Oct 2017


Further Changes to Student Loans from 6th April 2018

The Government has announced a change to the Plan 2 repayment threshold for Student Loan borrowers. The threshold that will come into effect from 6th April 2018 will be £25,000, a £4,000 increase from the current threshold of £21,000. 

It has previously been confirmed by the Student Loans Company that the student loan repayment threshold will rise to £18,330 for Student Loan Plan 1, taking effect from 6th April 2018. Student Loan Plan 1 is for pre-2012 loans.

The Plan 2 repayment threshold of £21,000 was to be fixed until the year 2021, but this has been changed following an announcement made by the Prime Minister about changes to the student finance system.
Summary of the Student Plan thresholds:

  • Plan 1 loans will increase by £555 from the current threshold of £17,775 to £18,330 in 2018-19.
  • Plan 2 loans will increase by £4,000 from the current threshold of £21,000 to £25,000 in 2018-19

This figure will apply to all current and future borrowers for whom employers make Student Loan deductions. In BrightPay 2018-19, the new student loan repayment thresholds for both plans will automatically be calculated and the appropriate student loan deduction applied.


Posted byDebbie ClarkeinEmployee Records

Oct 2017


Does Automatic Enrolment apply to you?

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is ensuring that all employers fulfil their auto enrolment duties required by the Pensions Act 2008. It is essential that all employers understand that if they employ just one person, they have certain legal duties for automatic enrolment. After the 1st October 2017, new employers who employ their first member of staff will have to comply with auto enrolment from the day the new employee starts.

So what do you do?

  1. If you already have an employee(s) and they commenced work with you before 2nd April 2017 you should find out what your duties are by using TPR’s duties checker. There are also video tutorials online to help with understanding how to process Automatic Enrolment (AE) in our payroll software BrightPay.

  2. If you’ve employed new staff between 2nd April 2017 and 30th September 2017 you can find out when your AE duties commence by clicking here.

  3. If you’re employing a new member of staff after 1st October 2017, you need to prepare early and find out what you need to do. Watch a replay of a recent webinar where we discuss New Employers and their Auto Enrolment Duties to assist with your preparations.

  4. When your duties start you must assess your employees to see if they meet the earnings and age conditions. If your employee needs to be put into a pension scheme, you need to carry out certain auto enrolment tasks to meet your legal duties. If you find that your employees are not eligible to be put in a pension scheme, you are still required to notify your staff that they have a right to join or opt in to a pension scheme and you must still complete your declaration of compliance.

  5. All employers have ongoing AE duties regardless of whether they have employees in a pension scheme or not. Every time you process your payroll, you are required to assess your staff’s earnings and age to see if they need to be placed in a pension scheme and if so, calculate how much you need to pay into this scheme. You must also manage requests to join or leave the pension scheme.

  6. As an employer, you need to think about what costs are involved with your legal duties. Alternative payroll software providers have AE as an additional charge to your payroll costs. HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools does not provide assessment of your employees or automatically enrol your employees into a pension scheme. With BrightPay, AE is included in our payroll software at no additional cost and provides a pre-assessment tool to get an overview of what AE will look like before an employer reaches their staging date.



Posted byLorraine McEvoyinAuto Enrolment

Oct 2017


Customer Update: October 2017

“What do you mean….Do I have a backup”? - A day in the life of Customer Support

One of the most common calls I get on the support line is from a distressed customer who tells me they have lost their payroll information. Reasons for the loss of this information are varied and could be anything from a laptop being stolen, a virus attacking the computer, holding files to ransom or fire or water damage to the computers in the office.

Read full article

What does GDPR mean for your Payroll Bureau? (Bureaus only)

Data protection and how personal data is managed is changing forever. On 25 May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force. The GDPR is a European privacy regulation replacing all existing data protection regulations. Register now for our free, CPD accredited webinar to find out how this new legislation will affect your payroll bureau.

Register for CPD webinar

Why is everyone switching to BrightPay?

We recently conducted a customer survey where we asked our customers just what they thought of BrightPay. The good news is, our customer satisfaction rate has improved from 99.1% (2016) to 99.8% (2017). We also received a number of testimonials from our customers.

Read testimonials

Have you seen BrightPay Connect in action?

BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud and HR add-on which offers an employee online self service, automatic cloud backup, annual leave management and more. We are offering BrightPay bureau customers one free BrightPay Connect 2017/18 licence.

