Nov 2020


New Real Living Wage Rates Announced

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.

An upgrade to BrightPay payroll software has now been released catering for the new Living Wage rates. For information about the Living Wage Foundation visit the Living Wage Foundation website here.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinPay/Wage

Sep 2020


Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme allows an employer or group of employers to create new placements for young people and can apply for funding from the scheme. The people who are currently receiving Universal Credit and are in danger of long-term unemployment can be placed in these 6-month job placements. The jobs placements will allow the participants to gain experience and skills that will assist them in finding employment when they have completed the scheme.

Under the Kickstart Scheme funding for 25 hours per week for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage category in addition to Employer National Insurance contributions and Employer automatic enrolment pension minimum contributions is available per participant. Funding of £1,500 for setup, support and training costs per placement is available too. This scheme is available to employers in England, Scotland and Wales.

In order to apply for funding under this scheme an employer must have a minimum of 30 job placements. If an employer cannot offer the 30 job placements, they can become partners with other employers in order to reach the minimum number of placements required. Other organisations could include similar employers, registered charities, local authorities and trade bodies. Information about applying for a grant as a group of employers can be found here.

A company, regardless of their size, can apply for funding under the Kickstart Scheme. The job placements created by employers under this scheme have to be for new jobs and cannot be to replace existing or planned jobs or result in any existing employee or contractor to lose or reduce their employment.

The job placements must be:

  • A minimum of 25 hours per week for a 6-month duration 
  • Paid at least the National Minimum Wage for the person’s age category 
  • Not need the participant to undergo lengthy training in order to undertake the job placement 

Every application ought to include how the employer will aid the participants grow their skills and experience. Development options to be supplied by the organisations include providing support to the participants to seek long-term work and support with CV and interview preparation and assisting participants with basic functions such as timekeeping, attendance and teamwork.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinPayroll

Aug 2020


Thresholds to rise for Student Loan repayment from 6th April 2021

The Department of Education have announced the new student loan thresholds that will apply from 6th April 2021.

The repayment threshold for Student Loan Plan 1 will increase by 3% and the repayment threshold for Student Loan Plan 2 will increase by 2.7%. 

The repayment threshold for the Postgraduate loans will remain the same. 

For any loans before 2012, Plan 1 Loans will apply and for loans after 2012 Plan 2 Loans will apply.

Earnings above the thresholds for both Plan 1 and Plan 2 for 2021/22 will be calculated as normal at 9%. The rate of the postgraduate loan type introduced in the 2019/20 tax year will continue to be calculated at 6%. 

Summary of the Student Plan thresholds: 

  • Plan 1 loans will increase from the current threshold of £19,390 to £19,895 in 2021/22. 
  • Plan 2 loans will increase from the current threshold of £26,575 to £27,295 in 2021/22. 
  • Postgraduate loans will not change and remain at the current threshold of £21,000. 

A Student Loan Type 4 will come into effect from 6th April 2021 for students who have taken a loan out in Scotland. The First Minister has committed to the student loan repayment threshold which will rise to £25,000 in Scotland from April 2021.

In BrightPay 2021/22, the new student loan repayment thresholds for both plans will automatically be calculated by the payroll software and the appropriate student loan deduction applied.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinPayroll Software

Jul 2020


Connect – Calendar Updates

The calendar functionality in BrightPay Connect has been updated and improved, making it more user friendly and graphically appealing for both employers and employees. Improvements such as calendar and leave view, custom leave types and requesting leave are part of the new enhancements.

Calendar Display

The number of months displayed on the calendar for both employers and employees can be selected, the options available are 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. This can be selected under the Settings tab in the Employer portal, further details can be found here.

On the Employer or Employee Calendar in Connect the calendar can be displayed for one month or multiple months. One month view can be seen by selecting the '1 Month View' option. The view can be returned to the default number of months view by selecting ‘3 / 6 / 9 / 12 Month View’. On the ‘1 Month View’ there are new widgets for scrolling up and down through the number of leave entries on a particular date.

Dates with multiple types of events are dotted with the relevant colours. To see the breakdown, simply hover your mouse over the date. By selecting a date on the calendar a dialog box will open to show all the entries on that date without having to scroll.

Custom Leave Types

Custom leave types are now available in BrightPay Connect. In BrightPay 2020/21 you can define nine additional custom leave types for employees. Six of the custom leave types are set up with default descriptions such as time in lieu and study leave. Instructions on how to add, edit or remove these custom leave types can be found here.

When a custom leave type is entered on the employee’s calendar in BrightPay and synchronised to Connect the leave type will be displayed on the calendar for both the employer and the employee to view on their online portal or mobile app. Custom leave can only be entered on an employee’s calendar by a user in Connect or on the employee’s calendar in the BrightPay employer file. Employees cannot request any custom leave types.

