Sep 2020

16

Today marks 45 days before the end of the Furlough Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will officially come to an end on 31st October 2020 and employers will need to decide to either:

  • Bring their employees back to work on their normal hours 
  • Reduce their employees’ hours 
  • Terminate their employment 

The government has introduced a new Job Retention Bonus Scheme, which seeks to incentivise employers to hold off on redundancies. This is a one-off payment to employers who have availed of the CJRS for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021.

However, the unfortunate truth is if you cannot afford to pay your employees, you will need to terminate their employment. If a worker loses their job and is entitled to redundancy pay, this should be calculated based on their pre-furlough wages, and firms can't use the money from furlough to subsidise redundancy packages.

If you are making 20 or more employees redundant within any 90-day period at a single establishment, you must consult employees. This involves speaking to them about why there are redundancies being made and if there are any alternatives to redundancy.

The period of time that this consultation takes depends on how many jobs are being made redundant.

  • 100 or more redundancies - the consultation must start at least 45 days before any dismissals take effect 
  • 20 to 99 redundancies - the consultation must start at least 30 days before any dismissals take effect 
  • When there are fewer than 20 redundancies, there is no set time period. 

If you do not consult employees in a redundancy situation, any redundancies you make will almost certainly be unfair and you could be taken to an employment tribunal.

Today marks 45 days before the end of the furlough scheme – the deadline for large employers to commence the consultation process where 100 or more redundancies are being made. A recent study estimated that the UK was likely to see around 450,000 redundancies this autumn alone. It warned this figure could exceed 735,000 if redundancy notifications continued to rise.

Fresh calls have been made for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be extended over fears the UK could be hit with an onslaught of redundancy notices, as employers seek to comply with the 45-day notice period.

Register for our upcoming webinar to find out more about the end of the CJRS, the Job Retention Bonus Scheme and Redundancies. Places are limited – click here to book your place now.

Posted byRachel HynesinCoronavirus


Sep 2020

15

The Results of our Customer Survey are in, and we want to say Thank You!

At BrightPay, we are always trying to improve our software so that it does more for you. As part of this effort, we conduct regular customer surveys through which we collect data on your experience with BrightPay. The results of our most recent survey are in, and we are so pleased with the feedback that we received.

We pride ourselves on not just being a payroll software provider, but being an industry leader, constantly adapting our software to keep up with the ever-evolving world of payroll. Our developers are always working in the background to add new features and improved functionality to both the payroll software and BrightPay Connect. Surveys like this one are absolutely essential to this as they keep us informed of what our customers want and need, and what we need to work on moving forward.

We’ve compiled the results of our latest survey and we wanted to share them with you.

The Results

As the survey was very comprehensive, we’re not going to share the results of each and every question. But, we did want to share the main areas of focus and what you, our customers, said.

  • We asked: How satisfied are you with BrightPay Payroll Software? 
    You said: 47% of our customers said they were extremely satisfied, 43% said they were very satisfied and 9% said they were satisfied with BrightPay. This comes together to a total of 99.6% customer satisfaction rate, which is fantastic news for everyone on the BrightPay team. 
  • We asked: How satisfied are you with BrightPay Connect?
    You said: An incredible 97.9% of our respondents said they were satisfied with BrightPay Connect, our add-on to the payroll software. The most highly rated BrightPay Connect features included automatic cloud backup (99.6%), online employer dashboard (99.5%) and employee self-service portal & app (99.4%).
  • We asked: How satisfied are you with BrightPay's Customer Support?
    You said: The majority of customers rated BrightPay's telephone support (97.35%), email support (98.2%), online help documentation (98.1%) and online video tutorials (99.2%) as excellent, very good or good, giving our customer support team an overall satisfaction rate of 98.2%.
  • We asked: How would you rate BrightPay’s handling of COVID-19?
    You said: 98.6% of customers answered that they found our handling of COVID-19 overall to be either excellent, very good or good - in particular, our free online COVID-19 webinars (99.4%), payroll upgrades (98.8%), online help and support (98.3%) and phone and email support (97.4%).

BrightPay Functionality

We also asked you to rate BrightPay's functionality. Overall, 99.6% of customers rated BrightPay's functionality as excellent, very good or good. When asked about specific features, our new payroll journal / accounting software integration was rated 88.9%, our integration with pension providers was rated 93.1% and 97.7% bureau customers rated our batch payroll processing functionality as either excellent, very good or good. 

