Post lockdown, as restrictions lifted across the UK, many of us returned to the office for the first time in over a year. And while it was great to have the option of returning to the office, it didn't necessarily mean that everyone wanted to, not on a full-time basis at least. Experiencing the longer lie-ins, no commute, and an overall better work-life balance, employers and employees alike have enjoyed the benefits of remote working. However, each employee is different and working from home may not be as suitable for some as it is for others. A 2021 survey by Forbes found that 97% of employees surveyed would prefer flexibility between working remotely and working in the office. Because of this, many businesses have adopted a hybrid working model.
In the UK, hybrid working falls under flexible working and is when an employee works part of their time in the workplace provided by their employer and part of their time from home or anywhere else other than the normal place of work. Employees have the right to request that they work this way once they have worked continuously for the same employer for at least the last 26 weeks. Employees can do so by making a statutory application to their employer. The employer must then make a decision on the matter within three months, or longer if this is agreed to by the employee.
If the employer agrees to allow one or more employees to work a hybrid working model, a Hybrid Working Policy document should be created so that all staff are aware of how the new arrangement will operate. Because many employers now have experience with employees working from home, they should already be aware of the challenges and advantages it can bring. This will be an advantage for employers and HR managers as they put together their Hybrid Working Policy.
The rules and limitations surrounding the company’s hybrid working policy should be clearly outlined in the Hybrid Working Policy, including:
The policy should include details of how staff will be managed and supported as they work from separate locations, including:
Guidelines for remote working should be clearly defined, including:
Once you have put together a Hybrid Working Policy, what is the best way to share it with employees? When sharing the policy with employees, you may want to share it with all or multiple employees at the same time. As employees may be working from different locations, it’s likely not possible to physically hand out the document to each employee.
You could email the policy to employees. However, emails are not always an effective way of getting your employees' attention. In a 2019 survey, 34% of respondents said that they sometimes ignore HR emails from their employer, while 5.7% even said that they always ignore HR emails. The reason for this may be that employees are simply overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive at work.
A better way of getting employees to read your new Hybrid Working Policy is by sharing it with them through an app on their smartphones. BrightPay Connect is a cloud add-on to BrightPay payroll software which includes an employee app which can be used to take care of a number of HR tasks. With BrightPay Connect, employers will have access to their own employer dashboard from where they can upload employee documents to be shared with employees through the employee app. Employers can share documents with individual employees, multiple employees or all employees if they wish to do so. This means employees can easily access all their documents in one place, be it their individual contract of employment or company-wide documents. Since the documents are available on the employees' phones, it also means they can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
When a document is shared with employees this way, each employee will receive a push notification on their mobile to notify them that the document has become available for them to view. With push notifications, because users can instantly read the alert on their device, they are less likely to ignore it like they may do with an email. Furthermore, employers can track who has and who has not read each document and so you can give them a nudge if needs be.
As hybrid working is still a relatively new concept for many employers, the policy should be reviewed regularly. Employers may want to make changes to the policy as the needs of the business and employees change. The updated policy can be quickly reshared on BrightPay Connect and employees, are once again alerted to it by push notification.
As well as sharing documents, you can also easily share payslips with employees using BrightPay Connect. Other HR functions of BrightPay Connect which are done using the employee app are annual leave management and updating employee information. To learn more about the many benefits of BrightPay Connect and how they can improve your business and ease the transition to hybrid working, book a free online demo today.
Earlier this year, BrightPay conducted our annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. At BrightPay we are constantly trying to improve our products as well as our customer service. Our Customer Satisfaction Survey helps us identify in which areas we should make improvements. As it is an annual survey, it allows us to monitor customer satisfaction over time and evaluate the success of the changes we have made and the efforts we have put in throughout the year.
A total of 1169 customers took part in our survey. Just over half of those surveyed were employers on a standard BrightPay licence while the remaining were accountants or payroll bureaus who run payroll for multiple clients.
