As of the 8th of April 2014 Microsoft will cease support of the Windows XP OS (Operating System). Originally launched in 2001 it has been Microsoft’s most successful operating system. They tried to convince people to upgrade to Windows Vista in 2005 but many had upgraded to XP service pack 2 around the same time so didn’t want to incur extra cost or the hassle of having to change their OS.
What does support ending mean?
It means there will be no more upgrades. Patch Tuesday (the day of the week Microsoft release their updates and patches) will be no more. It means that XP machines will no longer receive security patches, meaning they will face greater risks of targeted hacking attacks.
It also means that when companies such as Thesaurus Software and banks update the security certificates (which are renewed every few years) for their websites, XP users will not receive these new patches from Microsoft. Therefore, when users visit these sites they will get security warnings, or could be blocked by their computer altogether.
When should you upgrade?
Like with windows 95, 98 and 2000, your existing programs will continue to work as normal, your computer will not suddenly stop working just because Microsoft stops supporting it! However as technology moves on XP will become eventually obsolete. Couple that with the fact that as a machine gets older it inevitably slows down and becomes less reliable. So while there is no major rush to go out and buy new machines a plan should be put in place to upgrade your systems in the near future.
Will my payroll program still work on XP?
Both Thesaurus Payroll Manager and BrightPay will continue to work on XP and they will continue to work for the foreseeable future. We at Thesaurus will continue to support our programs and assist customers who use XP. However as Thesaurus and other companies update their digital certificates some XP users may experience difficulties using certain aspects of the program (Creating bank files, upgrades etc).
With the introduction of RTI the year end procedure for 13/14 is a simple process. You will no longer need to send a P35 instead a “Final submission” needs to be sent to HMRC.
1. Complete your payroll for the year, sending your FPS files as normal on or before your pay date, this would need to be done for all pay frequencies you run. You will not be asked when doing these final FPS files that this is your “final submission”, instead we have designed it so you can send you final submission as an EPS.
2. Before you final submission is sent be sure to send an EPS for statutory payments recovered (if applicable)
3. The final submission you need to send in the tax year is an EPS file. To create the EPS final submission click the “New” button in the RTI section and select EPS. From the options select “Final Submission” and tick the relevant box e.g if you have p11s to submit etc.
4. Finally your P60s need to be printed and given to your employees.
A recent judgment has bent the rules under the Working Time Regulations and moved the UK closer to EU law
Calculating the correct amount of holiday pay owed to an employee under the Working Time Regulations 1998 has historically proven to be a tricky task for employers. The regulations require employers to identify an employee’s ‘normal working hours’ and a ‘week’s pay’ when calculating holiday pay and specifically say that non-contractual hours of work should be ignored. In practice, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.
A 2011 case, Williams v British Airways, shed some light on the situation. The European court held the regulations should be interpreted in the spirit of European working time law and that holiday pay should be calculated with reference to both basic pay and any other pay “intrinsically linked” to the work, such as overtime. Now those principles have been tested for the first time in the case Neal v Freightliner 
Neal worked a 35-hour week at Freightliner’s depot in Birmingham. His contract required him to work 7-hour shifts, and also stated that he may have to work overtime when necessary. His shifts and working hours were determined by a roster system. He regularly worked up to nine hours each day and occasionally up to 12 hours to cover for his colleagues. He received enhanced pay premiums when working over and above his contractual seven hours a day. Neal believed he had to work the significant hours set out in the rosters and felt his holiday pay should reflect the actual pay he received rather than his basic salary alone.
The employment tribunal, applying the Williams case, highlighted that the Working Time Regulations do not adequately implement European law on working time. The tribunal held that hours worked by Neal over and above his contractual seven hours were “intrinsically linked” to his performance of his role, and it was irrelevant whether the overtime was voluntary or not.
It rejected the employer’s argument that workers might be encouraged to undertake paid overtime to manipulate the level of their holiday pay, concluding that, in practice, employers control the levels of overtime offered and accepted by their staff.
Neal had been underpaid in respect of his holiday pay entitlement and the parties arranged an out of court settlement.
This decision could be tested by the higher courts but, for the time being, any paid overtime (whether voluntary or not) should now be considered alongside other premiums in employers’ holiday pay calculations. In effect, these calculations are moving towards being based on workers’ average earnings in the 12 weeks leading up to their holiday.
Employers should review their overtime arrangements to ensure they have sufficient control over them, and can avoid abuse and manipulation of holiday pay. As an added complication, this decision relates to the four weeks’ holiday pay that workers are entitled to under European law. It does not apply to the additional 1.6 weeks’ holiday that workers receive under UK law. So it seems likely that the judgment will be appealed to clear up the confusion and avoid a situation where there are different rules for different weeks of a worker’s holiday. As always, if in doubt, employers should seek legal advice when calculating holiday pay to avoid receiving a costly and time-intensive tribunal claim.