Get In Touch

If you feel that you’re not using the full suite of features to its fullest potential, you can book a free demo with a member of the BrightPay team where we can talk you through any concerns you have and show you how you and your business can get the most from BrightPay and BrightPay Connect.


Sep 2020

10

Remote Working Is Becoming The New Normal - What Does This Means For Payroll?

2020 has been a transformative year for most businesses. Many employers have had to take a long hard look at how they manage their employees and make significant changes in the wake of COVID-19 in order to adapt to what is quickly becoming the new normal. For a large proportion of these businesses, allowing employees to work remotely is playing a central role in that change. And this throws up some challenges.

Remote working isn’t a new phenomenon. Cloud innovations have made it possible for people to work from home for many years. However, most businesses have been reluctant to embrace this practice up until now. This is because, when employees are spread out, even the most basic tasks such as distributing payslips, applying for annual leave and internal communication can be more difficult.

Today, however, employers are finding themselves in a position where they must allow employees to work remotely and find clever solutions to these challenges. And BrightPay Connect is one such solution that makes remote working easier for everyone.

How Does Remote Working Affect Payroll and HR?

You might not think that remote working has any impact on processing payroll, especially if you’re a small business with just one payroll administrator. But there are a number of ways that remote working can indirectly impact payroll. It also has numerous knock-on effects on human resources management which need to be addressed in order for a business to thrive.

Here are some examples of the payroll and HR challenges presented by remote working:

  • Distributing payslips manually can be more time-consuming, costly and less secure when employees are not located in the workplace, and instead payslips must be posted to their home addresses. 
  • Making sure that the payroll and any employee leave during that particular pay period are aligned can be tricky, especially if a number of different line managers and/or HR staff are operating from different locations. 
  • Checking that the information for the current pay period is accurate can be challenging with employers and managers working from home with often unreliable internet connections. 

BrightPay Connect Makes Remote Working Easier

BrightPay Connect is a cloud portal add-on to our payroll software. While the payroll software gives you everything you need to process your payroll, BrightPay Connect offers a range of additional features that streamline your human resource management.

The features of BrightPay Connect include:

  • An employee self-service app that’s compatible with both iOS and Android. On the app employees can apply for leave, view and edit their personal data, access a secure payslip library and view HR documents, all from their smartphone or tablet. 
  • An online employer dashboard. Because payroll information is stored online with BrightPay Connect, employers can access their dashboard from their laptops at home. On this dashboard, employers can view a company calendar which displays all past and upcoming employee leave, upload and share documents with employees, and view any outstanding payments due to HMRC. The employer dashboard also shows notifications for any employee leave requests, or requests from the payroll processor. 
  • Automatic cloud backups. With BrightPay Connect, you don’t need to worry about safely storing your data. BrightPay Connect automatically backs up the payroll data to the cloud and keeps a chronological history of all backups so that you can restore previous versions if needed. This is a great step towards GDPR compliance for businesses who are trying to modernise their data protection practices. The cloud backup is also extremely useful for remote working because everything is stored and accessible via the cloud from any location.
  • Clever employee leave management. Employees can request leave directly from their smartphone app. This is beneficial to remote employees because it eliminates the need for employees to visit their line manager or human resources manager in order to fill out leave request paperwork. The request instantly appears as a notification on their manager’s online dashboard. From here, the manager can use the company calendar to see who else is on leave for the dates requested, and either approve or deny the leave request. A time-stamped log of all leave requests is maintained which is particularly useful when a number of different people are managing employee leave as all of the relevant parties can easily see who approved or denied a request, and when. 
  • Requests for payroll data. Whether you are a payroll bureau processing payroll for a number of clients, or an in-house payroll administrator looking for payroll information from various departmental managers, BrightPay Connect’s payroll entry requests feature can be extremely beneficial when working remotely. You can send a request to your clients or to in-house managers requesting information regarding the employee’s hours and payment information for that particular pay period. Once the payroll information has been entered or uploaded, you will receive a notification on your employer dashboard and can synchronise the information directly to the payroll software. As well as eliminating the need for double entry of payroll information, it also frees up time spent chasing the various managers for the employee timesheets, especially if they are working remotely. 