For 2021 BrightPay received a 99.5% customer satisfaction rate. This means that our customer satisfaction rate has remained over 99% for the 7th year in a row.
BrightPay’s 2021 Net Promoter Score (NPS) is 74. An NPS represents how likely customers are to recommend your product or service to others. With the industry average NPS score being 30, a score of 74 puts us in the top quartile for software and apps.
Of the 1169 customers surveyed, 166 had started using BrightPay within the last 12 months. 98.8% of our new users said that the software was easy to use. This score is thanks to our functionality and our user-friendly interface.
At BrightPay, unlike other payroll software providers, we do not charge for customer support. Because we do not profit from your need for help, this motivates us to make our software as user-friendly as possible. BrightPay customers can speak to one of our payroll experts by phone or email. If you need help switching from your old payroll software provider to BrightPay, we have a team of payroll migration experts on hand to help. As well as this, to help our customers, we hold free weekly webinars where we discuss current payroll topics and answer your payroll queries. We also have helpful videos, documents, guides and eBooks available on our website. It is because of this that our customer support has achieved a 97.5% satisfaction rate.
98.7% of customers surveyed said that they save both time and money by using BrightPay. This is through using our integrations with accounting packages, pension providers and a payments platform that allows you to pay employees, subcontractors, and HMRC, all in real-time.
Payroll bureaus and accountants can also save time by using our batch payroll processing feature which allows you to perform payroll tasks for multiple clients at the same time.
Another way you can save time and money is by using our optional cloud add-on BrightPay Connect, which 42% of BrightPay users surveyed said they also use. BrightPay Connect includes an employer dashboard which gives you a complete overview of the payroll information including managing employee leave, sharing payslips and other documents with employees. It also automatically backups the payroll data to the cloud every 15 minutes.
BrightPay Connect includes an employee self-service app which 99.1% of our customers surveyed said they love. From the app, employees can view current and historic payslips, request annual leave, view personal employment documents such as their contract of employment or companywide documents such as a monthly newsletter.
The 2020/2021 financial year was one like no other for BrightPay and for our customers. We all had to change the way we worked in order to adapt to the new world we found ourselves in. During the COVID-19 crisis, keeping up to date with the ever-changing furlough scheme and other wage support measures put in place by the UK government took centre stage for payroll processers. 99% of customers surveyed said they were satisfied with our handling of COVID-19 thanks to our software upgrades, free online webinars, online support documents and our phone and email support.
BrightPay would like to thank all those who took the time to take part in our Customer Satisfaction Survey. We believe that by listening to our customers' needs we can continue to grow and improve as a company. The full Customer Satisfaction Survey infographic can be viewed here. If you would like to find out more about BrightPay and BrightPay Connect, book a free online demo today.
COVID-19 has accelerated the move to paperless systems for businesses all over the world. In retail we saw outlets curtailing the use of cash due to fear of spreading the virus; causing payment habits to evolve faster than ever. With more of us working remotely, the office has also seen rapid innovation and it has become crucial that businesses digitalise their paper forms. While some of us may have found the move to digital difficult at first, many of us are now used to it and can easily visualise a future where paper is no longer needed in the workplace. The pros of a paperless workplace far outweigh the cons and it has the ability to revolutionise the way we work.
The move to paperless is nothing new in the world of payroll processing. Going back to a time where payroll was done manually and without the help of software is unimaginable to most payroll processers. However, if you are still using paper anywhere in your workflow, it’s time to make the change and stop using it altogether.
BrightPay Connect is a cloud add-on to our payroll software that can help you to digitalise payroll and HR processes, allowing you to cut down on your use of paper and even stop using it altogether. So how can BrightPay Connect help you achieve this?
BrightPay Connect digitalises the following tasks:
In the UK, surveys have found that the average amount spent by businesses on printing is £700 per employee. With 30% of print jobs not even being picked up from the printer and 50% of print jobs ending up in the bin within 24 hours, businesses are essentially throwing money away. A document such as a staff handbook can be as long as 100 pages. Say you have 40 employees, that adds up to 4000 pages and a lot of money being spent on paper and ink. Sharing the staff handbook through a cloud portal cuts out this cost altogether.
With BrightPay Connect, staff have the ability to access important documents through the employee self-service app on their phone. This means they no longer have to store physical documents that can often be lost or get thrown away. It also means that if you would like to update or change any of the information in the document, it is easy to do so. Once the document has been updated, employees will receive a push notification to let them know the new updated document is ready to be viewed. Sharing a document online with a few clicks of a mouse is far more convenient than having to print off, sort through and physically distribute reams of paper. It also doesn’t matter where an employee is; in the office, working from home, or even on their holidays, everyone will have access to the document at the same time.
Paper-based processes are notoriously slow and are more prone to error which can end up taking you hours to correct. One way you can save time with BrightPay Connect is by digitalising your annual leave management processes. Instead of having employees submit paper forms, the employee can request leave wherever or whenever suits them; be it from their desk or even in their own time through the BrightPay Connect mobile or tablet app. Once a request for leave has been made, the relevant manager will receive a notification on their own BrightPay Connect dashboard. From the dashboard, employers can either approve or deny the leave request. Through your dashboard, you can view a real time, company-wide calendar where you can see which employees are on leave, when they are on leave and the type of leave, saving you hours of time when dealing with annual leave requests.
Another great benefit of using BrightPay Connect's online document sharing feature instead of paper is that it allows for accountability. From the employer dashboard, users have the ability to track who has read the documents which have been shared with them and who hasn’t. When it comes to managing annual leave through BrightPay Connect, you can assign users to manage requests from specific employees. You also will have a record of who has requested leave, when, and who has dealt with the request.
Employee documents and especially payslips, are highly confidential documents which contain sensitive personal information. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the employees' information is kept safe and secure. If you are still sharing paper payslips with employees, you are leaving them at high risk of a data breach. In the BrightPay Connect mobile app, employees will receive an email and a push notification when their latest payslip becomes available to be viewed or downloaded. From the app, employees can also view and download all past payslips. BrightPay Connect uses a design structure that maximises security. Each user will have their own login details and unique password. BrightPay Connect utilises the Microsoft Azure platform, keeping the employee’s personal information secure.
Technology is always evolving and by not moving from manual paper processes to digital ones, you are at risk of being left behind of the competition. Companies are having to continuously innovate to keep up with customers' expectations and payroll is no different. The digital transformation has changed employees’ expectations. To attract and retain top talent, employers need to replace old manual processes with digital solutions. In a recent employee survey, 91% of employees said they want digital solutions and 88% think that technology is a vital part of the employee experience.
Lastly, the biggest advantage of going paperless is that you are helping to save the environment. By curtailing the use of paper in the workplace not only are you saving trees, but you are also helping to reduce pollution, save water and cut down on the use of fossil fuels which are used to make ink. Turning a single tree into 17 reams of paper releases around 110 lbs of C02 into the atmosphere. It has become the responsibility of businesses to cut down on carbon emissions and going paperless is the first step you can take.
It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to make more environmentally friendly choices. In a recent BrightPay UK customer survey, 69% of respondents said that they would like to make more environmentally friendly decisions for their business. From the same survey, 42% said that it was either extremely important or very important for them to choose suppliers who make a conscious effort to reduce the impact they have on the environment.
At BrightPay we are on a mission to make more sustainable choices and have a goal of achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2023. As we become increasingly aware of the importance of protecting the environment, 78% of our customers surveyed said that our target of reaching net zero by 2023 is of some importance to them. Read about our own sustainability efforts here.
Why not book a free online demo of BrightPay Connect today and find out more about its benefits and how it can help your business go paperless.
In BrightPay’s 2021 customer survey, we asked you which features of BrightPay Connect you were aware of. While the majority of customers were aware of all BrightPay Connect’s features, there were customers who admitted that they use BrightPay Connect solely for its automatic back-up of payroll data to the cloud.
