COVID-19 has thrown many curveballs for businesses of every size and industry across the United Kingdom. Employers are finding themselves in situations that they could never have expected and faced with challenges that nobody saw coming. However, life must go on and business owners are forced to find creative solutions to overcome these challenges and ensure the continued growth of their businesses.
One of the most common challenges facing employers right now is related to annual leave. Of course, many employees across the country have been placed on furlough for some time in 2020 and many are still on furlough today. However, this doesn’t mean that they are not entitled to annual leave, or that their employee rights no longer apply.
So, employers who have had to place employees on furlough are now trying to figure out how to manage annual leave for those employees in a way which is fair to their staff without being detrimental to their business. Thankfully, help is at hand. In this blog post, we share top tips for employers who find themselves navigating these murky waters and help you to take a strategic approach that’s in everyone’s interest.
Thankfully, help is at hand. These top tips for employers who find themselves navigating these murky waters will help you to take a strategic approach that’s in everyone’s interest.
Review Existing Policy
The first thing you need to do when figuring out how you’re going to manage your employee annual leave is to review your existing annual leave policy. Most businesses will have standard annual leave policies that don’t vary all that much from business to business. However, there are some things in your policy that you may want to change temporarily.
For example, many businesses state in that policy that annual leave cannot be carried from one year to another. However, the rules in relation to the carry over of annual leave have been temporarily relaxed to deal with the coronavirus disruption. Many employees have not been able to take their annual leave and will likely not be able to do so in the months to come and so you should review and update this element of your policy in light of these relaxed rules.
The second step in this process is to ensure that you communicate any and all changes to your existing annual leave policy with all employees. If you are making changes to the policy, it is essential that you share these changes with staff.
Simply sending a company-wide email may not be sufficient in this case, as it’s very likely that the email could get lost amongst many other emails in the employee’s inbox. A better option would be to distribute the updated policy via an online employee portal such as BrightPay Connect. With Connect’s self-service portal and app, employees can access important documents anywhere, anytime, and receive instant notifications on their smartphone or tablet when a new document has been made available to them.
If you think that employees will have a lot of questions regarding the changes to the existing policy, it would be in your best interest to hold a meeting either online or in person, where employees have the opportunity to ask questions and you can give detailed explanations so that everyone is on the same page.
Be As Flexible As Possible
Finally, human resources managers or line managers who are dealing with incoming annual leave requests should at all times strive to be as flexible and facilitating as possible. These are very unusual and utterly unprecedented circumstances that we find ourselves in. You may have employees with underlying conditions, with children but no access to childcare etc. whose ability to take holiday time is compromised through no fault of their own.
Therefore, it is in the best interest of your employees and your business to try where possible to accommodate the needs of your employees when it comes to annual leave until the public health status has improved.
BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud portal add-on to our multi-award winning payroll software. With Connect, employers can take advantage of the latest in cloud automation technologies and employee self-service. Connect boasts industry-leading features in both payroll and human resources to create a holistic cloud portal that actually works for your business.
With BrightPay Connect, managing annual leave is simple, and it’s even more beneficial during COVID-19 as employees are working from home more than ever before. Connect allows employees to request annual leave straight from an employee app on their smartphone or tablet. The request instantly appears in the Connect dashboard of the relevant manager.
The manager can then check if other employees are on leave during the requested dates via a company calendar, which is also accessible on their online dashboard. Then, they can approve or reject the request and the employee is instantly notified on their app. Furthermore, a time-stamped log of all requests, approvals and rejections is kept in the cloud for future reference. This is ideal when multiple users are managing annual leave remotely.
If your business is struggling with annual leave management because of COVID-19, then why not get in touch with us today? Book your free BrightPay Connect demo where a member of our BrightPay Connect team of experts will be happy to assist you. We will walk you through the various features of BrightPay Connect and explain in detail how these features can make annual leave management easier than ever before.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
We speak to payroll bureaus all of the time, always keen to hear what their biggest challenges are and how we can help make their job easier, and one of the most common issues we hear is that requesting payroll information from clients can be an inefficient, time-consuming and often, frustrating process. And we understand why.
For any payroll bureau, getting payroll approved by clients can be a tiresome process. Despite meticulous attention to detail, finding mistakes in the payroll is common. Even the most detail-oriented clients are prone to forgetting to let you know that James had to take a week off with the flu, or that Michelle’s maternity leave started early. As a result, it isn’t until you hand over the so-called finalised payroll to the client that these changes are brought to your attention and you’ve got to go back and make the (often, many) appropriate changes. Sound familiar?
The good news is that BrightPay Connect makes this process so much simpler and reduces the chances of such omitted information (and the time it takes to get that final payroll approval) significantly. As such, it has become a must-have tool for bureaus big and small who want to streamline their payroll entry and approval process and increase efficiency with their clients.
Not to be confused with the payroll software, BrightPay Connect is an add-on feature which is purchased separately and works alongside BrightPay payroll software. As such, it offers a range of features not made available through the payroll software alone. These include an employee app, an employer dashboard, a secure online portal and much more. While BrightPay’s payroll software looks after the day to day tasks involved in payroll management, BrightPay Connect offers extra benefits, not least of which is it’s payroll entry and approval feature.
Getting payroll information from clients has never been as easy thanks to Connect. From your bureau dashboard you can send a payroll entry request to one client at a time, or in batch form to dozens/hundreds of clients in the same amount of clicks. You simply select the clients from a drop-down menu and send your requests, instantly.
A real-time dashboard also lets you see what requests you’ve sent out and breaks them down into requests that have been responded to by the client, and requests for which you’re still waiting for a response.
On the client’s end, they will receive a notification on their online employer dashboard that lets them know they need to enter or upload their employee’s pay information for the pay period. The client can add new employees here too, and there’s a user-friendly comment section where they can leave any notes that they’d like to share with you, cutting out the need for endless back and forth emails.
Once you’ve received the payroll entry from your clients, complete with their employee’s pay information, the bureau can review the information that has been entered by the client and apply this information in BrightPay Payroll Software at the click of a button. All communications between the payroll bureau and the client are automatically tracked in the online audit trail on BrightPay Connect.
From this point you can finalise the payslips or if you wish to get the payroll signed off by the client, you can send them a payroll approval request. This allows you to securely send a payroll summary to the client for them to review before you send the payslips to the employees.
Similar to the payroll entry request, the client will receive their payroll approval request on their online client dashboard instantly and can choose to either approve or reject the payroll. Either way, your dashboard will update automatically to let you know and the audit trail keeps a complete time-stamped record of all requests, protecting both your bureau and your client.
Want to learn more about BrightPay Connect and how it’s sophisticated payroll entry and approval functionality can transform your payroll processes? Book a free online demo here for a detailed walkthrough of everything the portal can offer you and your clients.
Introducing a new service to your payroll clients isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to be. Yes, you know that it would be great for their business and maybe they do too, but it’s likely that they’ll still need some convincing to get them over the line and on board. So, here are 3 things to keep in mind when introducing BrightPay Connect as a new payroll process.
Before you make your case to your clients, you need to be sure that you’re offering them the best service for their business. Every client is different in one way or another, and this means that a one-size-fits-all approach to their payroll just isn’t going to work. It’s also not going to give them confidence in your ability if they think you don’t understand their business, so doing your homework here will really pay off.
In order to get your client on board with your new payroll offering, it’s useful to think about what challenges they’re facing right now regarding payroll, and whether BrightPay Connect is a right fit for them. BrightPay Connect offers a whole range of additional HR benefits, so think about how these extras can save your clients time. Begin your introduction by showing your clients that they’re in safe hands because you fully understand their payroll challenges and you’ve got just the product to help them make their payroll processes even easier than it’s ever been before.
So now that you’ve established how BrightPay Connect can modernise your client’s payroll process, it’s time to pitch the benefits to them. For most clients, this is a simple case of informing them about the HR features they may not have themselves including:
You can also present BrightPay Connect as a time saving opportunity by explaining to them that the cloud functionality frees them up to dedicate additional resources to other aspects of the business.
Every client, whether big or small, is always trying to find new ways to cut costs, reduce administration and maximize profits (without cutting quality services). And in today’s climate, most businesses don’t have any choice in keeping their costs down as much as possible. So, one of the best ways you can sell your payroll services to your clients is by simply showing them just how cost effective it is.
BrightPay Connect offers highly competitive pricing options where users are billed based on usage. The usage subscription model is based on the number of active employees in the billing month. The more clients you have the lower your cost per employee, which means you can pass the savings along to them. You can also find ways to make it even more tempting to your clients, such as offering them a free trial period, or a special deal if they refer a new client to your bureau. This is totally up to you, but don’t be afraid to be creative with how you cost this service.
Book a demo of BrightPay Connect to see how you can help your clients with a new and improved payroll service offering.
There's been a lot of talk recently about online client platforms. They can bring many benefits to both employers and employees alike - from online payslip access to annual leave management to a HR document hub.
But can cloud payroll portals really help with employer obligations? Here we look at how BrightPay Connect can help with record-keeping requirements, employment law obligations and GDPR compliance.
By law, employers must retain certain documentation relating to their employees for specific minimum periods. Good cloud systems will record this information for you, meaning everything is stored securely online.
Not only is BrightPay Connect useful for keeping a record of payroll information, but employers can also use it to hold various employment and leave records. Sometimes record-keeping can be something that we let slip or are perhaps not as diligent as we might be with say, payroll files, where we tend to be very diligent.
If you have an inspection, the inspector will want to see all of the employee records, whether it’s pay records, annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, and they’ll expect the records to be readily accessible. With BrightPay Connect, you can access the calendar and reporting features to see at a glance who has taken leave, and when, so should an inspector arrive, you can simply log into Connect to access the records, rather than getting into a panic about what is saved where.
For employers, there’s also compliance with employment legislation. This will be even more important over the coming months, as three new pieces of employment legislation come into force on 6th April 2020.
One of the changes being introduced is the introduction of a day-one right to receive a written statement of terms and conditions (more commonly known as a contract of employment). At the moment, this needs to be given to new employees, no later than two months after the beginning of their employment, so this new day-one timeframe requirement from this April of providing an employee with their contract on their first day of employment will be a big change for many employers. For employers who use Bright Contracts to create contracts of employment, the software will soon be updated in line with the new legislation.
If you are on leave or not based at the same location as the new employee, meeting that day-one deadline could be challenging, and that’s where the online employer and employee portals can help. Being able to upload employment contracts and other employee documentation onto the cloud from any location, and share it with the employee, could be a lifesaver. With BrightPay Connect, the documents and resources hub also offers an activity log, which gives the date and time stamps in relation to when an employee accessed the document.
In the new world of GDPR, non-compliance will be a continuous threat to all businesses. BrightPay Connect offers significant benefits to help your business or practice comply with GDPR legislation.
The GDPR legislation includes a best practice recommendation, whereby organisations should provide individuals with remote access to a secure system, which would give them direct access to their personal information. An online employee portal, such as BrightPay Connect, will store employee’s information online, giving the employee access to personal data that employer has on file for them. The employee can update their contact information easily, with changes instantly and seamlessly updated in the payroll software.
Your data accuracy and compliance improve even further when you add in the ability to automatically backup payroll data in the cloud. If you only keep your payroll data on your desktop, you are at risk of losing the information. How prepared are you for a disaster recovery situation? Would employees still get paid if the information was lost? Without cloud backup, the consequences would be dire. But now, these problems can be solved quickly, and that’s because of cloud innovation.
Cloud integration introduces the ability to automatically and securely backup the payroll data to the cloud. BrightPay Connect maintains a chronological history of all your backups, and these backups can be restored at any time if required. It’s simply an added layer of data protection to safeguard your payroll data.
Book a demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay Connect can help you comply with your employer obligations.
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.
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!
Until the recent past, small businesses were unlikely targets for sophisticated cyber-attacks. But in the internet era, things have changed dramatically.
SMEs are doing more business online than ever and they are using cloud services that don’t use strong encryption technology. It’s turned your average SME into a likely, lucrative target. There’s a lot of sensitive data to be had, and if it’s behind a door with an easy lock to pick then all the better.
This new reality is on display in official statistics. Over four in ten businesses (43%) and two in ten charities (19%) experienced a cybersecurity breach or attack in 2018, according to the government’s cybersecurity breaches survey.
Three-quarters of businesses (74%) and over half of all charities (53%) surveyed also identified cybersecurity as a high priority for their organisation’s senior management. It’s likely GDPR and its stiffened sanctions for breaches and blunders has a lot to do with this heightened priority.
Payroll processing is a key innovation battleground in this new era of hacks and data regulation. Clients want the convenience of online access to their payroll information, but they also demand (and require) the very best in security.
For a bureau, offering best-in-class cybersecurity is a valuable way to add and demonstrate value, with very little actual effort on your part. A bureau using the most secure cloud payroll facility will offer data security as standard.
Meanwhile, the security itself is actually handled by the software supplier and the infrastructure they provide. All you need to do is make the right choice when it comes to picking a software partner.
When using BrightPay Connect in conjunction with your BrightPay desktop application, for instance, all communication between both systems is carried out on a safe channel with maximum security.
BrightPay utilises all manner of best practice to guard against nefarious tactics such as data injection, authentication hacking, cross-site scripting, exposure flaws, request forgery, and the many other types of vulnerabilities.
BrightPay Connect utilises the Microsoft Azure platform to give users reliability, scalability, data redundancy, geo-replication and timely security updates out of the box.
As a payroll bureau, cybersecurity is a critical commercial area. You must be able to promise security to both current and prospective clients. By investing in payroll software that offers cloud integration powered by the latest tech, that’s an easy promise to keep. Being at the bleeding edge of cybersecurity has never been simpler.
Book a demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay Connect can protect your business.
The Cloud is the current buzz-word in technology. Employers in the know are reaping the benefits from its capabilities, including helping them attract and retain new staff.
Why is this important? Becoming an employer of choice has never been more important, especially as we are at near full employment. A quick search of any of the main job boards will show an abundance of available jobs. It’s a jobseeker’s market. The challenge for employers therefore is to attract and retain the best candidates. One way to attract and retain employees is to offer them something new, something edgy… a strong, feature-rich, cloud employee self-service system could be it.
Today’s world has gone online, everyone has social media accounts, we are all familiar with buying many of our goods and services online. This is particularly true for millenials (generally defined as those born between 1984 and 1999) who are are fast becoming the largest sector of our workforce. Understanding how to tap into their fast-paced expectations is crucial for business success.
Businesses who do not compete in this space run risks of being overlooked by prospective employees, millennials in particular. This is where employers should consider a cloud, employee self-service system. Offering online access to their annual leave calendar, their personal details, their employers details, all their HR documents and all of their payslips on their smartphones via a dedicated employee app is the smartest, most cost effective way to show your employees you are in the same digital space that they are.
Book a demo today to find out how your business can benefit from cloud self-service systems.