Jan 2021

6

New financial support announced for businesses to survive lockdown

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m Bill Murray in Groundhog Day - stuck in an endless purgatory of the same day repeating itself over and over again with no escape. Yes it’s another day, another lockdown and it feels never-ending. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (in which case, is there room for one more?) you’ll know that England is now in a strict national lockdown until mid-February. That means that all non-essential business, schools and universities need to close and we all have to stay at home.

What does this mean for businesses and employees now who are once again affected by this absolute fiasco? Well, it seems it’s business as usual if you will pardon the pun, as not much has changed. However, Rishi Sunk did unveil “more financial support” for businesses affected by the lockdown measures yesterday morning (note my use of inverted commas). Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will now be able to apply for one-off grants of up to £9,000 per property.
On top of these one-off £9k grants, a further £594m discretionary fund will be made available via local authorities and devolved administrations to support other businesses outside of these sectors who have also been affected by the lockdown.

There are already existing support packages in place though. These include grants of up to £3,000 for closed businesses, 100% business rates relief for hospitality, leisure and retail, and of course, everyone’s good ol’ pal furlough. While Rishi has been very quiet on further furlough support, the current scheme is due to run until the end of April as it is so this seems the government are still optimistic that we will be out of the woods by then with the rollout of the mass vaccination programme. Remember, you can apply for furlough at any time, even if you have never claimed under the scheme before.

Along with furlough, other notable absentees from Rishi’s measures included extending the business rates holiday (which ends in April), VAT cut, or an increase in statutory sick pay, despite calls from business leaders for such moves. Even with the new £4.6bn support package, is it enough?

With Englands’s lockdown due to be reviewed on February 15th and Scotland’s at the end of January we now enter another period of stasis. We can only hope that this really is the last time we have to endure this and hope that all the hard work that has gone into keeping businesses afloat and employees on the payroll over the past 10 months has not been in vain. Stay tuned for more updates over the coming weeks. And with that, I’m off to bake my seventy-sixth loaf of banana bread and have a cry into the tea towel.

 

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinCoronavirus


Dec 2020

18

Add some sparkle to Christmas with the perfect cloud solution

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘cloud’ will vary from person to person. Some will think of the weather as they look, grumbling, out their front window. But others will be thinking about all that extra storage on their iPhone. The meaning of the word has changed in recent times and most of us will now think the latter. But what about those who haven’t a notion what you’re on about? What is the cloud?

The cloud is a general term for any computing service that involves hosting over the internet to deliver computing services in lieu of a hard drive. Services such as storage, payroll and HR information. The other key feature is that you can access these services or information anytime, anywhere from any device that is connected to the internet. In fact, you’re already using cloud services if you use social media, Google Drive and Dropbox to name but a few. And now the cloud has become a must-have for any business who wishes to keep up with the times.

I can hear some of you now: “It sounds great, but my employees would never use something like that”. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. A recent survey found that 48% of people believe technological advances will change the face of the workplace and a massive 87% of those said they would be happy to adapt to technological changes if the right tools were given to them. Wow! So how do I know which cloud platform to choose for my business?

I’m glad you asked! Our experts got together for a brainstorming session and found that there are four key things to look out for when choosing the right cloud platform for your business - cost, compliance, simplicity and connection. 

  • Cost - Your upfront costs should be minimised – using the cloud shouldn’t be an expensive luxury reserved for big corporations. Make sure it provides the option of having multiple users so you can delegate and give access to various people to manage payroll tasks and HR requests on your behalf.
  • Compliance - Make sure it takes into account your obligations as an employer with regards to things like the GDPR legislation, record keeping requirements and automatic enrolment duties. A good platform will have compliance built-in as standard and will manage it seamlessly.  
  • Simplicity - The most important thing to increase the uptake of a cloud platform is to make sure it is user-friendly and reduces the chance of human error. Look out for simplistic interfaces and whether or not training and support are available. The best of the best will offer this support for free. You should also be able to get set up and ready to go with minimal disruption to your business.
  • Connection - Make sure it offers features that are attractive to employees such as a downloadable app, a self-service portal and company-wide communication features. Because at the end of the day, your employees won’t give a damn about how excited you might be about something unless it works for them too. These features tie in with our ever-increasing digitally-minded workforce and will make them feel more in control and engaged.

