A thank you note,
Well where should I start? When the whole country went into lockdown back in March, I was faced with the new task of working from home with my three young children.
So overnight I became a work/stay-at-home mom and a teacher all at once! It was definitely a huge challenge which was very stressful at times; trying to find a new routine that we could all settle into but we managed for the most part.
Working on the phones during this time has also been a huge task as everything about how payroll was processed had changed in both Ireland and the UK. All the different rules and processes that we had to learn about as all our customers were coming to us looking for answers was another hurdle in itself. We had a number of software upgrades that were released based on changes made by Revenue which also had to be tested before being released.
My children are aged 9, 6 and (just turned) 5 so the younger two don’t understand the concept of being quiet and would be hurtling through the house playing games with each other, making as much noise as they possibly could! And then my dogs would start barking wanting to join in on all the fun! Always the way when you want them to be quiet. But every single person I spoke to on the phones was so understanding and compassionate with me always telling me to tend to them first and not to worry.
All of our customers themselves were under an enormous amount of pressure because, let’s face it, they are the ones that have to process payroll at the end of the day and are the ones answerable to all their employees if something isn’t done right. Payroll during this pandemic was crucial and even though themselves were under pressure they always related back to my situation with understanding. So thank you, each and every one of you.
I also wanted to say another huge thank you to my managers and colleagues. Everyone has been so supportive of one another. We can no longer see each other to bounce queries off each other so we now communicate through Teams which has been a lifesaver. Anytime anyone mentioned that they were having a rough day or morning they would always tell you to go off the phones to make yourself a cuppa and come back when you’ve managed to breath - that they would man the phones and not to be worrying. This in itself was massive.
I just wholeheartedly wanted to say thank you to everyone for all your understanding and support as the last 8 months wouldn’t have been possible without it!
Here are the main points from Budget 2021, as delivered by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.
There is no change to tax rates for 2021, the standard rate will remain at 20% and the higher rate at 40%.
In addition, there is no change to Standard Rate Cut Off Points (SRCOPs).
The Earned Income Tax Credit will be increased by €150 from €1,500 to €1,650 to bring it in line with the PAYE tax credit.
The Dependent Relative Tax Credit will be increased by €175 from €70 to €245 to support families with caring responsibilities.
For 2021, USC will apply at the following rates for those earning in excess of €13,000
|Up to €12,012||0.5%|
Medical card holders and individuals aged 70 years and older whose aggregate income does not exceed €60,000 will pay a maximum rate of 2%.
The emergency rate of USC remains at 8%.
Non-PAYE income in excess of €100,000 is subject to USC at 11%.
The National Minimum Wage will increase by 10 cent from €10.10 to €10.20 per hour from January 1st 2021.
The weekly threshold for the higher rate of employer PRSI will increase to €398 from €395, this is in line with the increase in the National Minimum Wage.
The age to qualify for the State Pension will remain at 66 for 2021, it was due to increase to 67.
The ‘waiting days’ for Illness Benefit will reduce from 6 days to 3 days for all new claims from the end of February 2021.
Parent’s Benefit has been increased by three weeks, this brings it up to five weeks. The leave must be taken during the first year following the birth of a child.
The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is due to continue until 31st March 2021, a wage subsidy scheme in some form is expected to be in place until the end of 2021.
The tax debt warehousing scheme will be expanded to include repayments of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) owed by employers.
A new scheme was introduced for businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, it will provide support for businesses that have had to close because of Covid-19. The scheme is operational from October 13th until March 31st 2021.
The payment will be calculated as a percentage of the business’s average weekly VAT exclusive turnover in 2019 subject to a maximum payment of €5,000 per week. The first payments are expected to be made in Mid-November.
The 13.5% rate of VAT for the tourism and hospitality sector will be reduced to 9% from November 1st 2020, the reduced rate will remain in place until December 31st 2021.
For the latest payroll updates, don’t miss our next free webinar where we are joined by Revenue.
10.30am | 19th November
If you are unable to attend the webinar at the specified time, simply register and we will send you the recording afterwards.
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme – also known as TWSS, was in operation since 26th March, and it ended on 31st August. The subsidy was processed through the payroll as a non-taxable addition, and instead, the subsidy will be taxable and USC-able via an end of year review by Revenue.
Employees will be taxed via a reduction in tax credits and cut off points from 2022. Revenue have confirmed that the liability will be collected over 4 years to avoid hardship. Employees will have the opportunity to pay it in full before then if they wish.
There are two stages to the TWSS Reconciliation process. For stage one, employers are required to report the actual subsidy that they paid to employees on each pay date.
BrightPay makes it easy to create these TWSS CSV Reconciliation files within the 'Employees' section of the payroll software. The CSV file can then be uploaded in the Employer Services section on ROS, as per Revenue's requirements. This file must be uploaded to ROS by 31st October. If you do not provide this data about payments to your employees, Revenue will recoup the total temporary wage subsidy paid and related interest charges.
Stage two of the reconciliation process is due to commence later this month, and during this stage, the total subsidy payable amounts will be compared against the subsidy amounts paid to the employer. Revenue will then determine the amount of TWSS, if any, owing back to Revenue from employers.
A Statement of Account will be sent to your ROS inbox. You will either be paid any additional amount due to you by Revenue or be required to repay any amount that you owe to Revenue.
In some cases, an employer may decide, or Revenue may instruct the employer, to repay to Revenue some or all the subsidy refund payment received from Revenue. Employers can repay excess subsidy values to Revenue via a new facility within ROS, this can be done under Payments & Refunds by selecting ’Submit a Payment’ and then TWSS (Employer). Customers should no longer use the Revenue bank account details previously provided for repayments of TWSS.
Only subsidy amounts should be repaid to Revenue through this method - Do not include any repayments in respect of income tax and USC through this RevPay facility. This should be done separately under PAYE EMP to ensure that the payment is correctly reflected on the employers PAYE EMP balance.
To ensure that the TWSS was operated correctly, Revenue are conducting a programme of compliance checks on all employers who availed of the scheme at any stage. Letters are being issued to employers and tax agents. Revenue were previously sending these to certain employers/agents via MyEnquiries. Since the start of October, Revenue have started sending them direct to the main ROS inbox, along with all other correspondence, so there’s a greater chance that they could be missed.
The letter will set out the steps that employers need to take to verify their compliance with the regulations of the TWSS.
Employers will need to confirm:
At this point employers are not expected to provide detailed documentation to prove that they have met the employer eligibility criteria but based on the summary provided, Revenue may look for more detailed information in some cases.
If you receive such a letter, please note that there is a 5-day time limit to respond to the Revenue’s request. It is essential that employers respond promptly as failure to do so will lead to immediate escalation. Therefore, it is important that employers keep an eye on both the ROS inbox and MyEnquiries or the letter.
This Revenue compliance check is not part of an audit or intervention. Instead, it is a request for information to provide assurance that the scheme was operated as intended by employers.
In addition, the compliance check programme will address any issues identified in respect of the operation of PAYE Modernisation by employers over 2019 and 2020. It will also provide an opportunity for employers to address any other outstanding tax issues that they may have.
For the latest payroll updates don’t miss our next free webinar, where we are joined by Revenue.
10.30am | 19th November
If you are unable to attend the webinar at the specified time, simply register and we will send you the recording afterwards.
The Construction Workers' Pension Scheme (CWPS) is an industry-wide, occupational pension scheme providing pension solutions for employees in the construction and related industries, providing economic pension and protection benefits to both employees and employers.
It is designed to allow construction workers and their families retirement and low-cost protection cover. CWPS has over 30,000 active members employed by over 2,000 employers and is amongst the biggest occupational pension schemes in Ireland.
An increase in the rates will take effect on 1st October 2020 as agreed in the Sectoral Employment Order. The employer contribution total increases by 2.7% from €29.79 to €30.60 and the employee’s contribution total increases by 2.7% from €20.03 to €20.57.
A breakdown of the new rates are below:
|With effect from 1/10/2020|
|Pension Contribution Employer||€28.09|
|Pension Contribution Employee||€18.73|
|Life Assurance Contribution Employer||€1.17|
|Life Assurance Contribution Employee||€1.17|
|Sick Pay Contribution Employer||€1.34|
|Sick Pay Contribution Employee||€0.67|
|Total Employer Rate||€30.60|
|Total Employee Rate||€20.57|
There are no changes for the additional voluntary extras of Construction Workers Health Trust member contribution of €1.00 and the Benevolent Funds of employer contribution of €0.19 and member contribution of €0.50.
Right now employers across the country are preparing to bring their employees back to work. This requires some adjustments as we all do our best to adapt to “the new normal”. For businesses where staff can work from home, this means facilitating remote working. And for businesses where staff must come into the workplace, it means finding ways to make the workplace as safe as possible to protect employees.
The good news is that, regardless of which of these two categories your business falls into, BrightPay Connect can help make this transitional phase easier for both employers and employees. In particular, our document upload facility is of huge value when it comes to making the necessary preparations and keeping your employees updated on what changes they can expect when they come back to work.
Using BrightPay Connect, employers can upload any kind of document to distribute to employees through a secure online portal. These documents can include everything from company policies, handbooks and news items to more sensitive information such as employee files.
When uploading each document to the portal, HR managers can choose which employees can view it. They may choose to make it available to all employees, in the case of a Healthy and Safety policy for example, or they may choose to make it only available to one individual employee or a team/department.
Once the document has been uploaded, employees will receive a notification letting them know. They can view and download it via their employee dashboard on a laptop or PC, or via their BrightPay Connect employee app on a mobile or tablet device. The HR manager or employer will be able to see who has read the document on a time-stamped log.
While this facility offers significant benefits to employers at any time of the year regardless of the circumstances, it is even more beneficial now during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because under the new Return To Work Safely Protocol (a document released by the Government which outlines what businesses must do to prepare for returning to work), employers are obliged to create and share a significant amount of documentation with employees.
This documentation includes a COVID-19 Response Plan, detailing all points of relevance relating to COVID-19 in your workplace, and Pre-Return To Work Forms, which must be completed by employees at least 3 days before their return to the workplace.
The protocol also specifies that information and guidance should be provided by employers to workers, which should include:
By making all of these documents available on BrightPay Connect, employees can access everything they need in one secure online hub and download anything they need straight to their smartphone. Employers can also send out reminders to employees who haven’t accessed a particular document, to make sure they do so before they come back to work.
In addition to the usefulness of BrightPay Connect’s document upload facility in making preparations for returning to work, it has several benefits in more general terms.
1. It’s More Sustainable
It goes without saying that uploading documents to an online portal is significantly more sustainable than printing them all off and sending them out to each employee. This is a great way to add to your businesses efforts to “go green” where possible.
2. It’s Faster
It’s also much faster to upload your company documents in this way than to send them out via post. Plus, being able to track when your employees have opened, read or downloaded them means that you can ensure everyone is ready before returning to work.
3. It’s Trackable
The fact that employers can check who has read the uploaded documents is crucial to ensuring that your staff comply with new government guidelines on workplace safety during COVID-19. For example, if an employee was to ignore health and safety measures and claim that they didn’t know such measures existed, you could simply check whether or not they had read the document on your employer dashboard. This adds a level of protection for employers if any potential disputes arise.
4. It’s Customizable
Human resource managers will love the fact that they can choose who can and cannot view documents. That’s because not only does BrightPay Connect allow them to store and share all company-wide information online, but it also provides them with a secure portal where they can store all employee-related files, without worrying about employees seeing them.
5. It’s Secure
Finally, BrightPay Connect provides much needed security at a time when data protection has never been more vital. Infinitely safer than storing paper-based files and sensitive information, Connect’s cloud backup means that you don’t need to worry about losing data or having it fall into the wrong hands.
Join BrightPay on Thursday 13th of August at 10.30am for a free COVID-19 & Payroll webinar. In this webinar, we explore some key changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, the payroll implications or rehiring employees and employee’s annual leave entitlements during COVID-19.
Register today for your free place, and if you can’t make it on the day, don’t worry. You’ll be able to watch the webinar on demand at any time that suits you.
Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children has announced that three additional weeks of parents leave has been proposed for Cabinet approval for parents of children born during the Covid-19 pandemic. This means parents leave will increase from two weeks to five weeks for new parents with children born after 1st November 2019. The rate of pay for this additional parents leave will be €245 per week. But this additional parents’ leave will not be available until it comes into effect in November 2020.
Every parent is currently entitled to two weeks’ parents leave in the first year when their child is born or adopted on or after 1st November 2019. Parental leave is different where a parent is entitled to take unpaid leave from work up to a current maximum of twenty two weeks to look after their children. This is changing to twenty six weeks on 1st September 2020.
Subscribe to our mailing list for more information on this and other important updates.
As of 10 March, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus increased to 24 in Ireland, with cases across Europe also surging. With the number of cases bound to escalate, Leo Varakar has said that if the coronavirus outbreak worsens, between 50% and 60% of the Irish population could be affected.
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.
Finally, after years of promises, the Irish Government has set a date for auto- enrolment to be rolled out in Ireland in the year 2022. It’s exciting news because it has been apparent for a long time that the current State pension is just not enough to have a decent standard of living. But while the need for auto- enrolment is unanimously agreed upon, people still have opinions on the means of delivering it.
Look, it was never going to be easy. Regina Doherty, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (aka the woman behind the wheel) has previously described auto- enrolment as “perhaps the most fundamental policy reform in a generation”. Not an easy feat! With such a momentous task there will always be a diverse range of feedback, which is a polite way of saying that people have some concerns.
So what are these concerns? While there are valid opinions from actuaries and the like, I want to just concentrate on us little folk; the regular Joes and Jills and how auto- enrolment may affect us. The most resounding criticism at this level is the exclusion of certain groups of workers, including those under 23 or over 60, those earning below €20,000 and the self-employed. However, although not automatically enrolled, members of these groups would still be able to opt in to the system.
A lot of people are also wondering about the State pension - isn’t it enough? Well, the answer is no. Although promised in the past, the State pension has still not increased in line with wages or inflation and let’s face it, €12,000 a year won’t be enough for a bag of cough drops and a couple of pints in a few years, let alone a decent standard of living!
The number of people over 65 in Ireland is set to double in the coming years, and it’s estimated that two- thirds of them are currently employed and do not have a workplace pension. Don’t worry, the State pension won’t be gotten rid of altogether. Auto- enrolment is seen as a top-up, starting at the proposed 1% of your wages, and rising to 6% after 10 years. With employers required to contribute the same amount, 12% of your salary will be going towards your pension pot. Not bad right?
And what about employers? “How much is this going to cost me?” and “How much extra work is involved” I hear them grumble. While it’s true that employers will have the additional financial cost of contributing towards their employees’ pension schemes, it doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. If you’re fortunate enough to use a good payroll software then this will handle and automate the administrative duties for you. If you aren’t fortunate enough then let me tell you about BrightPay.
With BrightPay it’s simple. We have the experience to guide you through the process, having already rolled out a similar system in the UK. BrightPay will automate auto- enrolment duties at no additional cost. All BrightPay payroll packages will include auto- enrolment plus free phone and email support to help you through your auto- enrolment journey.
Like it or not, auto- enrolment is on its way. It’s normal to have doubts and concerns, but given our savings rates, demographics and the increasing number of people who rely on State pension, then auto- enrolment is definitely the right path for Ireland and all of us future golden oldies.
BrightPay Payroll Software will be able to seamlessly cater for Auto Enrolment without any additional costs to the software, and also includes free phone and email support.
All of us, in the hyper-connected internet era, have found ourselves at a loss when using some software, website or app. You just want to do one thing, or you want to set something up and...you just can’t.
It might feel like specific software or apps are testing us in some way. Only those who can navigate through the narrow tunnels of this software are genuinely worthy, in some weird twist on the Arthurian legend of Excalibur.
But all of this struggle defeats the entire purpose of working digitally and efficiently, particularly for already busy professionals like accountants. All payroll software should be straightforward to use and set up. This is true for BrightPay’s payroll software, and even easier again is BrightPay Connect - the payroll add-on offering cloud integration and an online portal.
BrightPay Connect requires no downloads or manual data input. Everything is automatically available for your clients, where your clients can just log in to their own password-protected portal anytime, anywhere. The online portal gives clients access to all employee payslips, employee leave and payroll reports that you would have previously emailed to clients each pay period.
And there are levels to this, too. Senior employees or managers can be given different levels of administration to approve leave, change employee details, view employee payslips, and access payroll reports.
We understand that you don’t offer one-size-fits-all service to your clients, and your payroll software functionality needs to match that. BrightPay is flexible, and your involvement in the payroll process can be ramped up or scaled back as required.
BrightPay’s employer self-service portal has built-in features giving your clients a ready-to-go and easy-to-use HR solution. HR documents can be uploaded including employee handbooks and contracts, disciplinary documents, company newsletters, training material and more.
Clients can also manage all leave for their employees. These features will automate and streamline many of the day-to-day HR functions that your clients deal with. The benefits of the payroll service you offer cascades down throughout the business.
BrightPay Connect gives accountants the ability to send requests to their clients where the clients can now enter payments, additions and deductions for their employees and can also add new starters through their online employer dashboard.
From there, BrightPay Connect goes one step further with the approval feature allowing you to securely send clients a payroll summary for them to approve before the payroll is finalised. Ultimately, your client will be accountable for ensuring that the payroll information is 100% correct before the payroll is finalised.
Very quickly, your payroll bureau becomes an indispensable part of the business’s administration. By embracing cloud innovation, accountants can really streamline and automate much of the payroll process. And with BrightPay’s easy-to-use, automated software, it’s a low touch, easy-to-manage process. What more can you ask for?
Book a demo today to discover how BrightPay’s award-winning software can improve your payroll processes and save you time.
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 Revenue 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.