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!
Paid maternity leave has been extended in cases where a baby is born prematurely.
Up until now, mothers in Ireland were entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave with 16 weeks additional unpaid leave which must be taken immediately after the end of the maternity leave.
This meant that for some mothers of premature babies, their leave could be almost used up by the time they get their baby home from hospital.
However under the new arrangements, mothers of premature babies will be entitled to an additional period of paid maternity leave.
From 1st October 2017, the period for which Maternity Benefit is paid is being extended in cases when a baby is born prematurely. The benefit will extend for the duration between the actual birth date of the premature baby to the date when the maternity leave was expected to commence. This will extend the existing 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, so that mothers of premature babies can give their children the care and attention that they need.
This change will benefit nearly 4,500 women annually.
You can view more information about Maternity Benefit on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s website.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the Government will publish a five year roadmap for pension reform before the end of the year. This will include the introduction of an auto-enrolment pension scheme for private sector workers, two-thirds of whom currently have no occupational pension to supplement their state pension. The first payments are expected to be made into new individually held funds by 2021.
He said the government would “work closely and consult with employers” in designing the new scheme. The Minister for Employment & Social Protection Regina Doherty, said that there will be no discrimination in the new auto-enrolment pension scheme proposed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
“You can’t discriminate somebody that’s earning 20 grand to somebody that’s earning 40 grand,” said Minister Regina Doherty.
“But it’s always going to be based on the percentage, so whatever percentage you put in, the employer will put in a percentage and the State will put in a percentage, and we have to work out the details as to what that percentage will be.”
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.
Employers – the P35 deadline is fast approaching, the deadline is February 15th. (Or 46 days after the cessation of the business) Failure to make a P35 return by this date may result in a fine.
The deadline for an employer who pays and files electronically via Revenue Online Services (ROS) is extended to the 23rd of February.
To view our online documentation for preparing and submitting your P35 to ROS via Thesaurus Payroll Manager or BrightPay please click on the links below:
Thesaurus Payroll Manager:
A Christmas Bonus will be paid out to all eligible welfare and pension recipients along with their normal weekly payment during the week beginning November 28th 2016.
Anyone getting monthly payments will get any bonus due in their December payment.
An 85% 2016 Christmas Bonus for Social Welfare and Pensions was confirmed in Budget 2017 back in October. The Christmas Bonus is 85% of your normal payment (including any payments for qualified adults or children) with a minimum payment of €20.
About 1.3 million people will benefit from the Christmas Bonus (almost 890,000 recipients and an estimated 400,000 dependents). Around €225 million will be paid out. It will be useful for all the extra expenses at Christmas time.
The DSP Christmas Bonus is a non taxable payment. To keep record of it through your payroll you can add it as a non taxable addition.
No changes have been made to SRCOPs, tax credits or PRSI classes. Emergency basis will also remain unchanged.
USC (Universal Social Charge: No changes were made to the USC exemption threshold of €13,000. The 1%, 3% and 5.5% rates have been reduced by 0.5% to 0.5%, 2.5% and 5% respectively. There has been no change to the 8% rate of USC. In addition the Rate 2 COP has been increased from €18,668 to €18,772.
Medical card holders and individuals aged 70 years and over whose aggregate income does not exceed €60,000 will pay a maximum rate of 2.5%. The rate of 8% USC will continue to apply under the Emergency Basis.
The National Minimum Wage will increase from €9.15 gross per working hour to €9.25 gross per working hour.
• Workers under age 18 will be entitled to €6.48 (currently €6.41) per working hour.
• Workers in the first year of employment over the age of 18 will be entitled to €7.40 (currently €7.32) per working hour. Workers in the second year of employment over the age of 18 will be entitled to €8.33 (currently €8.24) per working hour.
Minimum wage for trainees:
Employee aged over 18, in structured training during working hours:
• 1st one third of course will increase to €6.94 (currently €6.86),
• 2nd third of course will increase to €7.40 (currently €7.32) 3rd part of course €8.33 (currently €8.24).
PRD (Pension Related Deduction)
Budget 2017 did not make any change to the rates and thresholds for PRD.
However, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2015 provides for the following changes:
• From 1st January 2017, the exemption threshold will increase from €26,083 to €28,750. 10% PRD will apply to earnings between €28,750 and €60,000, and 10.5% PRD will apply to any earnings in excess of €60,000.
There were no changes to PRSI.
Maternity benefit is a non taxable income as it is taxed through your standard rate cut off point (SRCOP) and your tax credits (TC’s). There are a couple scenarios that may arise when you have an employee going out on maternity leave.
• Firstly Revenue should always be informed when an employee is going out on maternity leave as a new P2C Tax Credit Certificate will need to be issued for this employee
• If the employee is receiving the standard €230 a week into their own bank and you don’t top up their wages all you will need to do is zeorise their weekly pay and put them on a Week/Month One Basis.
• If the company receives the benefit but doesn’t top up their pay you will have to zeorise their weekly pay and go in to the additions tab and under non-taxable additions add the description maternity benefit and input the €230 in this section.
• If it is company policy to top up the wages and the company receives the maternity benefit you will need to reduced the weekly pay by the €230 and go in to the additions tab and under non-taxable additions add the description maternity benefit and input the €230 in this section.
• If the company doesn’t receive the maternity benefit and tops up their wage all you will have to do in this case is reduce the weekly pay by the €230.
Maternity Benefit is taxed through the SRCOP and TC’s a new tax credit certificate will be issued for this employee when they go out on maternity leave and it is normally calculated as follows;
€230 X 26weeks = €5,980 the SRCOP is then reduced by this amount i.e. Average annual Cut Off Point; 32,800 – 5,980 = 26,820 this is now the new annual SRCOP
€5,980 X 20% = €1,196 and the Annual TC’s is then reduced by this amount i.e. Average annual tax credit; 3,300 – 1,196 = 2,104 this is now the new annual TC’s
And the new cert is then issued on a Week/Month One basis for the remainder of the year.
Illness benefit is liable to PAYE but not USC and PRSI. A lot of confusion arises on the employers’ role of the taxation of the benefit. If an employee is out sick for more than 6 days they can claim illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection (DSP). There are a couple of scenarios that will arise when this happens:
• You will receive a letter from the DSP stating that they are receiving a cheque for Illness Benefit and advising you on the amount liable to PAYE
• You must reduce the pay by the amount stated by the DSP in the weekly/monthly basic and input the Illness Benefit in the correct section on the payroll
• You haven’t had any correspondence with the employee, in this case you must assume they are in receipt of the benefit and tax them. The daily rate is €31.33 and the weekly 6 day benefit is €188.
• If the employee has opted for the employer to receive the cheque it still needs to be taxed in the Illness Benefit section on the payroll.
• If it is your company's policy to pay an employee while out sick you must reduce the weekly/monthly pay by the amount of Illness Benefit they are receiving.
• If is not your companies policy to pay an employee while out sick their pay must then be zeroised.
• If the employee returns and you’ve inputted the benefit into the system and they weren’t receiving the benefit , simply go to the illness benefit section and put a “–“ figure of the amount you deducted. This will refund any tax deducted, i.e. -€188