So, there you have it… off you go now! Good luck scouring through the internet trying to find the perfect cloud platform. But…., well, ....it is Christmas after all and I’m feeling generous. Ah, what the heck, I’ll just let you in on a secret which is the best cloud payroll platform for businesses out there: our very own BrightPay Connect.

BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay’s award-winning payroll software and ticks literally every single box I just mentioned over the course of this post. I’ve done enough talking so instead let me show you. Book a demo today to find out why BrightPay Connect is the perfect fit for your business.

 

Merry Christmas everyone! Don’t say I didn’t get you anything!

 

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinBrightPay CloudEmployee Self ServicePayroll Software


Dec 2020

11

Furlough and holiday during the Christmas period

Can you believe there are only two more Saturdays until Christmas?! I for one am in full on festive mode. My tree is up, the baubles strategically placed on top and out of my cat’s reach, and I’ve been blasting my ‘Xmas Hits’ playlist at full volume throughout my apartment, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering partner. It feels like a well deserved holiday at the end of a very crap year and even more well deserved time off.

But this Christmas has posed a new problem for the world of payroll - what happens with furloughed employees, especially as many would normally take Christmas and New Year’s as annual leave? Can they be furloughed for this period?

Where a bank holiday (namely Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) falls inside an employee’s period of furlough and that employee would have normally worked this bank holiday anyway, then their furlough will be unaffected. However, if the employee would normally have taken these days as part of their annual leave then you, as the employer, have two options:

a) They can take the bank holiday as leave - If the employee does take the bank holiday as annual leave whilst on furlough then holiday pay must be paid instead.

b) They defer the bank holiday - if the employee doesn’t take the bank holiday as annual leave then this must be deferred as the employee will still be entitled to these days as leave. So they can take them at a later date.

So what happens with holiday leave during furlough then? Furloughed employees still continue to accrue annual leave entitlement as per employment law. Employees can agree to vary their holiday entitlement with their employers as part of their furlough agreement but workers are still entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of statutory paid annual leave each year. This is non-negotiable.

Employees can still take holidays whilst on furlough though if they are being flexibly furloughed then any hours they take as holiday during the claim period should be counted as furloughed hours and not working hours. You should not place employees on furlough just because they’re going to be on paid leave or because you usually do less business over the festive period. (However, if you expect your business to be shut down completely or to be severely affected over the 2 week period due to the pandemic then you can of course still claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme).

A nice succinct summary of this I read online reads as follows:
“If you were going to furlough [employees] anyway then there is nothing to stop you doing it whilst they are on (pre-booked) holiday, or forcing them to take holiday (provided you give them adequate notice). If, however, you are 'furloughing' them because they've booked a couple of weeks off, then you are abusing the system and do not have a valid claim.”

This does mean that you will have to pay the employee’s holiday pay at the normal rate of pay and will be required to pay employees who are on holiday additional amounts over the grant to make up their usual holiday pay. If an employee usually works bank holidays then you can agree that this is included in the grant payment.

Whew! So a lot to digest but I hope that helps to clear things up a little bit. But as always, if in doubt please check the full guidance on the HMRC website. And once that’s all sorted, get your tinsel headdress on, pop open the mulled wine and start looking forward to the coming festivities!

 

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinAnnual LeaveGDPRPayroll Software


Dec 2020

4

BrightPay win COVID Hero Award

I’ve been called a hero a couple of times in my life. There was that time at uni when I whipped out a bottle of Apple Sourz at an afterparty. Or there was the time when I saved a baby bird from being eaten by my dog. But none of these times hold a candle to how good it feels to be part of the team at BrightPay Payroll Software who have won the COVID Hero Supplier Award at the Accounting Software Excellence Awards 2020.

Sure, it would have been great to do a clean sweep and win all the awards going, (we were nominated for 3 in total) but this one has a special place in our hearts as we have put so much into making sure our customers have felt supported during what has surely been one of the toughest periods of time in living memory. So to be not only recognised for our efforts but awarded for them, well - let’s just say *gulp* sorry I just need a moment I have something in my eye.

There were a number of criteria that were considered by the panel for this award. Judging took into account the speed, time and relevance of businesses’ COVID-19 response and how many customers accessed it. They were looking for businesses that really went the extra mile and thought outside the box to make their customers feel supported, whilst also managing to reflect their brand values.

As BrightPay’s core brand value is to provide outstanding payroll software with amazing customer support at affordable pricing, the fact that we managed to maintain this during the pandemic and up our ante to match the ever-changing needs of our clients AND be awarded for it is very special indeed.

Speaking at the Accounting Excellence Awards, host extraordinaire Mike Goldsmith said “the judges saw that BrightPay went above and beyond to support their clientbase and payroll professionals at a time when they were under pressure with furlough claims and interpreting guidance. BrightPay did this through a coordinated strategy that went beyond product enhancement. Their success in this was evidenced by high customer satisfaction and impressive reach with their support material.”. Brb, off to print this off on t-shirts for all the staff.

So thank you to all our customers as, without you, we really would be nothing! This will be an extra reason to celebrate at our virtual Christmas party this weekend (any excuse for an extra glass of bubbly!).

Related articles:

Payroll & COVID-19: Growth and profit opportunities
Free Webinar: Extended Furlough Scheme Explained
Why are BrightPay the perfect payroll partner during challenging times?

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinAwardsCoronavirus


Jul 2020

9

Chancellor announces furlough bonus scheme and more in Summer Statement

“Stand by workers and we’ll stand by you”

Whilst working from home, my daily TV schedule consists of tons of Judge Judy, border patrol programmes and Can’t Pay Take It Away (great show). But yesterday, like many others, I was glued to the live stream from the House of Commons as Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a plethora of announcements that are aimed at stimulating the festering sore that is the UK economy after a global pandemic and nationwide lockdown.

And let me tell you, it’s a lot. Rishi has clearly been listening and a lot of his rhetoric and policy announced in the Summer Statement addressed those whose jobs and futures have been affected the most, in particular young people (16-24) and the hospitality sector. Unemployment rates and redundancies are on the rise with the tapering off of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and these measures are to try and help employees stay in work and help employers to enable them to do so, with the Chancellor stating: “stand by workers and we’ll stand by you”.

So what’s been announced? While there was an abundance of big news, such as the temporary writing off of stamp duty under £500,000 and a £2bn “green homes grants” to make more homes energy efficient, in this blog I will focus mainly on the points that apply to employees and employers.

  • The first major announcement, following on from the Job Retention Scheme which was a lifeline for millions of people in the UK, the next phase is the Job Retention Bonus Scheme. This bonus of £1,000 will be given to an employer for each member of staff they bring back from furlough. To stop people taking the mick and chancing their arm, the employee must be employed from once they’re taken back to at least January 2021 of next year. The employee must also be earning at least £535 per month for this period.
  • A kickstart scheme was then unveiled with the aim to, you guessed it, kickstart job creation for young people as under 25s are 2.5 times more likely to suffer job loss as a result of Covid-19. The government has pledged £2bn to fund hundreds of thousands of jobs for 16-25 year olds whereby they will pay the wages of new, young employees for 6 months. There is no cap on the number of young people that can be hired under this scheme.
  • To boost apprenticeships, which have a 91% successful retention rate, businesses who create positions for new apprentices will be given a bonus of £2,000 for each apprentice under the age of 25 and £1,500 for those over 25. The bonus scheme is available for employees who apply between August 2020 and January 2021.
  • Work coach numbers positions in Job Centres will be doubled and guidance counsellor positions will be boosted also with the aim of helping people find jobs.
  • To help the hospitality sector, a temporary cut to VAT on food, accommodation and attractions has been announced that cuts VAT from 20% to 5%.
  • The Chancellor also announced the introduction of “eat out to help out” vouchers that give diners 50% off their meals out from Mondays to Wednesday with a maximum discount of £10 per person for the month of August only.