It is understandable why this feature is of the utmost importance to many of our customers. The thoughts of something happening to your computer and you permanently losing important payroll data just doesn't bear thinking about. Also, the convenience of never having to manually back-up data again is a time-saver that you now could not live without.
However, if you are only using BrightPay Connect to back-up your data to the cloud it means you are missing out on a wide range of features that could benefit you, your business and your employees. You may feel the value of our cloud back-up feature is enough to justify the amount you pay for BrightPay Connect but by not taking advantage of our many other features, you could be missing out.
Even if you are only using BrightPay Connect as a cloud back-up, you should already be familiar with the employer dashboard. From the dashboard you can view all employees’ contact details, employees’ payslips, any outstanding amounts due to HMRC and reports that have been set up in BrightPay on the desktop application. Here is also where you will receive notifications when there are tasks that require your attention, for example if you have a new employee leave requests to complete. From the dashboard, employers can also access a company-wide annual leave calendar, making it easier to manage all staff leave.
Employers have the option to invite as many users as they wish to the BrightPay Connect employer dashboard at no additional cost. Colleagues can be added as co-administrators, or an external accountant can be added as a standard user which will give them access to the payroll data which has synchronised with the payroll software.
When you use BrightPay Connect you can invite employees to access their own self-service platform through any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Once logged in, employees will have the ability to:
When employees have access to their own self-service platform, it means the employer can better manage their staff while giving them a sense of control and flexibility over their work life. Giving employees the power to access documents, request leave and update their information through their phone means less time spent by employers or managers on administrative tasks.
BrightPay Connect’s multi-user access feature means managers can be assigned to deal with annual leave requests from specific employees. For example, if you have a sales department, the Sales Manager can be assigned to deal with all requests from that department.
To start taking advantage of these great benefits simply log in to your employer dashboard to send your employees a welcome email containing instructions on how they can log in to their own self-service portal. View here for more information on how to get your employees started. Or why not request a free online demo of BrightPay Connect to learn more about how it works.
When it comes to growing your practice, your focus may be on attracting new clients. However, introducing new services to your existing clients is also a great way to grow your business and increase its profitability. Selling new services to the clients you already have can be easier to do, as they already trust you and the services you provide.
Once you have decided on the new services you would like to introduce, how do you promote these new solutions to your clients? Email, your website and social media are all channels that can be used to promote your new services. However, promoting a new service isn’t enough if you do not effectively communicate the benefits of the new services being offered. Educating your clients on the full benefits of a service and instructing them on how to use it, means they will be able to get the most out of it, improving customer satisfaction.
So, you have decided to introduce BrightPay Connect, our optional cloud add-on into your practice. By linking payroll data and access to the cloud, this functionality offers you significant online benefits to enhance your payroll services, strengthen client relationships and increase profits. You may understand how much you, your clients and your clients’ employees can benefit from using BrightPay Connect but what’s the easiest way to inform clients of these benefits?
At BrightPay, we’ve done the work for you and have put all the information your clients need in one place. Below are three options for sharing the information with your clients:
To bring clients up-to-date on your new services simply send them a link to the new Client Hub webpage on our website. There they will find:
Rather than sending your clients straight to our website, you can send them our Client Hub document instead. The document contains all the same information as the webpage and can be downloaded and read anywhere, on any device. The document could also be attached to emails being sent out to clients as a way of promoting this new range of services.
Creating a page on your own website where you can display all the information your clients need on BrightPay Connect is easier than you think. You can create a simple webpage where you have all your information on the new service you are offering and how much it costs etc. On the same page you can embed our Client Hub PDF, by simply pasting the code below into the HTML on your website:
<p><iframe src="https://www.brightpay.co.uk/guides/Client-Hub-UK.pdf" width="1080" height="1092"></iframe></p>
Visit here for help on how to embed code onto your website. Below is how the PDF will look once added:
For more information on how BrightPay Payroll Software and BrightPay Connect can automate payroll processes and help your practice become more efficient watch back our webinar ‘Optimising your payroll offering to improve profitability’.
As of the 1st of July, 2021 employers will need to begin to contribute furlough pay for unworked hours. For July, the government will contribute 70% of the employees’ wages (up to £2187.50) while employers will be required to contribute the remaining 10% (up to £312.50). Employers will also need to pay any National Insurance and pension contributions. From August until the scheme ends on September 30th, the government will contribute 60% of their employees’ wages (up to £1875) while employers will be required to contribute the remaining 20% (up to £625).
The image below shows the contribution percentages for the furlough scheme from July to September 2021.
When someone in your ‘support bubble’ (or your ‘extended household’ if living in Scotland or Wales) has tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms of COVID-19 you should self-isolate. Starting Monday, July 6th, employees who are self-isolating for this reason will now be eligible for SSP. The employee must self-isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible for SSP and is only entitled to SSP for any days they were self-isolating from July 6th onwards.
The late payment of income tax, National Insurance Contributions (NIC), student loan deductions and income tax due under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) can lead to penalties for employers and contractors of all sizes. With so much to think of when running a business, forgetting to pay your PAYE bill on time each period, can end up costing you.
Penalties for overdue payments:
Your bill must be paid by the 22nd of the next tax month if you pay monthly or by the 22nd after the end of the quarter if you pay quarterly. It can be easy to forget to pay on time, especially if you pay by card online, by Bacs or by cash or cheque at your bank, as with these methods you will need to allow 3 business days for your payment to process. If you are paying by direct debit for the first time you will need to give 5 business days for your payment to process and once set up, this method takes 3 business days to process. The waiting time for payments to process means payment deadlines can easily be missed, especially when weekends and bank holidays need to be considered.
Your payroll software should facilitate the recording of payments made to HMRC. BrightPay is a payroll software which has a HRMC Payments tab from which you can view a detailed summary of your tax, NIC and student loan liabilities for the current period. From here you can also add any CIS deductions, tax refunds from HMRC or any funding from HMRC which may apply. Your amount due to HMRC will be displayed, and once a payment has been made, you can enter the amount paid and payment date.
Having this function in the payroll software serves as a reminder to payroll processers to send their payments to HMRC.
As mentioned above, certain methods of making payment to HMRC can take between 3 to 5 business days to process. If the deadline falls on a weekend or bank holiday you must make sure your payment reaches HMRC on the last working day before it. The only method of payment that can guarantee same day payment to HMRC, even on the weekend or bank holidays, is when you make payment by Faster Payments.
New to BrightPay this year is an integration with payments platform Modulr. Since March, our customers have been using this integration to pay their employees directly from the payroll software. Now, we have added a feature which allows you to pay HMRC directly from the payroll software through Modulr, using the Faster Payments method. This means that with a few simple clicks within the payroll software, you can have your payments sent and received by HMRC in under two minutes. The simplicity and convenience of using this method over others means that payments can be made at the eleventh hour, without having to worry about penalties for overdue payments.
Book a free BrightPay demo today and learn how BrightPay can help you avoid penalties, stay compliant and make running payroll as easy as possible.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a sudden rise in the number of employers who were not complying with their auto enrolment duties. The number of warnings issued to employers who failed to comply with their auto enrolment duties increased by almost 200% for the months of July, August and September 2020, compared to the previous quarter. The Pension Regulator (TPR) introduced more flexibility at the beginning of the pandemic for employers who may be struggling, allowing them more time to ensure their pension contributions were up to date.
This rise in non-compliance at the start of the pandemic coincided with a dip in both employee and employer pension contributions. Although auto enrolment responsibilities remained in place throughout the pandemic, including for employees who had been furloughed, some employees chose to opt out or reduce their contribution levels. As the country begins to reopen, pension contributions have now returned to pre-coronavirus levels. Now more than ever, employees are realising how important it is to save for their futures.
As levels of enforcement are also now back to normal, it is important that employers are staying on top of their auto enrolment duties.
1. You will receive a warning letter informing you that you must take care of your duties by a certain deadline.
2. If you do not meet the deadline, you will receive a statutory notice telling you to comply with your duties and/or pay any contributions you have missed or are late in paying. You may also be asked to pay any of your staff’s unpaid contributions and interest on missed contributions.
3. If you fail to comply with a statutory notice, you will be issued a penalty notice or you may be sent a fixed penalty notice. The fine is fixed at £400 and must be paid within the period set out in the penalty notice.
4. If you still do not comply with the statutory notice you may be sent an escalating penalty notice. This gives you a new deadline to comply, after which you will be fined at a daily rate of £50 to £10,000, depending on the number of staff you have.
In the year ending March 2020, TPR issued a total of £23.1m worth of fines to employers who didn’t comply with their auto enrolment duties, with one employer fined £350,000 for failing to re-enrol staff into its workplace pension scheme.
Of course, sometimes employers can make genuine mistakes when trying to keep up with auto enrolment and re-enrolment duties, however, these mistakes can be easily avoided when you use a payroll software that caters for auto enrolment and re-enrolment.
Employers are well used to staff wanting to take holidays at the same time. It is inevitable that certain times of year like Easter or Christmas will be more popular than others. As we remain in lockdown, most employees will want to save their time off for when restrictions are lifted. Last year, key workers who did not get to take all their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 were allowed carry over up to four weeks of unused holidays into the next two years. While this flexibility was necessary to protect workers' rights, it has caused an annual leave backlog that could become a real nightmare for employers to manage.
While we know that “nothing can be guaranteed”, we cannot help but feel optimistic about Boris Johnson’s tentative plan to ease all lockdown restrictions on June 21st, 2021. There is even an online petition asking the government to make June 21st, 2021 a one-off Bank Holiday, to be known as Merriweather Day, as an opportunity for families and friends to come together. Once this date was announced there was a huge scramble in workplaces for employees to get their requests in to have the week of June 21st off. While it might not be possible to please everyone and give them this time off, it is important that you deal with annual leave requests in a way which is transparent and fair.
Some employers are choosing to force staff to take holidays at a time that better suits the business. While some employees may be perfectly happy with these tactics being enforced, many others will feel hard done by that they do not have any control over the dates that they take off. Offering to buy back employees’ holiday days that are in excess of the statutory minimum is another method that is being used, however, this could end up being expensive and hard to manage for employers. So, what is the best option for all parties involved?
BrightPay Connect, an optional add-on to BrightPay’s payroll software, is the simplest way to manage your staff's annual leave – headache free. BrightPay Connect streamlines leave requests and leave approval. This is how it works:
The most popular policy of granting annual leave is on a first come, first served basis. While this policy is the most fair; depending on the system in place, it can still be difficult to keep track of which employee requested the leave first. With BrightPay Connect, you don’t have that problem as you will be able to see the order in which requests come in. Employees also have the ability to request half days or request to cancel leave that has already been granted.
In the employer’s dashboard, from the calendar tab, the employer can view a real time, company-wide calendar. At a glance, employers see which employees are on leave and the type of leave. This is especially handy nowadays when staff may be working from home and it is hard to keep track of who is off and who is not. Cloud integration means any approved leave requests will flow directly back to your BrightPay payroll software on your PC or Mac.
Using BrightPay Connect to manage employee’s leave means less conflict in the workplace and less stress all round. Book a free demo today to find out the many other ways BrightPay Connect can improve employer/employee relationships.
Register for our upcoming free webinar where we will discuss preparing for the safe return to the workplace, the furlough wind-down, redundancies and vaccine policies.
Download our free whitepaper on tips for managing employees as lockdown ends. The guide includes: important HR tips and best practices as we approach the return to workplaces. Plus, our team of employment law experts reveal what you should avoid: https://t.co/Fwm24GNpob #payroll pic.twitter.com/obedP7QG1l— BrightPay UK (@BrightPayUK) April 27, 2021