HMRC have advised that if an employee needs to take time off sick or to self-isolate due to COVID-19, the first 3 waiting days that normally apply for SSP will be disregarded and the employee will be entitled to receive SSP from the first day.
We have programmed BrightPay 20/21 so that there is a new option for ‘COVID-19 Related Sick Leave’ and, by choosing this option, the software will automatically apply any SSP due to the employee from day one. Whereas, if you were to choose the normal SSP, the software will take into account the usual 3 waiting days.
With the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, the employer can claim for up to 2 weeks sick leave for an employee that cannot work due to COVID-19, and also those who are self-isolating or shielding, subject to eligibility criteria.
An SSP Claim Report is available in BrightPay to assist users in ascertaining the amounts needed for input into HMRC's Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme online service.
Processing COVID-19 related Statutory Sick Pay is easy in BrightPay. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you do it.
Processing COVID-19 Related Sick Leave in BrightPay
It is important to note that if existing payment records have not been recorded in BrightPay or if there is insufficient historical payroll data to determine the employee's average weekly earnings, the automatic calculation may be inaccurate or not possible. In this instance, you can manually override the employee’s average weekly earnings.
BrightPay’s Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme Claim Report
As mentioned, BrightPay also has a claim report to assist users in determining the amounts that you can reclaim through the Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme. This report can be found within the ‘Employees’ tab in BrightPay.
Each claim report generated in the software is stand-alone and no data is saved each time a claim report is run. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have exported the report, so that you don’t lose the information.
Furloughed employees retain their statutory rights, including their right to Statutory Sick Pay, and so furloughed employees who become ill must be paid at least the rate of SSP, subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria. You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.
If an employee becomes sick while furloughed, it is up to the employers to decide whether to move these employees onto Statutory Sick Pay or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate. If the employee is moved onto SSP, employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary. Whereas, if the employee is kept on the furloughed rate, they remain eligible for the employer to claim for these costs through the furlough scheme.
Want to keep up-to-date with the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and businesses? We’re holding regular webinars to share with you all news relating to HMRC updates, what employers need to know and how you can make sure you’re complying with best practices at all times.
Click here to watch our previous webinars on-demand, where we cover everything from important COVID-19 payroll updates to return to work government policies and more.
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HMRC has issued details regarding the latest Advisory Fuel Rates for company cars. From the 1st June 2020 employers may use the old rates or new rates for one month. Employers are under no obligation to make supplementary payments to reflect the new rates but can do so if they wish. Hybrid cars are treated as either petrol or diesel cars for this purpose for the fuel rates.
The rates are as below:
|Engine size||Petrol - amount per mile||LPG - amount per mile|
|1400cc or less||10 pence||6 pence|
|1401cc to 2000cc||12 pence||8 pence|
|Over 2000cc||17 pence||11 pence|
|Engine size||Diesel - amount per mile|
|1600cc or less||8 pence|
|1601cc to 2000cc||9 pence|
|Over 2000cc||12 pence|
For fully electric cars the Advisory Electricity Rate is 4 pence per mile. But electricity is not a fuel for car fuel benefit purposes.
From 6th April 2020 the eligibility rules for an employer claiming the Employment Allowance will change. Employers will have to check if they meet the correct criteria in order to check if they are eligible to claim the allowance. Some of the eligibility rules are as follows:
In Budget 2020 it was announced that the Employment Allowance will increase from £3,000 to £4,000 from 6th April 2020 thus helping to reduce the employers’ (secondary) Class 1 National Insurance contributions liabilities.
In the tax years before 2020-21 the Employment Allowance claim auto-renewed, as in the employer did not have to make separate claims every tax year. But this is changing from 6th April 2020 onwards. The method of claiming through the Employer Payment Summary remains the same but the employer will have to make a new claim for the Employment Allowance to HMRC each tax year.
The new legislation of The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2020 was laid to Parliament on 3rd March 2020 and the changes will come into force on 6th April 2020.
In this legislation the maximum amount weekly pay for redundancy payment calculations will increase by £13 from £525 to £538 from 6th April. This law applies to England, Scotland and Wales.
Currently, where an ex gratia payment is made on termination of employment (on top of notice pay), the first £30,000 can be paid free of income tax and any amount above this is taxable. However, the entire payment is currently exempt from national insurance contributions. From 6 April 2020, the first £30,000 of any ex gratia termination payment (including any redundancy payment) will still be free of income tax and national insurance but any amount above this will be subject to Class 1A employer national insurance contributions.
Employees that are employed by their employer for two years or more are normally entitled to statutory redundancy payments. The age of the person can determine the monetary amount they received based on the following:
In England, Scotland and Wales the maximum an employee can be awarded for statutory redundancy is £15,750 and £16,410 in Northern Ireland. Statutory redundancy payments are capped at 20 years length of services.