Book Your Free BrightPay Connect Demo Now

If your business is embracing remote working and trying to find ways to facilitate this new practice, then book your free BrightPay Connect demo today and let our team of experts show you just how much easier remote working can be.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinBrightPay CloudPayroll Software


Sep 2020

7

During National Payroll Week, BrightPay Applauds UK’s Payroll Professionals for their Remarkable Efforts in 2020

As we head towards the latter part of 2020, many of us are already looking forward to 2021. It has been a most unusual year. It has been a time of hope, of struggle, of confusion, but above all, it’s been a year of unprecedented change. We are all now intimately acquainted with the words lockdown, furlough, working from home and the interiors of our colleague’s homes. As with all momentous times, there are those among us who have risen to the challenge, and we have shown our gratitude and appreciation to them in a variety of ways. Today, we honour a group, that although often overlooked, plays a critical role in ensuring that we can depend on them to keep us in the black.

National Payroll Week

September 7th to 11th is National Payroll Week. First run in 1998, National Payroll Week was the brainchild of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP). The aim was to shine a spotlight on the profession and increase awareness around what incredible work goes into making sure people are paid on time and correctly.

This year’s theme of 'Keeping the UK Paid' is timely and resonates in a way that previous years may not have. Throughout these past months, it is our payroll professionals who stayed the course, and, despite the seismic shifts in their workday and operations processes, continued to serve and ensure each of us received what was our due. This year, BrightPay wants to acknowledge and recognise that payroll professionals – regardless of where they now sit – are the stalwarts of normalcy in abnormal times. We salute their dedication and consistency.

It is also worth noting that thanks to the hard work and effort of payroll professionals and their collection of income tax and National Insurance they are expected to contribute approximately £325.7bn to the UK economy in 2020/21.

It is a fact not lost on the government which is why Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP has this to say:

"This year the theme for National Payroll Week is 'Keeping the UK paid', and with over 8 million employees having been furloughed at some stage since March, this could not be more apt. I am grateful for the dedication of payroll professionals in rising to the challenges COVID-19 has brought. I am delighted to support the week and encourage as many employers as possible to take part."

What is the CIPP doing to mark National Payroll Week?

Here is a quick overview of events organised by the CIPP: 

Monday 7th September 

  • The CIPP in conjunction with The Payroll Centre and Reward Strategy is hosting a virtual Future of Payroll roundtable.
  • The CIPP is also running virtual wine tasting that is available to invited attendees. 

Thursday 10th September

  • The CIPP is conducting a National Payroll Week virtual conference that is available to all payroll professionals.

If you are planning to join in on the celebrations and mark the occasion, CIPP offers a wealth of marketing tools that are ready for you to use. Simply download this digital pack packed with posters, stickers, desktop and mobile wallpapers, and more. 

BrightPay is always striving to make payroll easier

BrightPay is here to help payroll professionals perform even when faced with tough challenges. We are fully HRMC recognised, support all RTI submission types, and now offer payroll journal integration and the ability to batch process multiple employers simultaneously. At a time when so many of us are adapting to a new world order, BrightPay Connect, our optional cloud add-on product can help you supercharge your payroll & HR processes while offering you the flexibility and security of a secure cloud server that automatically backs up your payroll data and enables cloud features for the bureau, employer and employee.

Book a demo today or watch this short video to discover how BrightPay and BrightPay Connect can make payroll easier for your business.


Sep 2020

4

What’s not to LOVE about BrightPay’s integration with FreeAgent

Together with FreeAgent, we’ve built a meaningful API integration to make payroll refreshingly easy while keeping your accounting simple. BrightPay produces the payroll journal in a file format that is unique to FreeAgent. Users can easily upload their payroll figures into their general ledger from within BrightPay using the FreeAgent API facility.

Connecting accounting and payroll means dead-simple reconciliation and consolidated journal entries, a much needed combination. This means each time you run payroll, a wage journal entry is created to send to your FreeAgent system. The BrightPay API facility eliminates the manual export and import process, automating tedious, repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

How does it work?

When you sign into your FreeAgent account in BrightPay, your nominal ledger accounts will be retrieved where users can simply map each payroll data item to the relevant nominal account. The payroll journal can include records for payslips across multiple pay frequencies. Users can include individual records for each employee or merge the records for each unique date.

Payroll Journal API integration with FreeAgent offers:

  • Time Savings: Rather than manually inputting payroll data from one system to another, just import your wage journal straight into FreeAgent with a couple of clicks. 
  • Automation: Every bureau and accountant wants and needs an automated system these days. The automation of BrightPay’s API facility will easily input payroll journal files straight into FreeAgent streamlining the payroll process even further. 
  • Reduced Errors: BrightPay’s API facility will drastically reduce the chance of errors that could potentially be caused by manual data entry and time spent correcting those errors. 

Step by step guide to BrightPay & FreeAgent integration
Find out more about the BrightPay & FreeAgent integration

Posted byKaren BennettinAccounts Software


Sep 2020

1

Customer Update: September 2020

Welcome to BrightPay's September update. Our most important news this month include:


Furlough Changes for September 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is ending fully on 31st October 2020, but until then, the level of the grant will be reduced each month. For September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will need to pay employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions plus 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total, up to a cap of £2,500. 


Free Webinar: CJRS & Flexible Furlough - Changes you need to know

As the government’s furlough scheme winds down in upcoming months, employers will need to contribute to employees’ wages and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will end fully at the end of October 2020. In this webinar, we look at what you need to know about reduced government contributions, flexible furlough and making a claim. 


Benefits of employee apps that you never knew (and why employees love them)

BrightPay Connect offers a whole host of additional features, from automatic cloud backup to employee dashboards. However, the employee app is one of the most attractive of these additional features, and for good reason. It enables you to introduce more effective ways of communicating with employees and streamline everyday processes such as annual leave requests. 


Easily integrate BrightPay with your accounting software 

BrightPay’s payroll journal feature allows users to create wage journals from finalised pay periods so that they can be seamlessly transferred into various accounting packages. BrightPay includes direct API integration with a number of accounting packages. With this direct integration, users will be able to directly send the payroll journal to the accounting package from within BrightPay.  


Posted byRachel HynesinCustomer Update


Aug 2020

21

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


Aug 2020

18

Furlough wind down timescales

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been hugely popular and will continue to support jobs until the end of October, however, from 1st July, many changes were made to the scheme.

The government’s furlough scheme will wind down in upcoming months, employers will need to contribute to employees’ wages and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will end fully at the end of October.

Before August, employers could claim 80% of a furloughed employee’s wage costs, to a monthly maximum of £2,500. The government also refunded employer NICs and auto-enrolment pension contributions on this sum.

Going forward, the level of grant will be reduced each month. Employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff, and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.

  • In August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500, but employers are now required to pay employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions. For the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed.
  • For September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will need to pay employer NI contributions and employer pension contributions plus 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total, up to a cap of £2,500.
  • In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will need to pay employer NI contributions and employer pension contributions plus 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total, up to a cap of £2,500.

Employers will continue to be able to choose to top up employee wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at their own expense if they wish. Employers will have to pay their employees for the hours worked.

After 31st October, the government contributions will finish and the scheme will come to an end.

When the scheme was extended until October, employers were promised that they would not face a ‘cliff-edge’ withdrawal of funding and that the scheme would be wound down gradually. The wind-down phase of the furlough scheme is more generous than many had expected, with most furloughed employee wage costs still being met by the government over the coming months. Depending on how the re-opening of businesses progresses, this approach may give some employers time to rebuild and save jobs that would otherwise have been lost.

Job Retention Bonus Scheme

During last month’s summer economic update, the chancellor announced that although the scheme will end at the end of October, all businesses can avail of a Job Retention Bonus Scheme for each employee they bring back from furlough. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021.

To be eligible, employees will need to earn at least an average of £520 per month for November, December and January, they must have been furloughed at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and they must have been continuously employed up until at least 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021.

Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021 once accurate RTI data to 31‌‌‌ ‌January has been received.

How BrightPay can help? 

BrightPay software is being continually updated to ensure you can adapt your processes to all the upcoming changes regarding furlough. 

If you’re not already using BrightPay, why not book a demo or download BrightPay’s free 60 day trial? One of our payroll experts will show you its clear and easy to use interface and talk you through its underlying comprehensive set of payroll functionality.

Posted byZoe ColverinCoronavirus


Aug 2020

11

3 Benefits of Employee Apps That You Never Knew

Employee apps have become a big trend in the digital communications infrastructure of businesses in every industry imaginable over the past few years. Initially, they served little or no real tangible purpose other than to help the business appear to be at the forefront of technology and employment trends. However, more recently, app designers have created apps that deliver real, measurable value for both employees and employers.

Introduced in 2017, the BrightPay employee app is available to all BrightPay Connect customers. Connect is an add-on to the payroll software which offers a whole host of additional features, from automatic cloud backup to employee dashboards. However, the employee app is one of the most attractive of these additional features, and for good reason.

This is because employers and human resource managers are constantly trying to find more effective ways of communicating with their employees, as well as methods to streamline everyday processes such as annual leave requests. Our employee app does all of this and more, and gives employees a crucial sense of engagement that’s invaluable to company culture and the productivity of staff.

But, if you’re an employer or human resources manager who’s considering using an employee app to update your internal comms abilities, you’re going to need to weigh up the benefits of the app and think about how they would apply to your organisation.

Benefits of Employee Apps

So, without further ado, let’s break down the benefits of employee apps so that you can make the best decision for your business.

Leave Requests and Approval

Few people expect that an employee app can help with leave requests, but they can. In the BrightPay Connect employee app, employees can apply for annual leave or unpaid leave directly from their tablet or smartphone. Once they've sent their request, the relevant manager will receive a notification on their BrightPay Connect dashboard.

From here, they can approve or reject the request. The calendar on their dashboard will show them all of the scheduled leave for the relevant dates, so they can see who else is on leave at that time. If they choose to approve it, the leave will automatically appear in the company calendar on both the online dashboard and the employee app.

This is particularly useful to companies with large numbers of employees whereby a significant amount of time is spent processing employee leave requests and manually updating the company calendar.

Internal Communications

Another major benefit of using a self-service employee app is the vast improvement in internal communications. Employers can upload any type of documents they want to be available on the employee app. These documents are then stored in the cloud, where employees can easily access them from anywhere in the world.

What makes this feature even more useful is that the employer can choose who has access to which documents. For example, you may upload three documents at once. One is an updated Health and Safety policy, another is a new budget document for the marketing team, and another is an employee file for a recent starter.

Our document sharing feature will allow you to make your Health and Safety policy available to everyone in the company, make the budget document available only to the marketing team, and make the new employee file only visible to yourself and your human resources manager. You can customize the access permissions for each document, and change that access at any time. And you can see who has opened and read the various documents via a time-stamped historical log.

This means that, not only can you use the document sharing facility to distribute important documents to your employees, but you can also use Connect as a secure online hub, where you store all employee data and documents safely.

Payslip Archive

One of the features of the BrightPay Connect employee app that your employees will really love is the handy payslip archive. Via the app, payslips are distributed directly to employee smartphones or tablets where they can be viewed, downloaded and printed in just a few clicks. But, in addition to this, the payslips are kept on the app in a historical archive that dates back to when you started using BrightPay Payroll - even if it’s before you introduced the app or started using BrightPay Connect.

This is great news for employees for two reasons. Firstly, because they cannot lose payslips in their email inbox or accidentally delete them and have to ask for them to be resent. And secondly, because it makes applying for mortgages or other personal finance banking options simpler as they can easily access and print as many payslips as their bank requires.

Find out more about the BrightPay Connect Employee App today

If you think that the BrightPay Connect employee app could benefit your business, why not book a free demo with our team of Connect experts? They will talk you through all of its many features, including the app and so much more.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinBrightPay CloudEmployee Self Service


Aug 2020

7

Customer Update: August 2020

Welcome to BrightPay's August update. Our most important news this month include:


BrightPay Connect - What’s New?

This month saw a number of updates to BrightPay Connect, including a new option to download all payslips in a given period. The calendar functionality in BrightPay Connect has also 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.


Free COVID-19 & Payroll Webinar

Join BrightPay on 12th August for a free COVID-19 & Payroll webinar. In this webinar, we explore the key changes in relation to flexible furlough, phasing out of the scheme and changes to making a claim. This new flexibility will help businesses with reopening and help boost the economy. Places are limited. Click here to book your place now.


Processing Employee Hours Made Simple With BrightPay Connect

We’re always keen to hear what the biggest challenges are for payroll bureaus and how we can help make their job easier. One of the most common issues we understand is that requesting payroll information from clients can be an inefficient, time-consuming and often, frustrating process. The good news is that BrightPay Connect makes this process so much simpler. It has become a must-have tool for bureaus who want to streamline their payroll process and increase efficiency.


Automate Annual Leave Management with BrightPay Connect

After months of lockdown, many people are embracing the idea of staycations in a bid to save what’s left of the summer. For employers, however, managing employee leave can be far from relaxing if it is a manual process. BrightPay Connect’s online leave management tools eliminate cumbersome people management tasks. It’s more than just payroll software, it’s a ready-to-go, easy-to-use HR software solution. The staycation trend should be a reason to be excited, not an admin nightmare.


Posted byRachel HynesinCustomer Update