Claim your free licence here | Book a demo

Auto Enrolment: New Employers, Phasing & Re-enrolment (Bureaus only)

What does the future hold for automatic enrolment (AE)? Over the next year we will see payroll bureaus dealing with new challenges when it comes to AE compliance. Watch our webinar on demand where we  discuss the future of automatic enrolment. Guest Speaker: Henry Tapper from the Pension PlayPen joins us.

Watch on demand

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.

Book a demo | Find out more




Posted byRachel HynesinCustomer Update

Oct 2017


5 simple scenarios to stop pension scams

A pension scam – when someone tries to con you out of your pension money – will often start by someone contacting you unexpectedly with one of many pension scenarios. If you find yourself in one of these scenarios make sure to act fast to prevent becoming a victim of a pension scam.

1. You have received a cold call offering a free pension review.

Hang up! Scammers will often impersonate government-backed organisations in order to swindle you out of your savings. These organisations will never offer you a free pension review.

2. You have been offered advice about your pension.

Pension scammers can act as Financial Advisors. Be sure to check the FCA list of approved advisors. If the advisor is not on that list then they are not regulated and you are not protected.

3. You have been told you need to act fast to secure a ‘limited time offer’.

Don’t be rushed into making a decision about your pension. Scammers will try to rush you, offering ‘discounts’ that are likely to be time sensitive. Take the time you need to ensure the legitimacy of the deal. This may mean ‘missing out’ but could be the difference between keeping your pension fund secure and losing all your savings.

4. Your friend has recommended an investment to you.

You might trust that your friend is financially wise but this confidence in your friend can translate to you being scammed. Always do your research on a company. Don’t take someone else's word!

5. You have been offered an unbelievable deal.

Be cautious of unregulated investments that offer exclusive or exotic sounding investments, often described as ‘overseas’. Many of these investments claim ‘guaranteed returns’. If you think something sounds too good to be true - it probably is.



Posted byCailin ReillyinAuto Enrolment

Oct 2017


The Benefits of BrightPay Connect for Employers

BrightPay Connect offers an employee self-service portal that provides employees with online access to their personal records and payroll details. Having a self-service portal in place directly benefits all employees, from line managers and HR to employees across an organisation. Here we take a look at the key features of BrightPay Connect and how having an online portal benefits the employer.

Features of BrightPay Connect for Employers:

  1. The employer dashboard gives an overview of employer details, any outstanding amounts due to HMRC, upcoming calendar events (e.g. annual leave, paternity leave) and a list of notifications, including any outstanding requests that employees have made using the self-service portal.
  2. The online portal allows employers to go paperless by uploading all HR documents including employee contracts and handbooks, disciplinary documents, company newsletters and training material to one secure online location.
  3. Going paperless allows digital access to payslips and other payroll documentation such as P60s and P45s. These will be automatically available to employees on their BrightPay Connect online portal.
  4. Employers can easily manage all leave for their employees including annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave and paternity leave through BrightPay Connect. The employee calendar allows employers to view the number of annual leave days remaining for each employee and how frequently an employee is on sick leave. Once an employee requests annual leave, employers can authorise or reject the request with changes syncing back to BrightPay payroll.
  5. BrightPay Connect enables employers to tailor user access, thus protecting sensitive HR information and employees’ privacy.

Benefits of BrightPay Connect for Employees:

The employee self-service portal will save both employers and employees time. The online dashboard enables employees to complete HR related tasks such as requesting leave, updating their personal contact details and viewing online documentation. Employers can then approve requests at the click of a button. This will reduce the administrative time for the employer and the employee, increasing payroll efficiency.

Once an employer has processed their payroll through BrightPay, payslips can be made available on BrightPay Connect instantly, with automated email notifications sent to each employee. This is cost effective for the employer and also saves time printing and distributing payslips. Employees can easily access their historic payslips at any time, which saves time if the employee needs six months of statements to apply for a loan or mortgage.

Employers can notify employees of policy changes, available training courses or any other important company announcements by uploading HR documents. This improves internal communication between managers and employees. Employers can also view who has received and viewed these updates and who hasn’t.

Watch our new BrightPay Connect video to see how our online add-on can improve your payroll processing.



Book a BrightPay Connect demo today.




Posted byLauren ConwayinEmployee HandbookEmployee Self ServiceEmployment ContractPayroll Software

Oct 2017


Does your business need BrightPay Connect's Employee Self-Service Portal?

What is BrightPay Connect's Self-Service Portal?

BrightPay Connect offers an employee self-service portal that provides employees with online access to their personal records and payroll details. Employees have secure access to their own personal, password protected, self-service portal from any computer, tablet or smartphone.

