJRS calculation in BrightPay 20.5 to work the updated way, splitting pay reference periods where required and apportioning them by the number of days, regardless of pay date. (BrightPay 20.5 also supports flexible furlough, as well as the updated rules and rates for August, September and October.)

For many of our customers, this calculation change will not make a difference. But those who pay in lieu (e.g. a July pay date for June payroll), or those for whom an already submitted claim period ending 30 June did not actually cover all of June's earnings, will need to check and ensure that all reclaimable amounts are accounted for and submitted to HMRC prior to making July claims. Going forward, depending on the pay schedule and CJRS claim dates, it may also be necessary to finalise pay periods further in advance of when they would normally be finalised, to ensure that amounts from the beginning of such periods are picked up in a CJRS claim.


Jun 2020

30

CJRS 2.0 - What you need to know

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been hugely popular and, according to recent statistics, over 1.1 million employers had furloughed employees in 9.2 million jobs and claimed more than £23 billion in grants. The CJRS scheme will continue to support jobs until the end of October, however, from 1st July, there will be many changes to the scheme. Here we've put together a summary of some of the key points to note.

Flexible Furlough

To date, employees that were placed on furlough could not undertake work for you. Originally, the scheme was only for employees who were not working, and while on furlough, an employee could not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation. However, from 1st July, employers will be able to bring furloughed workers back to work on a part-time basis while still being able to claim under the CJRS for hours not worked.

  • The government will continue to pay 80% of furloughed employees wages for any normal hours they do not work, up until the end of August, but the employer will have to pay employees for the hours they do work, e.g. if a furloughed worker returns to work for two days per week, they would need to be paid as normal by their employer for these two days, while the government would cover the other three days.
  • From 1st July, employers will only be able to claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks any time between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020. An exception to this is where an employee is returning from statutory parental leave after 10th June 2020 and meets the qualifying criteria to be furloughed for the first time.
  • Employers will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, and so employees can work as much or as little as the business needs, with no minimum time that they can furlough staff for.
  • If employees are unable to return to work, or employers do not have work for them to do, they can remain fully furloughed and the employer can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Furlough Scheme Wind-Down

From August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month. Employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff, and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.

  • In August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500, but employers will be required to pay employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions. For the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed. 
  • For September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will need to pay employer NI contributions and employer pension contributions plus 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total, up to a cap of £2,500.
  • 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.

Making a Claim

In line with the above changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, there are also changes to the way employers need to make a claim.

  • Employers will have until 31‌‌st July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30‌‌th June. Claims for periods after 30th June can only be made from 1st July.
  • Claim periods starting on or after 1st July 2020 must start and end within the same calendar month. Therefore, pay periods which span two calendar months must be broken down into two separate claims. This is to accommodate the fact that the scheme is changing from month to month.
  • It is possible to make more than one claim in each month, but each claim must be for a minimum period of at least 7 days. The only exception to this is if you are claiming for the first few days or the last few days in a month, known as 'orphan days'. In this instance, a claim period can be shorter than 7 days.
  • The number of employees you can claim for in any claim period from 1st July 2020 cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for in any single claim before 30th June 2020. An exception to this is where an employee is returning from statutory parental leave after 10th June.
  • When claiming for employees who are flexibly furloughed, employers are required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked. Therefore, you should not claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours they will have worked during the claim period.

Interested in finding out more about the new changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? Watch our webinar on-demand where we discuss flexible furlough, the wind-down of the scheme and changes to making a CJRS claim.

Posted byRachel HynesinCoronavirus


Jun 2020

4

The Road to COVID-19 Recovery - Return to Work Safety Policies

Join us on 11th June for a free COVID-19 webinar

This webinar will examine key facts & updated guidance on COVID-19 payroll impacts. Understand what the lockdown easing will mean for your business as you reopen and what COVID-19 safety policies you need to introduce.