In England, Scotland and Wales the maximum an employee can be awarded for compensation for unfair dismissal has increased by £2,075 to £88,519 from 6th April onwards.
An increase of £1 for the employment protection daily rate amount will apply to England, Scotland and Wales from the start of 2020-21. The new daily rate is £30.
At present there are no details of changes to the statutory maximum weekly amount or the employment protection daily rate amount for Northern Ireland. The maximum rate operating in 2019-20 was £547 per week and £29 respectively.
As of 10 March, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus increased to 373 in the UK, with cases across Europe also surging. With the number of cases bound to escalate, it has been predicted that if the coronavirus outbreak worsens, up to a fifth of UK workers could be off sick.
With panic over coronavirus soaring, many workers are being asked to stay away from the office and do day-to-day tasks from the comfort of their home. Not going into the office is an effective way of preventing the spread of coronavirus, because it minimises the risk of you coming into contact with someone carrying the disease.
The reality is, working from home is already very popular, potential pandemic or not. Flexible working is a trend that has emerged in the last decade as more people seek that ideal work-life balance instead of work-life burnout.
Nearly a quarter of Britain’s workforce now work flexibly, that is, they work part of the week in an office and part at home, highlighting how quickly this trend is growing. Flexible working brings many work-life balance benefits as employees have more time to see their family, exercise and dedicate time to themselves. Seven in 10 of those who work flexibly say they are less stressed as a result of their working arrangement.
As well as the health benefits, it often results in happier employees. They then potentially work harder and are more productive. For employers, flexible working also helps to attract and retain talented employees. Additionally, it can result in increased loyalty and reduced office space cost.
Businesses need to carefully consider which processes and tools will make flexible work as productive and positive as possible for their employees. You need to make sure that they have essentials such as laptops, a reliable internet connection and being able to connect to systems remotely. This would have been difficult a few years ago, but thanks to the cloud, you can have everything you need at all times.
Although the payroll itself cannot be processed online with BrightPay Connect, the payroll software is still very flexible. Each BrightPay licence can be installed on up to 10 PCs where users have the option to process the payroll from 10 separate locations meaning you don’t need cloud payroll to operate and process your payroll. In addition, you can log into your BrightPay Connect account to view your payroll information at any time. You no longer need to be seated at your desk in the office to access the system - all the data you need to do your job is available on any of the 10 PC’s that the BrightPay application is installed on.
If you are not using the BrightPay Connect add-on, you can still access the payroll data file through a cloud environment to process the payroll. Again, the software itself can be installed to the local C drive of up to 10 PCs, be it a home computer or a laptop. The payroll files can be stored on a secure server or cloud environment, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, where the payroll information can be accessed from multiple computers.
With BrightPay Connect’s automatic cloud backup, payroll information is stored online and can be accessed by employers anywhere, anytime. Employers can also use BrightPay Connect to remotely manage employee’s leave, upload employee documents and send communications to employees that are working remotely.
Will 2020 be the year in which office employees working more from home becomes the norm? Although many employers have implemented a mandatory ‘work from home’ policy as a precaution against coronavirus, it could also be the turning point for many businesses to recognise just how beneficial flexible working can be.
Start 2020 with some HR goals to put you on the front foot. Make your goals achievable and easy and you won’t be one of the 80% of people whose resolutions have fallen by the wayside by February 1st! Consider how technology could help you achieve a leaner you in 2020…
Hate all those repetitive admin tasks that keep popping up over and over like manually recording your employees annual leave, amending employees’ personal details, making sure they are receiving and reading important company updates? Well, now is the time to get rid of them. Consider how an online platform could take care of those tasks and many more.
Manage your HR tasks from almost anywhere by using your Employer Dashboard to monitor your employees annual leave requests, review your payroll reports and keep an eye on your HMRC payments. As long as you have an internet enabled device, it can all be at your fingertips… anytime, anywhere!
Use online document upload features to distribute, track and manage any information you want your staff to have access to. Contracts, policies, training, schedules, you name it. You have the peace of mind of knowing your employees have that information at their fingertips and that you can see a log of when and how often they are accessing it.
GDPR and cybersecurity. The two scariest words in the English language. Free yourself from that fear with a robust online portal. Fully secure servers, individually password protected and fully GDPR compliant.
New rates for the tax year 2020/21 for Student Loan Plans 1 and 2 have been announced by the Department of Education. The Student Loan Plan 1 rate will rise to £19,390 on 6th April 2020 from £18,935. The current Plan 2 rate of £25,725 will also rise to £26,575. Earnings above the thresholds for both Plan 1 and Plan 2 for 2020/21 will be calculated as normal at 9%.
The rate of the postgraduate loan type introduced in the 2019/20 tax year of £21,000 will remain the same in 2020/21 and will continue to be calculated at 6%.
Summary of the Student Plan thresholds:
This figure will apply to all current and future borrowers for whom employers make Student
Loan deductions. In BrightPay 2020/21, the new student loan repayment thresholds for both plans will automatically be calculated and the appropriate student loan deduction applied.
The Employment Allowance was introduced on 6 th April 2014 by HMRC as an allowance to reduce businesses’ and charities employers’ national insurance liability for the tax year. The employer Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) would be reduced up to the maximum of the allowance in the tax year. The allowance was introduced at £2,000 in the tax year 2014-15 but it was increased to £3,000 from 6 th April 2016 to the current tax year.
HMRC are in the process of drafting legislation to change the Employment Allowance for employers. The main change would be that to focus the Employment Allowance on small to medium businesses in the case that employers with a liability of Class 1 secondary National Insurance of £100,000 or more in the preceding tax year will not be able to claim the Employment Allowance. In order for an employer to be able to claim the Employment Allowance for the tax year, they must have space for the full Employment Allowance within their relevant de minimis state aid threshold.
HMRC intend for this legislation to come into effect from 6 th April 2020, once the regulations are published under powers in section 5 of the National Insurance Contributions Act 2014. In October 2019 a final version of the guidance will be published and made available for employers to view.
As an employer, if you provide expenses or benefits to employees or directors, you may need to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and pay tax and National Insurance on them. The means of reporting these details to HMRC is on a P11D and P11D(b) form. The P11D is a statutory form required by HMRC from UK based employers detailing the cash equivalents of benefits and expenses that they have provided during the tax year to their directors and employees. Your P11D(b) tells HMRC how much Class 1A National Insurance you need to pay on all the expenses and benefits you’ve provided.
The deadline for reporting these details to HMRC for the tax year 2018-19 is on or before the 6th July 2019. An employer will get a penalty of £100 per 50 employees from HMRC for each month or part month the P11D(b) is filed late. The employer needs to ensure that employees employed on 5th April 2019 receive their P11D / P9D by 6th July 2019. The deadline for the employer to submit payment to HMRC for the liability for Class1A National Insurance owed on benefits or expenses is 22nd of July (or 19th July if you pay by cheque).
Examples of expenses and benefits include:
Some business expenses or benefits do not need to be reported to HMRC such as business travel, business entertainment expenses, telephone bills and uniform and tools for work.
BrightPay can produce a P11D for sending to HMRC after year end, which includes your Class 1A NICs declaration and details of the expenses and benefits provided including cash equivalents. If the P11d(b) has been already submitted to HMRC from BrightPay and amendments have to be made you must submit using a paper form.
Click here for more information.
If you have eyes and ears then you will have heard something about Brexit lately as the deadline looms ever closer. Britain is currently like a cat that waits at the door crying to be let out but once the door is open, decides it doesn’t want to leave anymore. But never mind all these bigwigs in Westminster saying how this will affect that and so on; today I want to talk about what Brexit means for the unsung heroes of HR, in particular, payroll. How will leaving the EU affect their everyday work life? Well, there are a few key areas to note:
Data Protection - I mean, obviously. This has been pretty much every payroll department’s waking nightmare for the past year since GDPR was introduced. If you have been a good little payroll bureau then you will have all your ducks in a row. But even still, once we leave the EU, it’s up to the European Commission (EC) whether it grants the UK an ‘Adequacy Decision’ to transfer data around the region as the country will no longer be an EU member. So all going to plan it should be ok. But we all know that nothing has gone to plan so far, so in the event we weren’t given an Adequacy Decision, transferring data could become administratively burdensome for employers, especially global ones who rely on data exchanges across borders.
Payment processing - Money’s great isn’t it? Especially when someone puts it conveniently into your bank account. Do you know who loves money? Payroll. It’s their whole world! And what makes it easy to move money to all its lovely employees is being a member of the Single Euro Payments Area or SEPA. This is a body made up of EU member states (and a few non-EU ones too) that streamlines the sending and receiving of payments across SEPA regions meaning that payments are processed in the same way as UK payments. Therefore, continued membership of SEPA is of paramount importance to payroll providers and something they’ll be keeping an eye on.
Employment law - Payroll is made up of tons of HR stuff like holiday pay and maternity pay etc. And where we get the rulebook on these processes is from EU directives on employment law. Although these laws have been great, freedom from EU Directives means that the British government could decide to revisit some laws and make some reforms where necessary. Or maybe not! Who knows. Britain may want to maintain their obsequious stance to the EU to make life easier but it is still an interesting point.
Anything else? How you deal with EU staff (which you can read more about here). Social security payments made in Member states could see a big shift. Along with this, payroll functions that operate across more than one country with, say, expatriate staff could be in for a wild ride. But the most startling obvious thing at the moment is that nothing is really clear at all and none of us can predict what will come out of the woodwork.
The best way to safeguard your payroll against all this uncertainty is to make sure all your HR processes are in place and your payroll software is up-to-date and ready for changes).