Since the beginning of 2020, Thesaurus Software has welcomed a total of 34 new hires. As a result of this significant growth, 2021 sees the opening of our new office. The purpose-built offices are at the top of the spectrum in terms of energy efficiency and are a huge stride towards Thesaurus Software’s ambitious target of becoming net zero by 2023.
What is net zero?
Net zero refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas we produce and the amount that we remove from the atmosphere. This means that we aim to reduce our carbon dioxide (C02) emissions as much as possible while offsetting any remaining carbon balance.
Globally, the built environment was responsible for 28% of energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019. And so, through our new building we hope to play our small part in Europe’s aim to be the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Key features of our new building include:
Images of our new energy-efficient offices in Co. Meath, Ireland.
We have recently seen the gradual return to the office for our employees who have worked remotely during the pandemic. The excitement and energy around the new building has reinvigorated our efforts to reduce our carbon emissions, with the whole team eager to get involved.
While our new building is a huge step in our journey, we still have some way to go before we reach our target. Sign up to our sustainability newsletter for future updates on our progress and the steps we are taking to reach our goal of net zero by 2023.
Learning, development and continuously moving forward is embedded in who we are and what we do at Thesaurus. However, it is not always payroll related!
For one week in May, through our Learning at Work Week, we put an extra focus on the personal development of all our staff.
When thinking about how we could further develop our skills, where better to look for alternative skills and knowledge than in-house to our own fantastic staff.
Over the course of the week, four talented staff volunteered to each run a virtual lunchtime workshop.
Day 1: Maria a Payroll Specialist from our Support Team kicked off the week with Holiday Spanish for our post Covid-19 holidays.
Day 2: Caoimhe from our Migrations Team shared her love and talent for Irish Sign Language, the preferred language of 5,000 deaf people in Ireland.
Day 3: Jonathan one of our Developers treated us to a yoga class, teaching us some of the beginner's poses and moon salutations.
Day 4: June from our Accounts department gave us a breadmaking demonstration and shared her famous soda bread with us. We tried to recreate June’s famous bread from our own kitchens and had fun sharing our creations afterwards.
About the experience, Caoimhe said; ‘It was a fantastic experience to be involved in and to be able to share my passion for Irish Sign Language was brilliant. I believe it is a language more should learn so to be able to teach some of the basics to my colleagues was amazing’.
A big thank you to Maria, Caoimhe, Jonathan and June for volunteering their time and sharing their skills. Engagement from staff right across the company was fantastic all week and boy did we have fun! We are excited for next year to see what hidden talents our colleagues will teach us next.
With the recent ransomware attack on the HSE still disrupting Irish health services, the subject of ransomware is on all our minds. Taking backups of your data is so important in order to quickly restore data to get back up and running as soon as possible. All data in Thesaurus Connect is stored securely within Microsoft Azure data stores, access to which have been tightly restricted to a limited set of servers and IP addresses.
The EWSS continues to be a requirement for many, with 43% of small businesses still availing of the scheme. Yesterday it was announced that the scheme would be extended until 31 December 2021 with a modification to widen eligibility. The enhanced rates of support and the reduced rate of Employers’ PRSI will remain in place until at least September.
A self-service system is the simplest way to manage your staff's annual leave – both from a HR and employee perspective. Give employees control to request annual leave, view leave taken and leave remaining all through an app on their smartphone or tablet.
Employers have until June 30th, 2021, to:
By introducing cloud innovation to your business, employers can work more efficiently by streamlining administrative processes and delegating manual tasks to employees. Download our free guide to find out more.
Unfortunately, we have all become way too familiar with certain concepts over the course of the past year. Concepts such as R number, variants etc. With the recent ransomware attack on the HSE still disrupting Irish health services, the subject of ransomware is on all our minds.
One of the important lessons that we can take from ransomware is how we should have backups to quickly restore data to get back up and running as soon as possible, if data was lost after a breach.
If you use Thesaurus Connect alongside our payroll software, you can be assured that you already have this covered.
All data in Thesaurus Connect is stored securely within Microsoft Azure data stores, access to which have been tightly restricted to a limited set of servers and IP addresses. These data stores are replicated across multiple data centres to protect against a major data loss event impacting a particular data centre. Furthermore, the data itself is encrypted and multiple versions of your employer data are retained as a further safeguard. All traffic into and out of Thesaurus Connect is encrypted using SSL and we undergo regular penetration testing to ensure our public-facing applications are secure and resilient.
This should provide some comfort for you if you are already using Thesaurus Connect.
If the payroll data on your own device is compromised, it should be worthless as many of the key fields (e.g. PPSN, names, bank details) are already encrypted within the software.
If you do not use Thesaurus Connect, please ensure that you keep regular external backups of your data. You might even consider using Thesaurus Connect for this. View the pricing model for Thesaurus Connect where users are billed on a monthly subscription, based on usage where you only pay for what you use.
There are many other Thesaurus Connect benefits that we would be delighted to show you on a free 15-minute demo. Book now.
The introduction of automatic enrolment in Ireland will be delayed until at least 2023. The scheme's purpose is for workers to supplement their state pension as a shocking 40% of private sectors workers rely solely on the state pension to fund their retirement. This will mean by law, that employers will have to enrol their employees in a workplace pension scheme. Auto enrolment was supposed to be introduced at the beginning of 2021. It’s now looking like it will be rolled out in 2023, but it could be extended yet again as the full details for auto enrolment are still being ironed out by the government.
During the phased roll out of auto enrolment, employees will be required to make initial minimum default pension contributions of 1.5% of their qualifying earnings, increasing by 1.5 percentage points every 3 years thereafter to a maximum contribution of 6% at the beginning of year 10.
Employers will be required to make matching (tax deductible) pension contributions on behalf of the employee at the specified contribution rate to help fund their retirement. This means that employees, employers and the State will each contribute to the member’s account.
Employees between the ages of 23 and 60 who earn €20,000 or more per annum (across all employments) will be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme with no waiting period. All employees outside of these criteria may opt in themselves. Mandatory auto enrolment requirements won’t apply to any employee who is already a member of a pension scheme, provided the scheme meets certain minimum standards. Automatic enrolment will be an earnings-related workplace savings system where employees will retain the freedom to opt out if they wish.
It's important that employers understand what they need to do and prepare early. Employers should educate themselves on auto enrolment and familiarise themselves with the terminology. Businesses may need to think about one-off costs to set up an auto enrolment pension scheme, as well as the ongoing cost of paying money into the scheme and managing the process.
If you are a new business and employing staff for the first time after auto enrolment is introduced, your legal duties for automatic enrolment will begin on the day your first member of staff starts work. There will be guidance and support available to ensure that businesses comply with auto enrolment.
If you’re fortunate enough to use a good payroll software then this will handle and automate the administrative duties for you. With Thesaurus Payroll Manager, there will be no additional charge for any of the auto enrolment features. All of this will be included as part of your payroll software package, which also includes free customer phone and email support.
At Thesaurus Software, we already experienced the rollout of auto enrolment in the UK, with our UK payroll product, BrightPay. Auto enrolment phased in at the beginning of October 2012, starting with the larger UK companies. Every company in the UK enrolled employees into a pension scheme by 1st February 2018. BrightPay UK introduced auto enrolment features which enabled users to automate and simplify the entire process, so we are already experts in the field and well prepared for the rollout in Ireland.
The extension of auto enrolment beyond 2023 looks very possible as the target market for auto enrolment is younger, lower-paid workers in sectors such as Wholesale and Retail Trade, Accommodation and Food Services, Construction and Industry. These sectors have been worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding an extra cost to these employers and employees who have been living off the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) for the past year, to suddenly start paying into a pension fund, seems unfair and unlikely.
As we finally leave Level 5 lockdown, we are taking one step closer to a more ‘normal’ life. As such, more businesses will be opening, more employees will no longer need to claim the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, and new employees will be hired. All of this means that employers have a busy few months ahead of them. There are a number of challenges associated with returning to work. As expected, businesses will need to adhere to the guidelines set out by the HSE and carry out risk assessments, while also managing administrative duties such as the annual leave backlog. Going forward, they will also need to look at how they manage and implement more permanent working from home solutions, as well as tackle the issue of a vaccine policy.
An upcoming webinar, hosted by Bright Contracts, our sister product, will discuss the new legislation surrounding working from home to ensure you are compliant, how to return your employees safely to the workplace when phased returns to the office begin and how to address the topic of vaccines and the workplace with your employees. This webinar has been specifically designed for employers and their Human Resources department.
The webinar will address:
These challenges may seem daunting at first, but if you’re prepared, you can ensure a smooth and safe return to the workplace and even use the changes to support improvements to your business and employee relationships. Managing a team, with some working from home and others in the office, will require regular communication. An online employer and employee portal can offer significant help with this. With an online portal, such as Thesaurus Connect, an employer can communicate with the whole company or share confidential documents with specific employees such as those working remotely or are returning from leave. To learn more about this, click here.
Employers are well used to staff wanting to take holidays at the same time. It is inevitable that certain times of year like Easter or Christmas will be more popular than others. As we remain in lockdown, many employees will have saved their time off for when more restrictions are lifted, and they can enjoy their free time as much as possible.
With Hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, self-catering accommodation and outdoor hospitality set to reopen in early June, we can expect a scramble in workplaces for employees to get their holiday requests in. While it might not be possible to please everyone and give them time off on their preferred dates, it is important that you deal with annual leave requests in a way which is transparent and fair. If they wish to, employers are permitted to specify when an employee should take their holidays, provided they give the required notice. However, this can leave some employees feeling hard done by and annoyed that they do not have control over the dates that they take off, especially if they are forced to take time off during COVID-19 restrictions. So, what is the best option for all parties involved?
Thesaurus Connect, an optional add-on to Thesaurus payroll software, is the simplest way to manage your staff's annual leave – headache free. Thesaurus Connect streamlines leave requests and leave approval. This is how it works:
1. The employee requests leave from the calendar in their Thesaurus Connect mobile app or from their PC or tablet. This means employees can request leave anytime, anywhere.
2. The employer (or the person who has been assigned to oversee the management of that employee’s annual leave) is notified of the request on the dashboard of their own Thesaurus Connect account.
3. The employer/manager can then either approve or deny the request at the click of a button.
4. The employee will receive a notification on their device informing them of whether their request has been approved or denied.
The most popular policy of granting annual leave is on a first come, first served basis. While this policy is the most fair; depending on the system in place, it can still be difficult to keep track of which employee requested the leave first. With Thesaurus Connect, you don’t have that problem as you will be able to see the order in which requests come in. Employees also have the ability to request half days or request to cancel leave which has already been granted.
In the employer’s dashboard, from the calendar tab, the employer can view a real time, company-wide calendar. At a glance, employers see which employees are on leave and the type of leave. This is especially handy nowadays when staff may be working from home and it is hard to keep track of who is off and who is not.
Using Thesaurus Connect to manage employee’s leave means less conflict in the workplace and less stress all round. Book a demo today to find out the many other ways Thesaurus Connect can improve employer/employee relationships.
Why not register now for our upcoming free webinar where we will discuss the EWSS scheme and highlight important tips to remember as you return to the workplace.
According to Revenue, just 28% of employers had accepted their TWSS reconciliation as of last week. By 30th June 2021, employers must have reviewed their reconciliation information, made any necessary corrections and accepted the reconciliation. If no action is taken by 30th June, Revenue will take it that you agree to the reconciliation balance. Any amount owing will be due and payable.
This webinar will discuss the current state of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). Will it be extended beyond its 30th June end date? Or perhaps a new scheme will be introduced to take its place. Plus, our payroll & HR experts will discuss the dos and don’ts of returning to the workplace.