BrightPay Connect allows employees to make changes to their own personal contact information including their address, contact phone number, emergency contact details and more. Employees also have the ability to complete administrative tasks, such as applying for leave, viewing leave taken and remaining leave.

Additionally, employees are able to view and retrieve their historic payslips and other payroll documents such as their P60, P45 or P11d, all of which can be exported to PDF and printed. Employers can upload HR documents including an employee handbook, company newsletters and training materials, all of which can be available to employees on the self-service portal.

Benefits of BrightPay Connect

BrightPay Connect offers significant time-saving benefits for employers who want an easy-to-use payroll and HR software package. Benefits of the self-service portal for the employer and employee include:

  • Enables employees to complete HR related tasks such as requesting leave or updating their personal contact details. This will reduce the administrative time for the employer and the employee increasing payroll efficiency.
  • Employees have full visibility of how much leave has been taken and how much leave is remaining.
  • Employers can easily approve or deny annual leave requests directly through their online portal with changes syncing back to BrightPay payroll, simplifying HR processing.
  • The employee calendar clearly shows which employees are on annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, etc. This will allow employers to easily manage staff leave requests and rotas.
  • Reduces the distributing time to send paper or email payslips with the accessibility of e-payslips automatically available on BrightPay Connect.
  • Employees can access their historic payslips at any time, eliminating employee requests for payslips for mortgage applications or loan approvals.
  • Internal company newsletters can be uploaded to the self-service portal, improving internal communication between managers and employees.

Find out more about the Employee Self-Service feature on BrightPay Connect with an online demo.

Posted byLauren ConwayinAnnual LeaveEmployee HandbookEmployee RecordsEmployee Self Service

Oct 2017


Brexit - There’s an elephant in the room!

Brexit is becoming the “elephant in the room” for many companies waiting for government updates and its implications on how the new deal will work out. Many HR and payroll professionals are no doubt anticipating how such a huge shift in the political scene will change existing legislation.

However, while it’s easy to get distracted by how Brexit will change the current HR and payroll landscape in the future, there are more current, pressing concerns at hand.

Remember these key Legislative Compliance Payroll Updates:

Data Protection Changes

It is now confirmed that the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect all UK companies. Businesses will need to start future-proofing their procedures and policies before the data protection changes come into effect in May 2018.

Non-compliance by businesses could lead to fines of up to £20 million or 4% of a company’s annual global turnover in the prior year. Bringing your company’s policies in line with the approaching changes will ensure a smoother transition and avoid any penalties for non-compliance.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

If a business, either private or voluntary, has more than 250 employees it needs to be aware of legislative changes regarding gender pay gap reporting. The new law came into effect on 5th April, 2017 with employers required to publish their first report on 5th April, 2018 relating to their data from 2016/17. The results must be published on the employer’s website and a government website. Failing to do so will result in enforcement proceedings.

You can find more information on what the EU is doing regarding Gender Pay Gap Reporting by clicking here.

Pay Rate Changes

New rates for the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage came into effect April 2017. The Living Wage rose to £7.50 for employees aged 25 or over and who are not in their first year of apprenticeship. The National Minimum Wage rose to £7.05 for employees aged between 21 and 24, it increased to £5.60 for those between the ages of 18 and 20 and lastly, it increased to £4.05 for 16 to 17 years old.

Statutory Maternity/Paternity/Adoption Pay has risen to £140.98 per week. It is a company’s payroll department that have the responsibility of ensuring the above increases have already taken place since their implementation dates last April.

Overseas Workers

Last April, salary thresholds for foreign employees increased. The Tier 2 (general) salary increased to £25,000 for experienced workers and Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) rose to £30,000. There was also a reduction to £23,000 for graduate trainees with the number of places rising to 20 a year for each company.

Changes to the immigration rules means that businesses who sponsor foreign employees on a Tier 2 (general) visa now must pay a skills charge of £1,000 per employee. For companies with less than 250 employees, the charge is £364. Both charges are on top of normal visa application fees.

Case against Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

A recent judgement by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) confirms that payment for normal voluntary overtime must be included in the calculation of workers holiday pay.

Be Prepared, Be Proactive

Payroll Managers should be proactive and aware of the above current legislation. Key changes are on the way once Brexit finally arrives but it is so important to keep an eye on developments and focus on current issues at hand, making allowances for existing legislative changes.

Posted byLorraine McEvoyinEmployment Update