So there you have it. While these measures are most welcome and certainly very creative (Rishi gets an A for effort) there are still major concerns not being addressed and it feels a little like putting a plaster on an arrow wound as the economy slowly bleeds out. We need this sort of energy not just now, but for the next couple of years as we come to terms with all of this.

So personally, I will take my butt to a half-price meal and enjoy every bite whilst I silently reserve judgement on it all and wait to see what happens.

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinCoronavirus


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


Dec 2019

20

All I want for Christmas is the perfect cloud platform

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘cloud’ will vary from person to person. Some will think of the weather as they look, grumbling, out their front window. But others will be thinking about all that extra storage on their iPhone. See, the meaning of the word has changed in recent times and most of us will now think the latter. But what about those who haven’t a notion what you’re on about? What is the cloud?

The cloud is a general term for any computing service that involves hosting over the internet to deliver computing services in lieu of a hard drive. Services such as storage, payroll and HR information. The other key feature is that you can access these services or information anytime, anywhere from any device that is connected to the internet. In fact, you’re already using cloud services if you use social media, Google Drive and Dropbox to name but a few. And now the cloud has become a must-have for any business who wishes to keep up with the times.

I can hear some of you now: “it sounds great but my employees would never use something like that”. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. A recent survey found that 48% of people believe technological advances will change the face of the workplace and a whopping 87% of those said they would be happy to adapt to technological changes if the right tools were given to them. Wow! So how do I know which cloud platform to choose for my business?

I’m glad you asked! Our experts got together for a brainstorming session and found that there are four key things to look out for when choosing the right cloud platform for your business - cost, compliance, simplicity and connection.

  • Cost - Your upfront costs should be minimised - it shouldn’t be an expensive luxury reserved for big corporations. Make sure it provides the option of having multiple users so you can delegate and give access to various people to manage payroll tasks and HR requests on your behalf.

  • Compliance - Make sure it takes into account your obligations as an employer with regards to things like the GDPR legislation, record keeping requirements and automatic enrolment duties. A good platform will have compliance built-in as standard and will manage it seamlessly.

  • Simplicity - The most important thing to increase uptake of a cloud platform is to make sure it is user-friendly and reduces the chance of human error. Look out for simplistic interfaces and whether or not training and support is available. The best of the best will offer this for free. You should also be able to get set up and ready to go with minimal disruption to your business.

  • Connection - Make sure it offers features that are attractive to employees such as a downloadable app, a self-service portal and company-wide messaging features. Because at the end of the day, your employees won’t give a damn about how excited you might be about it unless it works for them too. These features tie in with our ever-increasing digitally-minded workforce and will make them feel more in control and engaged.

So there you have it… off you go now! Good luck scouring through the internet trying to find the perfect cloud platform. But….., well, ...it is Christmas after all and I’m feeling generous. Ah what the heck, I’ll just let you in on a secret which is the best cloud platform for businesses out there: our very own BrightPay Connect.

BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay’s award-winning payroll software and ticks literally every single box I just mentioned over the course of this post. I’ve done enough talking so instead let me show you. Book a demo today to find out if BrightPay Connect is the perfect fit for your business.

Merry Christmas everyone! Don’t say I didn’t get you anything!

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinBrightPay CloudEmployee Self Service


Jul 2019

4

Top Payroll Trends in 2019

The CIPP unveiled their latest “Future of Payroll Report” (2019) for the second year running and surprisingly, it’s not a total snoozefest! The foreword by CEO Ken Pullar is a tour de force of future forward-thinking, extolling the virtues of embracing change and moving with the times in an ever changing industry. He acknowledges that whilst payroll software and technology makes things easier, the number of enquiries does not decrease and payroll departments need to be on the ball to be in a position to answer these queries effectively.

This brings me to what I feel is the most interesting part of the report - “Key Issues Facing Your Payroll Department”. The report itself was made possible by feedback so this snazzy little section has its finger on the proverbial pulse and is super useful to anyone whose bread and butter is payroll.

Surprisingly, Brexit is nowhere to be seen which makes a nice change! Instead, coming in at Number 1 with 38.50% of queries is “GDPR and Data Protection”. It just goes to show how much of a quagmire this thing still is for people. You can find a very interesting article here that may clear a few things up. In any case, your payroll processes should be GDPR compliant and if you still don’t know how to achieve this, then simply outsource it to a payroll provider who will do the hard work for you. And if you are the payroll provider, then making sure your staff are up to scratch is half the battle.

Coming in just behind GDPR is “Automatic Enrolment” with 32.50%. Yes, the same automatic enrolment that began to be rolled out back in 2012 and is by no means a new government initiative. While auto enrolment has been a huge success, enabling hundreds of pensioners to finally be able to afford that trip to Benidorm, it seems that confusion is still rife. The report makes some interesting conjecture about why this is - Is it the sheer number of employers who are hitting their automatic re-enrolment date for the first time? Is it the ins and outs, the complexity behind understanding the scheme in layman’s terms? or is it simply that payroll software is not doing enough to help the soldiers on the frontline? With more phasing imminent perhaps employers aren't aware of their obligations? Who knows? Well, you - you should know! So it’s time to brush up because it’s clear that auto enrolment queries aren’t going anywhere.

“Holiday Pay Calculations” come in at a close third (31.75%), maybe because of the changes to payslips, the rise of the gig economy coupled with some landmark Employment Tribunal rulings, businesses are getting their ducks in a row. Next is “Expenses and Benefits” (29.50%) which is likely due to the increase in employers moving to payrolling benefits and away from the traditional method of submitting P11D forms to HMRC after year end.

Next on the list is “Automation of Business Processes” which will be music to payroll software provider’s ears. Companies are always looking for ways to streamline processes and make things more efficient. It is unsurprising that this is a huge issue for people moving into 2019 with the introduction of so many new employment and payroll changes such as phasing and changes to payslips to name but a few.

The last two topics on the list are “Gender Pay Reporting”, which is slightly up from last year (24%) and still obviously a very important issue, and finally - “Implementing a New System”, (21%) which is really just the not-as-attractive cousin of “Automation of Business Processes” which we’ve already discussed.

So there you have it! A lot of information to stick in your pipe and smoke. If you recognise yourself among these statistics, or if you’ve thought “same” whilst reading any of this, then check out BrightPay's award-winning payroll software. It is fully GDPR and auto-enrolment compliant, automates all of the most confusing payroll and HR processes including holiday pay, expenses and benefits and offers incredible customer support. They are at the forefront of payroll software and will take the pain out of your payroll.

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinPayroll Software


Jun 2019

18

Payroll Implications of Brexit

If you have eyes and ears then you will have heard something about Brexit lately as the deadline looms ever closer. Britain is currently like a cat that waits at the door crying to be let out but once the door is open, decides it doesn’t want to leave anymore. But never mind all these bigwigs in Westminster saying how this will affect that and so on; today I want to talk about what Brexit means for the unsung heroes of HR, in particular, payroll. How will leaving the EU affect their everyday work life? Well, there are a few key areas to note:

Data Protection - I mean, obviously. This has been pretty much every payroll department’s waking nightmare for the past year since GDPR was introduced. If you have been a good little payroll bureau then you will have all your ducks in a row. But even still, once we leave the EU, it’s up to the European Commission (EC) whether it grants the UK an ‘Adequacy Decision’ to transfer data around the region as the country will no longer be an EU member. So all going to plan it should be ok. But we all know that nothing has gone to plan so far, so in the event we weren’t given an Adequacy Decision, transferring data could become administratively burdensome for employers, especially global ones who rely on data exchanges across borders.

Payment processing - Money’s great isn’t it? Especially when someone puts it conveniently into your bank account. Do you know who loves money? Payroll. It’s their whole world! And what makes it easy to move money to all its lovely employees is being a member of the Single Euro Payments Area or SEPA. This is a body made up of EU member states (and a few non-EU ones too) that streamlines the sending and receiving of payments across SEPA regions meaning that payments are processed in the same way as UK payments. Therefore, continued membership of SEPA is of paramount importance to payroll providers and something they’ll be keeping an eye on.

Employment law - Payroll is made up of tons of HR stuff like holiday pay and maternity pay etc. And where we get the rulebook on these processes is from EU directives on employment law. Although these laws have been great, freedom from EU Directives means that the British government could decide to revisit some laws and make some reforms where necessary. Or maybe not! Who knows. Britain may want to maintain their obsequious stance to the EU to make life easier but it is still an interesting point.

Anything else? How you deal with EU staff (which you can read more about here). Social security payments made in Member states could see a big shift. Along with this, payroll functions that operate across more than one country with, say, expatriate staff could be in for a wild ride. But the most startling obvious thing at the moment is that nothing is really clear at all and none of us can predict what will come out of the woodwork.

The best way to safeguard your payroll against all this uncertainty is to make sure all your HR processes are in place and your payroll software is up-to-date and ready for changes).

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinPayroll


May 2019

24

Happy Birthday GDPR!

Guys, if you’re anything like me then you’ve been counting down the days, been kept awake with excitement thinking of what to wear and how hard you’ll party for what seems like forever. Yes, that’s right folks, on May 25th of this year our beloved GDPR turns 1 year old! *dries eyes* - they grow up so fast.

We all know that GDPR has been a resounding success but we also know that, like all 1 year olds, there's been some teething problems. So let’s take a look back through our photo album of the past year and see how our little trooper has fared over its first year.

Let’s start with the reason GDPR is in our lives - data breaches. How’s it been doing with those? Well, this is probably the most successful part of GDPR’s short life. Prior to GDPR, there was no single breach notification regulation for the EU. Instead, it was compiled of lots of different interpretations of the 1995 Data Protection Directive (which GDPR replaced) meaning it was a kind of Wild West of data and sensitive information. Then GDPR came sauntering in to bring law and order to a lawless wasteland and created a unified framework for all breach notifications.

A data breach is when personal data for which a company is responsible is accidentally or unlawfully disclosed. If this happens, under GDPR, companies are obliged to report the data breach to their national DPA within 72 hours. The number of these reported in the last year is a whopping 41,502. Crikey! Looks like GDPR is really whipping people into shape!

To add to that, there has been an eye-watering 95,180 complaints made since the introduction of GDPR - a complaint being from those who believe that their rights under GDPR had been violated. The most common types of complaints (no surprises) were concerning telemarketing and promotional emails.

So what’s been happening as a result of these complaints and breaches then? Well, this is where our golden child’s report card slips from an “A+” to a “B - could be better, gets distracted easily” because although the number of breaches reported has been incredible, the total penalties imposed under the statute added up to €55,955,871. Which sounds really impressive until you remember that a single €50 million fine levied against Google in January accounts for nearly 90% of that sum. The vast majority of companies are still not being penalised at all for data breaches or are being fined so insignificantly that frankly, my dear, they don't give a damn.

So as we dry our eyes and close the photo album of the first year of GDPR’s existence, we can let out a big sigh and know that GDPR is the little regulation that is doing its best and making us all proud as punch. Now let’s all join together in singing a big ol’ Happy Birthday - and don’t worry, I received consent from all present, purchased the rights to the song and accepted cookies on all our behalves so no chance of the feds swooping in mid-song.

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinGDPRGeneral Data Protection Regulation