As restrictions are lifted in Ireland, managers will likely be in a situation where many employees will ask to take leave at the same time. It is important that you deal with requests in a way that is transparent and fair. Thesaurus Connect will show you who requested leave and when, and you can check the calendar prior to approving leave to make sure you have adequate staffing levels.
At Thesaurus Software we are committed to a cleaner, greener future for all. We recently announced our very ambitious sustainability campaign to become net zero by 2023. Our Green Team celebrated Earth Day 2021 with a number of activities planned throughout the whole week.
As you may know, we recently announced our very ambitious sustainability campaign to become net zero by 2023. To achieve this, our new offices are purpose built to be energy efficient, affording us the opportunity to record and monitor our carbon emissions. Following an initial period of review, we will look to offset our emissions with the ultimate goal of becoming truly carbon neutral.
To help raise awareness amongst our employees, we have established the Thesaurus Software Green Team which is made up of 12 team members, across multiple departments. The Green Team have been working on coming up with creative ways to make the company's operations more environmentally friendly. They also aim to encourage change amongst colleagues on an individual level, at home, at work and in the community.
In our first campaign to raise awareness, the Green Team celebrated Earth Day 2021 (April, 22nd) with a number of activities planned throughout the week.
As we continue to work remotely, we encouraged everyone to get involved and share photos of their activities online.
The Thesaurus Software Team getting involved in Earth Day celebrations.
We started off our ‘Earth Week’ with ‘Meat Free Monday’. The production of meat and dairy products account for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year and so we encouraged employees to eat vegetarian or vegan meals for the day. On Tuesday we encouraged employees to take a walk in their local area. On Wednesday we asked employees to unplug devices, cut down on emails and have a ‘digital clean-up' to save C02 emissions. Thursday, April 22nd, was Earth Day and to celebrate we had a live online talk from Dr Emma Reeves, Senior Ecologist at the Forest, Environmental Research & Services (FERS) Ltd who discussed reducing our waste, the benefits of living a more eco-friendly lifestyle and the small changes we as individuals can make to help the planet. Friday was ‘Fresh Friday’ where we encouraged employees to go litter picking in their local areas.
Earth week was a success and we accomplished what we set out to do, which was to raise environmental awareness amongst our colleagues and encourage involvement in the company's sustainability efforts.
We will continue our dedication to creating a greener future and reaching our goal of net zero by 2023. Subscribe to Thesaurus Software’s sustainability newsletter to follow our journey.
The first Earth Day launched fifty-one years ago in response to an emerging environmental consciousness, catalysed by a number of environmental disasters in the ‘60s. Although the stakes only grow as the years go by, we can appreciate that there has been a profound cultural shift since it began.
At Thesaurus Software we are committed to a cleaner, greener future for all. This commitment will see us developing our business towards ecological sustainability at both a company and an individual level. We recently announced our very ambitious sustainability campaign to become net zero by 2023. To achieve this, our new offices (opening soon!) are purpose built to be energy efficient, affording us the opportunity to record and monitor our carbon emissions. In addition to this, we have established the Green Team, an internal company initiative, to educate, promote and inspire sustainability among our colleagues and our loyal customers.
The Green Team members are brimming with ideas to identify and support the implementation of solutions to help Thesaurus Software operate in a more environmentally sustainable way. Our plans, including those for Earth Day, are grounded in the belief that small actions at the individual level can build to create a larger change. We will leverage our individual power to influence, as an employee, a consumer, a voter, and as a member of our community.
In our first campaign to raise awareness, the Green Team will be celebrating Earth Day 2021 with a number of activities planned throughout the week. Take a look below at what we have planned. On Earth Day, we will be inviting Dr Emma Reeves, Senior Ecologist at the Forest, Environmental Research & Services (FERS) Ltd to discuss climate change, pollution, and what we as individuals can do to help.
Our dedication to the environment won’t stop at the end of the week. Subscribe to Thesaurus Software’s sustainability newsletter to follow our journey.