Part 1: Important COVID-19 Payroll Updates

In recent months, HMRC have introduced COVID-19 Government schemes to help keep paying employees with a number of important updates being rolled out. The government has announced the first steps to ease the coronavirus restrictions with a roadmap in place for lockdown measures to be slowly lifted. Understand how to adapt your payroll processes to accommodate for the schemes and subsequent updates.

Agenda

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - A Quick Recap
  • How BrightPay’s CJRS Claim Report works
  • COVID-19 Related Statutory Sick Pay & The SSP Rebate Scheme
  • Managing Annual Leave during COVID-19

Part 2: Return to Work Safely Protocol

The UK government has set out a roadmap for lifting further restrictions and opening more businesses and venues, but this plan is dependent on successfully controlling the spread of the virus. Employers should stay safe in public spaces and workplaces by following 'COVID-19 secure' guidelines.

With the emergence from lockdown becoming clearer, businesses will need to start to put plans and COVID-19 policies in place for their employees to go back to the workplace safely. It is advisable for all workplaces to adapt their workplace HR policies, procedures and practices to comply with the COVID-19 related safety guidelines.


Unable to attend?

If you are unable to attend the webinar at the specified time, simply register for the webinar anyway and we will send you the recording afterwards. You can also click here to view more webinar dates.

Posted byRachel HynesinCoronavirus


Jun 2020

3

Advisory Fuel Rates updated from 1st June 2020

HMRC has issued details regarding the latest Advisory Fuel Rates for company cars. From the 1st June 2020 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   10 pence   6 pence
1401cc to 2000cc   12 pence   8 pence
Over 2000cc   17 pence   11 pence

 

Engine size       Diesel - amount per mile
1600cc or less   8 pence
1601cc to 2000cc   9 pence
Over 2000cc   12 pence


For fully electric cars the Advisory Electricity Rate is 4 pence per mile. But electricity is not a fuel for car fuel benefit purposes.

Click here to see all details per HMRC

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinPayroll


May 2020

27

Customer Update: June 2020

Welcome to BrightPay's June update. Our most important news this month include:


Free Webinar: Important COVID-19 Payroll Updates & Return to Work Safety Policies

The government has announced the first steps to ease the coronavirus restrictions with a roadmap in place for lockdown measures to be slowly lifted. Understand how to adapt your payroll processes to accommodate for the schemes and subsequent updates.


Claim Guidance for Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Claim

Employers will need to make a claim for any COVID-19 related SSP they wish to reclaim through HMRC's Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme online service. This online service is now available to use and can be accessed here. A Claim Report is available in BrightPay to assist users in ascertaining the amounts needed for input into HMRC's Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme online service.


Furlough Scheme available until 31st of October

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has advised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be available for employers for furloughed employees until the end of October 2020 and will introduce a new flexibility option under the scheme from August. This will apply to all regions and sectors in the UK economy.


Return to Work Safety Policies

With the emergence from lockdown becoming clearer, businesses will need to start to put plans and COVID-19 policies in place for their employees to go back to the workplace safely. It is advisable for all workplaces to adapt their workplace HR policies, procedures and practices to comply with the COVID-19 related safety guidelines.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Claim Report in BrightPay

BrightPay includes a new CJRS Claim Report. This report can be used to ascertain the amounts needed for input into HMRC's online service, including the gross furlough amount, employer National Insurance contributions, employer minimum pension contributions and total claim amount. For employers with over 100 employees, you also have the option to export the report to a CSV file, ready for import into HMRC's portal.


Posted byKaren BennettinCustomer Update


May 2020

25

How to Choose the Right Payroll Software for Your Accountancy Practice

It can be challenging to settle on the right payroll software for your business when there is so much to choose from. Here are some key points we feel must be considered when looking for excellent payroll software:

  • Batch processing - For an accountancy firm, batch processing is a must. The time-saving involved in running payroll procedures in a batch cannot be understated. 
  • Pricing - Pricing is a crucial factor to consider. The price doesn't have to be "cheap", but it should certainly be reflective of the value of the product. If it's also affordable on top of that, bonus. 
  • Delegating work - What if your payroll software allowed your employees to log in directly to it and request things like annual leave, or to access their payroll data? And what if employees could access a "self-service" section of the payroll software where they could download their payslips? The more your payroll software can delegate work, the more time you'll have on your hands. And time is money.
  • Auto-enrollment - Under the new pension laws, finding a pension scheme that matches all the required criteria can be challenging. Great payroll software should facilitate this procedure, integrating with NEST to provide easy auto-enrolment into qualifying pension schemes. 
  • Connects to accounting software - Your payroll software should connect to your cloud accounting software such as QuickBooks, FreeAgent, Xero and others. This way, the payroll journal is reflected in your accounts. 
  • Excellent support - Excellent support could be said to be the make or break of high-grade payroll software. Too many software companies have come onto the scene blazing, only to fail because their support was not good enough. Support should be handled by knowledgeable people who understand the product and can also communicate clearly with potentially frustrated clients. 
  • Secure - Security of payroll data is crucial to stay in compliance with data privacy laws. Saving payroll data on the cloud might be "convenient", but it also means that anybody with access to your password can access all your staff's personal data. The choice between cloud-based software and desktop software is always won hands-down by desktop software. 
  • Recognition - The HMRC should recognise the payroll software. Failing to use HMRC-recognised software might lead to you having to run the payroll entirely manually! There are strict rules for running payroll, and plenty to remember. If the HMRC has not recognised a payroll software, be wary. 
  • AwardsAwards are not vital when choosing payroll software, but they certainly make the choice sweeter! Awards from external bodies show that the software company has achieved standards higher than its peers, and that these standards have been independently verified. The more prestigious the award, and the more often it has been won, the better chances you have that the software will deliver more than what you need. Awards also prove that the team behind the software knows what it's doing. 
  • Always getting better - The best payroll software should get better every year. This not only adds value to your business but also inspires confidence in the company behind it. It shows that the product is continuously being worked on, that it is not stagnant. If the product is continually improving, your ROI as far as that software goes will also improve.

Written by Guest Blogger: Pearl Chartered Accountants


May 2020

21

Unemployment set to skyrocket despite the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If you had told me six months ago that a global pandemic would force us into lockdown, everyone would be working from home, people stopped hugging each other and that the government would be paying 80% of our wages I would have laughed at you and demanded a big gulp of whatever you were drinking. But, as the media likes to drive home every chance they get, these are unprecedented times that we are living in.

The uncertainty has been one of the most overarching aspects of the current crisis and, although everyone seems to be doing their best (especially HMRC with the CJRS) what if our best is simply not good enough?

Rishi Sunak announced last week that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended to October and that soon employees’ wages would be shared between the government and the employers. And while this was welcome news, it now turns out that this particular concession won’t be effective until August, whereas the rest of Europe are already sharing furlough with their respective governments.

The CJRS has been a very noble attempt to support the economy and has ensured that millions of UK citizens aren’t without a wage and that businesses stay afloat. But the sheer length of the current crisis and the damage it is doing to millions of businesses just simply may not be sustainable. Employees are required to completely remove themselves from work thus ceasing all activity and production. And with part-time work not allowed until August, this is another nail in the coffin for many job prospects and people’s job security.

Already unemployment is set to increase up to 9% and that is with the CJRS in its current form. There are also mutterings that those covered by the furlough scheme will, from August, need to have 40% of their wages covered by the employers or else support will be discontinued. But in August, it is most likely that social distancing measures will still be in full effect plus current travel restrictions and guidelines. How can a restaurant or theatre support 40% of their staff wages if they can only operate at 25% capacity? Never mind the blow businesses will suffer as people simply might not be ready to go out and socialise. Being allowed to go for a pint and actually doing it are two different things altogether.

On top of this, there are lots of issues surrounding manufacturing jobs with limited productivity and disrupted supply chains. There is also concern for employees who are able to work but may not wish to do so for health reasons. These people and jobs are all part of a growing number that are being revealed as vulnerable to being made redundant.

I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom; rather, we need to be pragmatic and realise that, despite not being at crazy levels of unemployment like other countries, we are nowhere near done and the measures currently in place will not sustain the workforce that existed pre-coronavirus. A second wave of unemployment seems to be imminent despite the government’s “best” efforts. Something needs to be done soon to address these concerns and protect not just the economy, but the people of the UK.

COVID-19 & Payroll

Interested in finding out more about COVID-19 and Payroll? Visit BrightPay's COVID-19 Resources Hub for the latest updates on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, HMRC’s Claim Portal, COVID-19 Related SSP and much more.

BrightPay's COVID-19 Hub COVID-19 & Payroll Webinar

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinCoronavirus


May 2020

19

Claim Guidance for Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Claim

HMRC has released further information for employers who are planning to submit a claim under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. HMRC have confirmed that the coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch online on 26 May.

Where employers are registered for PAYE Online and they have a Government Gateway User ID, the employer will require this for their claim. If the employer is not enrolled for PAYE Online, they will need to enroll now. If an employer has an agent that is authorised to operate PAYE Online for their client, the agent can claim under this scheme on behalf of the employer.

Employers will need the following for the claim:

  • Employer PAYE reference
  • Contact name or number
  • Bank account details – sort code and account number
  • The total amount of Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus related) that has been paid to employees in the claim period
  • Dates for the Statutory Sick Leave period – start and end dates
  • The number of employees being claimed for

The employer must keep records for the statutory sick payments they wish to claim from HMRC, to include:

  • The National insurance number for each employee being claimed for
  • Start and end dates for the period of sick leave an employee was off sick
  • The reason why the employee could not work
  • Details of the qualifying dates in the period the employee could not work

Claims for multiple employees and multiple pay periods can be submitted by an employer at the one time. The start date of the claim period will be the earliest pay period the employer is submitting the claim for and the end date of the claim being the most recent pay period on the claim. HMRC has advised that employers must keep the records for the SSP paid and claimed under this scheme for three years after the date they receive the payment from HMRC.

The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) Regulations 2020 legislation to provide for eligible employers to reclaim some, or all, of their Statutory Sick Pay has been presented before Parliament to take effect from 26 May 2020.

Regulations have also been laid in Northern Ireland – ‘The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinCoronavirus


May 2020

13

Furlough Scheme to be available until 31st of October

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has advised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be available for employers for furloughed employees until the end of October 2020 and will introduce a new flexibility option under the scheme from August. This will apply to all regions and sectors in the UK economy.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was introduced for four months from 1st March by the government because of the coronavirus pandemic in order to give financial support to businesses and employees. Under this scheme all employers, regardless of size or business sector, can claim from HMRC a payment for 80% of the wage costs for employees that were furloughed up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee. If the employer can afford to top up the additional 20% of the employee’s wages they can pay the employee the additional amount if they wish.

There were suggestions that the furlough amount reclaimable would drop to 60% but it was confirmed the scheme would remain at 80% of the wage costs for employees that were furloughed, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. An option of flexibility for the CJRS will be introduced in August that furloughed employees will be able to return to work on a part time basis where the employer will be asked to pay a percentage of the employees’ wage costs. This will only be available for employers that are already using the furlough scheme. This new flexibility will help with businesses reopening and help boost the economy. More details will be available by the end of May.

The government intends to explore options for furloughed employees that wish to partake in training or learning new skills in the furlough period and will work in conjunction with the Devolved Administrations to ensure people across the Union are supported.

Chancellor Sunak advised that 7.5 million employees have so far been furloughed by employers, which is approximately 29% of the workforce in the UK. There are 935,000 employers availing of the CJRS and so far over £10 billion has been claimed by employers using this scheme.

COVID-19 & Payroll Webinar

Interested in finding out more about COVID-19 and Payroll? Join BrightPay for our free webinars where we discuss the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Furlough Leave, HMRC’s Claim Portal and COVID-19 Related SSP. Places are limited - click here to book your place now.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinCoronavirus