In September 2016, fathers of children born in Ireland became eligible for the first time to take up to two weeks’ paternity leave and to receive Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection. Statistics collated from the first few months of the scheme show, however, that just one in four fathers eligible for the scheme chose to avail of it. This is in stark contrast to the expectation that 60% of eligible fathers would avail of the scheme when it was first announced.
Just over 5,000 paternity benefit applications were awarded during the first three months of the scheme going live, with County Longford, Kerry, Roscommon, and Clare having the fewest applicants. A larger uptake, however, was seen in County Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny.
A further 7,500 paternity benefit claims were subsequently awarded in the first four months of 2017. Under the new scheme, eligible fathers are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave. The two-week leave can be taken at any point within 28 weeks of the birth or adoption of a child, but the two weeks must be taken together.
A social welfare benefit of €235 per week is paid for the two weeks. It is at an employer’s discretion if they wish to top up this payment to the full weekly wage normally earned by the employee. Despite the low uptake so far, it is hoped that the number of applicants will increase as the scheme enters its second year in September.
Current statistics also don’t reflect fathers who may be delaying their paternity leave, for example, fathers whose child was born on February 28 this year can take it at any time up to September 1, 2017.
Guidance on how employers should treat Paternity Benefit and when it should be entered in Thesaurus Payroll Manager can be found here: https://www.thesaurus.ie/docs/2017/paternity-benefit/taxation-of-paternity-benefit/
Related article: Equality for working Dads with new Paternity Leave
Data protection and how personal data is managed is changing forever. On 25 May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force. The GDPR is a European privacy regulation replacing all existing data protection regulations.
The current data protection legislation in Ireland dates back to 1998 and 2003, predating current levels of internet usage and cloud technology, making it unsuitable for today’s digital economy.
The GDPR will apply to any personal data of EU cititzens, regardless of whether it is stored within or outside the EU. Most, if not all companies, process a level of personal data, whether it is customer details or employee details, therefore businesses need to be aware and plan for the new legislation.
What is Personal Data
The GDPR substantially expands the definition of personal data. Under GDPR, personal data is any information related to a person, for example a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, their personnel file, or a computer IP address.
Some of the key changes included as part of the GDPR include:
Consent must be clear, distinguishable from other matters and provided in an easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.
Breach Notifications: where a breach occurs, the Data Protection Commission and affected data subjects must be notified within 72 hours of the breach coming to light.
Data Subjects will have additional rights, including:
Ignoring the new legislation is ill advised as there are tough new fines for non-compliance. Companies or organisations found to be in breach of the legislation will face fines of up to 4% of annual global revenue or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater. The Data Protection Commissioner is the authority responsible for enforcing data protection obligations in Ireland. In preparation for the legislation, the Commission is doubling it’s workforce, leaving no doubt that they will be taking their new responsibilities extremely seriously.
If you have yet to start planning for GDPR click here for guidance on how to prepare.
The Low Pay Commission has recommended that the National Minimum Wage be increased by 30c per hour, from €9.25 per hour to €9.55 per hour from 1st January 2018. An employee working a 40 hour week will see their gross wage increase by €12.00 a week. Since 2011 this is the fourth increase in the national minimum wage.
In the report the Low Pay Commission has published it has explained with necessary data of its recommendation of the increase, including international competitive and risks to the economy research. In The Low Pay Commission’s findings submissions from interested parties and consultations with employees and employers in relevant economic sectors had taken place.
This increase will affect around 120,000 employees, increasing their national minimum wage by 3%. 10.1% of employees were earning the National Minimum Wage or less last year according to figures published from the Central Statistics Office last April.
While Taoiseach Leo Vardakar said ‘The Government welcomes the recommendation from the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Minimum Wage by 30c to €9.55 per hour’, the Programme for Government commitment for a minimum wage of €10.50 per hour is still a few steps off.
The 2017 Living Wage has been set at €11.70 per hour, up from €11.50 last year. The new figure represents an increase of 20 cent per hour on the previous rate. The recommended living wage rate is now nearly a third higher than the legally required minimum wage, which is set at €9.25 an hour.
The 20 cent increase in the Living Wage was arrived at upon consideration of a number of changes in the cost of living and the taxation regime in the last year. The Living Wage for the Republic of Ireland was established in 2014, and is updated in July of each year. It is part of a growing international trend to establish an evidence-based hourly income that a full-time worker needs so that they can experience a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.
Revenue officials regularly carry out prearranged and/or unannounced visits to business premises across the country inspecting various aspects of taxation compliance. Perhaps a lesser known fact, however, is that on request during any such visit, employers have a statutory obligation to produce a Register of Employees.
What is a Register of Employees
A Register of Employees must contain the following information:
The register will not only contain information for full-time staff but also must include temporary, part-time or casual employees.
The obligation to maintain a Register of Employees is separate to an employer's obligation to register with Revenue for PAYE purposes.
Storing the Register
The Register of Employees must be kept either at the normal place of employment of each employee or at the main place of business of the employer, for example, a business’s HQ. The register may be in paper or electronic format.
Employers who outsource their payroll and normally retain very little information on site must be aware that the onus remains on them to keep and maintain the Register or Employees at the normal place of business.
The Penalty for Non-Compliance
Failure by a company to keep and maintain a Register of Employees carries a penalty of €4,000.
Following the announcement in last October’s Budget 2016, Revenue entered a consultation on the modernisation of the PAYE system.
Revenue’s proposal is that employers will report pay, tax and other deductions at the same time as they process and finalise their payroll. Similar to Real Time Information (RTI) in the UK, details of employees starting or leaving employment will be reported on the date of commencement/cessation and will eliminate the filing of P30, P35 and P45 forms.
Although, many businesses across Ireland have broadly welcomed the forthcoming introduction, some smaller businesses have expressed concern about the additional administrative burden due to poor internet access and the additional hours it may involve. Many businesses will be a risk as they have not invested in payroll software where they calculate their payroll manually.
Last April Revenue disclosed that it received 77 submissions to the consultation which represented a broad range of interests, both from large and small companies. For larger employers, the transition will be relatively straightforward, but Revenue is looking at alternatives to accommodate smaller employers, in particular, those who may still process their payroll manually.
IBEC state that while most of its members welcome the change, it is important that the system is flexible. A professional services group also warned that the work involved for employers to prepare for the implementation of PAYE modernisation / Real Time Reporting (RTR) should not be underestimated.
Thesaurus Software / BrightPay Ireland already has the experience and expertise in developing the same real time features and functions for our UK customers. We are already collaborating with Revenue to ensure the transition for our customers to Real Time Reporting (RTR) / PAYE modernisation is smooth, user-friendly and ready for implementation in January 2019.
For further information, Revenue have provided the following link:
From 1st January 2019, whenever Irish employers pay their employees, a file must be submitted (electronically) to Revenue containing details of these payments. Unlike the annual P35, this file must be submitted each pay period. Find out more about what direct effects this will have on employers.
Ransomware is when your files are held for ransom. It is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing their data until such time as a ransom is paid. Learn more about keeping your payroll data safe.
The technology that Thesaurus Payroll utilises will be updated and improved from January 2018. As a result of this improvement, Payroll Manager will no longer be able to run on Windows XP operating systems. This technological enhancement brings many performance, reliability and security improvements.
Our sister product, Bright Contracts enables you to create tailored, professional contracts of employment and staff handbooks. What was once a very expensive and time-consuming process can now be done on your PC.
BrightPay is a payroll product that provides superior features and functionality for bureaus. You can easily import your employer information into BrightPay from Thesaurus Software. What’s more it’s only €299 for a bureau licence.
Thesaurus Cloud is an optional cloud and HR add-on which offers an online self service portal for employees, secure cloud backups, annual leave management and more.
When conducting an interview you may veer off your pre-set questions when building rapport with a candidate and to do a little digging in some areas, however asking the wrong question could leave you at risk of a hefty discrimination claim.
What is PAYE Modernisation?
From 1st January 2019, whenever Irish employers pay their employees, a file must be submitted (electronically) to Revenue containing details of these payments. The contents of this file will be similar to the details currently submitted in the annual P35, however, unlike the annual P35, this file must be submitted each pay period. Therefore, in most cases, the submission will be made either weekly or monthly.
This real time information will enable Revenue to ensure that employees are receiving their correct credits and cut off points. This in turn should mean that the incidence of year end over/underpayments of income tax will be substantially reduced.
Employees will also be able to log on to their Revenue account and, among other things, view the information that the employer has submitted in respect of them.
What direct effect will this have on employers?
In the main, this should be good for employers. Most of the “P” forms (P45s, P46s, P60s and P35s) will be no more as the new periodic file will supersede them.
Payroll software will automatically submit the periodic file to Revenue without the need to physically upload a file on the ROS website. In addition, payroll software will get automatically updated with employee credits and cut off points, again without the need to check for and download P2C files from the ROS website.
The correct treatment of illness benefit should also be facilitated by the new system, eliminating the guesswork and complication involved in the current system.
So, all in all, PAYE modernisation should represent a positive change for employers.
What are the possible downsides for employers?
For most employers there should be no downside, in fact the whole payroll process will be somewhat easier, thanks mainly to payroll software interacting directly with Revenue’s systems.
For those employers who do things after the fact e.g. they pay employees an amount and then sort it out later by working things backwards with the software (net to gross), the transition to PAYE modernisation could be somewhat problematic.
Submission of the periodic file will be required in or around the pay date and late submissions may lead to Revenue intervention. Submission of correction files will be accommodated by the new system, however constant correction submissions may also lead to Revenue intervention and possible interest and penalties. Therefore submission of “best guess” periodic files, followed later by correction files, to reflect what was actually paid, will not be advisable.
These employers need to regularise their business processes so as to ensure that the payroll they process is done so in real time, either by using payroll software or by using their accountants or payroll bureaux on a more timely basis.
This change in mindset is perhaps the largest single challenge facing PAYE modernisation.
Thesaurus Software and PAYE Modernisation
Thesaurus Software is already collaborating with Revenue through the payroll software representative body, the PSDA (Payroll Software Developers Association), to help ensure that the final version of PAYE Modernisation is workable and ready for implementation by 2019.
Our experience in developing similar functionality in the UK means that our development team have the expertise and experience to create the best solution for our Irish customers.
In keeping with our pricing culture, there will be no additional charge for the new functionality.
The technology that Thesaurus Payroll Manager utilises will be updated and improved from January 2018. As a result of this improvement, Thesaurus Payroll Manager will no longer be able to run on Windows XP operating systems. This technological enhancement brings many performance, reliability and security improvements, while also opening up new possibilities for our development team to add further functionality. Users will not notice any obvious difference using Thesaurus Payroll Manager 2018 compared to previous versions as all the changes are operating in the background.
Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP in April 2014. This means that Microsoft are no longer releasing upgrades for these systems. Although Windows XP machines may still work normally, it does mean that these PCs are more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
If you are still using Windows XP, you should consider upgrading to a newer PC or operating system. Due to the greater security risks, more and more programmes and applications are discontinuing support for Windows XP. Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported. If your Windows XP PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 8 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats.
These security threats became a reality for many Windows XP users in recent weeks with more than 200,000 organisations becoming victims of the widespread ransomware attack, WannaCry. This cyber attack affected organisations across the globe, including hospitals, banks and government agencies. The majority of these victims were using outdated or older Windows operating systems, such as Windows XP and Windows Vista.
While we do apologise for any inconvenience this change may cause, it is the best decision for our customers’ security and user experience.
Ransomware, like the name suggests, is when your files are held for ransom. It is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing their data until such time as a ransom is paid. The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows. If you want to decrypt them, you have to pay. If the ransom isn’t paid, the data is often lost forever.
A ransomware attack, also known as WannaCry or WeCrypt, recently spread across the globe and is believed to have affected over 200,000 organisations. The cyber-attack struck banks, hospitals and government agencies in more than 150 countries, exploiting known vulnerabilities in Microsoft operating systems.
Thesaurus Cloud is an optional add-on to your payroll software that allows employers to automatically and securely backup payroll data to a highly secure cloud server, ensuring that you will never lose your payroll data if you are the victim of an attack.
You may decide that you only want to use Thesaurus Cloud for payroll backups, however, the features listed below can also be availed of.
With Thesaurus Cloud, employers can invite their employees to their own self-service portal. Employees can login to their own personal account, be it on their PC, tablet or smartphone, where they can view payroll documents relevant to them, with a full history of payslips and P60s. Employees can also request annual leave and view annual leave remaining through their portal.
Furthermore, Thesaurus Cloud provides users with an annual leave management facility and a document upload facility, where all information is stored within the same location. With the document upload, employers can upload employee contracts & staff handbooks, training manuals, employment documents and much more, which can be accessed by employers and employees on any device.
Find out more about Thesaurus Cloud with an online demo.