Adding/Requesting Leave

When employers are adding leave on an employee’s calendar in Connect or an employee is requesting leave, they are now entered as date ranges simplifying leave dates being selected. If the employer or an employee enter in an invalid date range (e.g. including non-working days in the date range) it will automatically correct this and only working days will be included in the request.

Interested in finding out more about how BrightPay Connect can streamline your leave management processes? Book an online demo of BrightPay Connect today. 

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinAnnual LeaveBrightPay Cloud

Jul 2020


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Updates

Employers need to submit claims on HMRC’s CJRS online portal for any furlough payments under the CJRS that relate to periods ending on or before 30th June by 31st July 2020. You will no longer be able to submit a claim for the period up to 30th June after 31st July.

The CJRS was originally introduced by the government from 1st March in response to the coronavirus pandemic in order to give financial support to businesses and employees. Under this scheme all employers, regardless of size or business sector, could 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.

From 1st July 2020 employees that were previously furloughed can be brought back to work on a part time basis by their employers once an agreement is reached between the employer and the employee. Employers will still be able to claim under the CJRS for hours that are not worked by the employee. The new grant claim will be based on hours not worked by the employee and the normal hours an employee would usually work.

HMRC has also updated their guidance to confirm employers can claim amounts paid to an employee who is serving their statutory or contractual notice period up to the claim limit of 80% of their pay up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. However, grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments.

HMRC plan on introducing a method through the tax system to recover grant amounts overclaimed by employers under the CJRS. Repaying overclaimed grant amounts back will reduce or prevent any potential tax liability under that legislation. Tax liabilities may be due on any overclaim amounts. Further details will follow.

Interested in finding out more? Join BrightPay for a free webinar where we explore the key changes in relation to flexible furlough, phasing out of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and changes to making a claim. Places are limited - click here to book your place now.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinCoronavirus

Jul 2020


The End of Earlier Year Updates

From the end of this tax year, an Earlier Year Update (EYU) will no longer be accepted by HMRC as a valid RTI submission to report changes to employees’ pay details for tax year ending 5th April 2021. HMRC had originally planned to abolish the Earlier Year Update for tax year 2019-20 and onwards.

An Additional Full Payment Submission must be submitted instead to report the correct year to date figures for an employee to HMRC.

For tax years up to and including 2017-18, any amendments must be reported to HMRC via an EYU submission only. For 2018-19 and 2019-20, a correction submission can be made using either an Earlier Year Update or an Additional Full Payment Submission to report changes to HMRC.

For tax years 2018-19 and 2019-20, in order to avoid any issues with employers trying to use both options, BrightPay decided to only cater for amendments using the Additional Full Payment Submission option. An Additional Full Payment Submission will report the correct year to date details for employees to HMRC, rather than amendments that the Earlier Year Update would report.

To make corrections in BrightPay, you need to re-open the payslips for the employee in BrightPay, make the necessary changes and finalise the payslips to the last pay period again.

To subsequently create an Additional Full Payment Submission for submission to HMRC, follow our simple instructions here.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinReal time informationRTI

Jun 2020


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


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


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

Apr 2020


Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme Updates

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme was introduced to repay employers the current amount of Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees on or after 13th March 2020 for periods of sickness. The amount an employer can claim is for up to 2 weeks sick leave for an employee that cannot work due to the following:

  • Have coronavirus
  • Are self-isolating at home
  • Due to public health guidance the employee is shielding

Only the current rate of SSP can be claimed, even if the employer pays the employee more than the current rate of SSP. Employers do not have to have doctor’s fit note from their employees for this claim. An employer’s claim amount cannot be more than the maximum of €800,000 of state aid in accordance with the EU Commission temporary framework. This is when included with other aid obtained under this framework. There is a lower maximum for the aquaculture and fisheries sector of €120,000 and the agriculture sector of €100,000. Unfortunately at present, the online service with HMRC is not available yet in order to claim the COVID-19 Related Statutory Sick Pay. HMRC will announce when this service will be available.

Conditions an employer must meet in order to be eligible to claim under this scheme are:

  • An employer has less than 250 employees on 28th February 2020
  • An employer has a PAYE scheme that was set up and commenced on or before 28th February 2020
  • The employees they are claiming for were on sick leave due to coronavirus

If employers or charities are connected, once they have in total less than 250 employees on or before 28th February, they can avail of this scheme. All employees such as full-time and part-time employees, employees on zero-hour or flexible contracts or employees with agency contracts are covered under this scheme.

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

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

Join BrightPay for a free COVID-19 webinar where we discuss what you need to know about remote working, processing SSP, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and placing employees on furlough leave. 

Places are limited - Click here to book your place now.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinCoronavirus