It was announced this week that a new living wage, to replace the current minimum wage, is to be phased in for Irish workers, starting in 2023. A living wage is an hourly rate of pay calculated to be the minimum amount that a worker needs to earn to cover the basic cost of living.
The memo which Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar has brought to Cabinet proposes that the living wage is to be set at 60% of the median wage in a given year. Based on this percentage, if the living wage rate were introduced today, it would be set at €12.17 per hour.
The National Minimum Wage was first introduced in Ireland in April 2000 and was also roughly 60% of the median wage at the time. The minimum wage has increased by around 47% since it was first introduced, but it has not kept up with the average earnings or the cost of living.
Since 1st January 2022, the National Minimum Wage is €10.50 per hour for those aged 20 and over.
Rates for other workers are as follows:
|Age Group||Minimum hourly rate of pay||% of minimum wage|
|Aged under 18||€7.35||70%|
The national minimum wage will remain in place until the living wage rate is fully phased in, in 2026. The minimum wage rate will increase between now and 2026, closing the gap between the minimum and the living wage. However, the full living wage may be introduced faster or slower than the proposed time frame, depending on prevailing economic circumstances. The Tánaiste has said that the reason the living wage is being introduced gradually is because if it is brought in too quickly businesses could close, or employees could see their hours cut. Leo Varadkar will consult with various interested parties, including employer and worker representative groups, unions and the public on the draft plan.
The living wage is just one of the improvements to workers' rights to be introduced over the coming years. Other changes we are set to see for employees is the introduction of statutory sick pay and automatic enrolment onto pension schemes.
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In a Censuswide survey of 251 HR and payroll managers, 76% of businesses admitted to failing to pay their employees correctly or on time on one or more occasion. In the 2019 survey it was also revealed that, on average, employees had been paid incorrectly or late four times in the previous twelve months. This failure can sour employee relations and employees may feel they are unable to trust their employers.
Successful businesses are built on relationships and when there is a breakdown of trust, relationships are damaged, and your business may suffer consequently. When a concern arises for an employee, it is often the HR department that they first turn to – including questions and issues to do with pay. Whether or not you think that payroll should be the responsibility of HR personnel, businesses can benefit from integrating the two functions.
Thesaurus Connect is the cloud extension to payroll software, Thesaurus Payroll Manager, that can streamline payroll and HR processes; meaning less work for employers and more peace of mind that your employees’ pay will be accurate. Thesaurus Connect can also help improve communication between you and your employees. Effective communication within organisations has become more important than ever since the COVID-19 outbreak forced many of us to work remotely.
Thesaurus Connect gives you access to an online employer portal from which you can manage employees in many ways. An unlimited number of users can be added, meaning the portal can be accessed safely and securely by any colleagues you wish to allow access. Listed below are eight features of Thesaurus Connect and how these features can benefit employers, HR departments and payroll processers.
1. Payroll Records - Instantly access your employees’ payslips and payroll documents, run your own payroll reports, and view amounts due to Revenue anywhere, any time, through your secure online portal.
2. Employee Self-Service - Invite your employees to an online self-service portal and employee app where they can access their payslip library, request annual leave, access HR documents and update personal contact details. Find out more. Employees can download the employee app on their smartphone or tablet; giving them instant access to their payroll information on the go. The employee app is available to download for free on any Android or iOS device.
3. Employee Records - Employers and managers can keep track of their employees’ basic personal details, which can be updated by employees. This ensures that you have the most accurate and up-to-date details on file for your employees.
4. Employee Calendar - The real-time employee calendar allows you and your colleagues to see, at a glance, who is on leave, when, and whether they are on annual leave, unpaid leave, parenting leave or sick leave.
5. Leave Management - Employees can submit holiday requests with a few simple clicks. Managers will be notified of the request and can view the holiday calendar online before approving, ensuring that you always have sufficient cover.
6. Secure Cloud Storage - When it comes to payroll, data security is extremely important. Payroll information is stored on Microsoft Azure, which is one of the most secure ways to store data.
7. Company Messaging - Whether it is an important memo, the company newsletter, or details of a staff party, the notification system will transform internal communications. All employees can be kept up to date on what is happening in the workplace, regardless of where they are located.
8. HR Documents & Resources - You can share documents and resources with individuals, teams or the whole company at the touch of a button. Track who has viewed circulated documents and who has not.
Book a Thesaurus Connect demo today to learn more about these features and how they can benefit your business.
Automatic Enrolment in Ireland is a subject which has been in discussion for over 25 years now. In 2017, the matter was brought to the forefront again with our Taoiseach at the time, Leo Varadkar, announcing that the scheme would begin in 2021. However, as we all know, delays caused by COVID-19 meant that this didn’t happen as planned. One year later, we are in a much better place and thankfully, details on the planned state pensions Auto Enrolment scheme were announced on the 29th of March 2022.
Auto Enrolment is being brought in to ensure that those working in the private sector have an income for their retirement, beyond the state pension. The scheme will be phased in over the next ten years. The system is to be set up by 2023 and employee enrolments into the scheme will begin in 2024. All employees aged between 23 and 60, earning over €20,000 a year and who are not already in an occupational pension scheme, will be automatically enrolled. While participation in the scheme will be voluntary, workers will have to opt-out of the scheme rather than opt-in. It is hoped that this model will encourage workers to remain in the scheme.
The employee, the employer, and the state will all make contributions towards the employee’s pension pot. Employees’ pension savings will be matched on a one-for-one basis by the employer, up to a maximum of €80,000 of earnings. The state will provide a top up of €1 for every €3 saved by the worker. This means that for every €3 saved by the employee, a further contribution of €4 will be made by the employer and the state combined.
|Employee Contribution||Employer Contribution||State Contribution|
Employer and employee pension contributions will be calculated as a percentage of the employee’s income. Rates will start at 1.5% and will increase every three years by 1.5%, until they eventually reach 6% by year 10 (2034).
|2024 - 2026||1.5%|
|2027 - 2029||3%|
|2030 - 2033||4.5%|
When the scheme is first rolled out in 2024, it will mean a few additional steps in the payroll process. Those processing payroll must ensure that all eligible employees have been enrolled into one of the four retirement saving funds that employees will have to choose from. For employees who do not express a preference for any fund, they should be enrolled into the default fund. After 6 months of participation, employees will have the choice to opt-out or suspend participation. When a person chooses to opt out, they can receive a refund of their contributions. Once opted out, the employee will need to be re-enrolled after two years.
Your payroll software provider will have ample time to implement these changes into the software and should be ready to go by 2024. At Thesaurus Payroll Manager, Auto Enrolment is something that we have had programmed into our UK payroll software, BrightPay UK, since the scheme was introduced in the UK in 2012. Thanks to this experience, we already have the knowledge of how Auto Enrolment in the software should work. Our aim, as is with our UK payroll product, will be to make the Auto Enrolment process as simple for the user as possible by automating the process.
It has been an exciting six months since Thesaurus Software merged with Relate Software to become Bright Software Group or “Bright”, as we are now known. Things haven’t slowed down since and we are delighted to announce that Bright has now acquired AccountancyManager, the UK’s leading onboarding and practice management software. The cloud-based software slots in nicely with Bright’s payroll, HR, bookkeeping and post-accounting software products. This is an exciting opportunity for the individual brands to exploit our operational synergies and develop the best products to serve payroll bureaus, accountancy firms and SMEs across the UK and Ireland.
Click here to find out more about Bright.
AccountancyManager (AM) is an award-winning practice management software that shares the same ultimate goal as Bright; to improve accountants’ day-to-day activities by automating time-consuming tasks, helping them to achieve a better work/life balance and grow their businesses. Founded in 2017 by James Byrne and Alex Hawke, AccountancyManager quickly grew and today is used by thousands of accountants and bookkeepers across the UK and Ireland.
James Byrne, co-founder of AM will continue as a shareholder in the combined group and will remain involved with the business as an advisor to the combined board. Kevin McCallum, CEO of AM, will become Chief Operating Officer of the new, combined group as well as continuing to manage AM, working closely with Bright CEO, Paul Byrne.
Here’s what Kevin McCallum, incoming COO of Bright, has to say about the merger: “AccountancyManager joining Bright makes so much sense for many reasons, but for me, the shared values and customer-centric approach are the most compelling. I’m excited to be joining Paul and the wider Bright team in building out the scope and scale of our business and supporting more and more accountants and their clients.”
By partnering with AccountancyManager and combining products and strengths from both businesses, Bright can provide a greater offering to our customers, with scope and backing for further innovation and development. This is an exciting moment in Bright’s journey to delivering a one-stop solution for businesses and accountancy firms. Together we will aim to provide a best-in-class software suite with a clear value proposition to drive efficiency and reduce errors, all with increased flexibility from working with a cloud offering.
Up until now, when you needed to transfer payroll data from Thesaurus Payroll Manager to your bookkeeping software it meant having to export your payroll journal and upload it to your accounting package. Thanks to our new integration with accounting software, Surf Accounts, this is no longer the case.
Thesaurus Payroll Manager users can now benefit from an improved workflow and increased efficiency when they use cloud-based accounting software, Surf Accounts alongside their payroll software.
In September 2021 Thesaurus Software joined forces with Relate Software, combining our strengths to form a payroll and accounting software powerhouse. Since then, we’ve been working hard to ensure existing customers from both sides can benefit from this merger without compromising the software they are accustomed to.
Surf Accounts allows you to access and update your accounts anytime, anywhere with an internet connection.
Other key features of the software include:
Read more about Surf Accounts features.
Thesaurus Payroll Manager will create a payroll journal file that is unique to Surf Accounts, meaning that all your payroll figures will appear in the correct location in your general ledger in Surf Accounts. This means no more exporting and importing files or double entering figures.
Learn more about the Thesaurus Payroll Manager and Surf Accounts integration.
How it works:
This new integration can help eliminate the need to enter data separately into both systems. This can also help to reduce the chance of errors being made. All in all, the new integration will save you time and allow you to be more confident about the accuracy of your data. To learn more about how Surf Accounts works, book a free demo of the bookkeeping software today.
On the 21st January 2022, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced changes to Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) subsidy rates from 1st February.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions which were brought in last December, the enhanced rates of the EWSS were extended for all businesses for December 2021 and January 2022. As well as this, the scheme was reopened in December for certain businesses who were previously registered for the EWSS and experienced a reduction in turnover as a direct effect of these new restrictions. With these restrictions now lifted from 21st January, many businesses have returned to normal, and the EWSS rates are now changing in line with this.
From 1st February we will begin to see a gradual reduction in subsidy rates up until the scheme ends for all businesses in May. The EWSS rates which businesses are eligible to receive will depend on whether or not they were one of the businesses that were directly impacted by the COVID-19 regulations which were introduced in December.
The reduced rate of employer’s PRSI of 0.5% will continue to apply to wages paid before 1 March 2022 in relation to those who are eligible for the subsidy payment. The full rate of employers’ PRSI will be reinstated with effect from 1 March 2022 for all businesses.
For businesses that were directly impacted by the COVID-19 regulations that were introduced in December 2021, they will continue to receive the enhanced EWSS rates for the month of February, as outlined in the table below. For the month of March, the EWSS rates will revert to the original two-rate subsidy of €151.50 for employees with a gross weekly wage of between €151.50 to €202.99 and €203 for employees with a gross weekly wage of between €203 and €1461.99. For the months of April and May, businesses will receive a flat rate of €100 per employee. The scheme will eventually end for these businesses on 31st May 2022.
|Employee gross weekly wage||February 2022||March 2022||April 2022||May 2022|
|Less than €151.50||Nil||Nil||Nil||Nil|
|€151.50 to €202.99||€203||€151.50||€100||€100|
|€203 - €299.99||€250||€203||€100||€100|
|€300 - €399.99||€300||€203||€100||€100|
|€400 - €1,462||€350||€203||€100||€100|
For businesses that were not directly impacted by the COVID-19 regulations that were introduced in December 2021, the enhanced subsidy rate will end on 31st January, and they will receive the two-rate subsidy for the month of February. For the months of March and April, these businesses will receive a flat rate of €100 per employee. The scheme will then end for these businesses on 30th April 2022.
|Employee gross weekly wage||February 2022||March 2022||April 2022|
|Less than €151.50||Nil||Nil||Nil|
|€151.50 to €202.99||€151.50||€100||€100|
|€203 - €1462||€203||€100||€100|
Note: Revenue are working on updating their systems to cater for these changes. A Thesaurus Payroll Manager upgrade will also be released in line with these new changes.
On February 4th, Thesaurus Software will be holding a free online webinar where we will be joined by representatives from Revenue to discuss recent EWSS changes and the updated guidance for employers. We will also have a questions and answers section at the end of the webinar where we will answer any questions you may have regarding the scheme.
For most employers in Ireland, their annual leave year runs from January to December and an employee’s annual leave entitlements will depend on how much they’ve worked that year. As we get closer to the end of 2021, you may notice some employees who still have days or maybe even weeks left to take. Depending on what type of business you’re in, this could be a real headache to deal with. For example, if you are in retail, giving employees time off at Christmas could be impractical.
Some employees may ask if they can carry over their leftover leave into 2022. According to Citizen’s Information, annual leave should be taken within the leave year it was earned. Whether or not an employee can carry over annual leave entitlements will depend on the policy you have in place. Some employers will agree to allow employees to carry over untaken annual leave within 6 months of the relevant leave date, while others may allow employees to carry over leave even further. It is important to note, if an employee is on extended sick leave, then legally, they are allowed to carry over any unused leave for up to 15 months after the end of the year it was earned.
While in most cases allowing an employee to carry over annual leave shouldn’t be a problem, it can become impractical, especially when you have a lot of employees wanting to do so. Making sure your employees take their annual leave within the year it was earned can help avoid employee burnout as it encourages them to take more regular breaks. It also prevents employees saving up their annual leave and using it all in one go which could result in your business being short staffed for a long period.
Whatever you decide, it is important that you have an annual leave policy in place which clearly outlines whether employees can carry over leave from one year to the next. If you would rather a “use it or lose it” policy where employees must take their leave within the year it was earned, then it is important that you carefully track employees’ leave taken and remaining. Doing this will help you avoid having employees on leave, when you may need them most.
If you would like a ready-made annual leave policy which you can tailor to your own needs, visit our sister company Bright Contracts to find out more, or book a free online demo with a member of their team today.
If you have a lot of employees, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s annual leave. Luckily, your payroll software can help. Thesaurus Payroll Manager used alongside our optional cloud add-on Thesaurus Connect has an annual leave management feature which allows employers and employees to keep track of annual leave taken and remaining.
When you open up Thesaurus Connect’s employer dashboard, from the calendar tab, you can view a company-wide calendar which shows all your employees past and scheduled leave. The calendar makes it easier for you when you need to decide whether or not you will approve an employee’s request for time off.
Thesaurus Connect also includes an employee smartphone app which the employee can use to request leave. From the app the employee simply selects the days which they would like off, the type of leave (paid or un-paid) and the times (e.g. a half day). Employees can request leave anytime, anywhere, even on the go. Once a leave request is approved the calendar on the employer dashboard is automatically updated.
Another great feature of the Thesaurus Connect’s employee app is that when an employee opens the app, they can see how much leave they have used so far that year and the amount of leave they have remaining. When an employee can easily keep track of the amount of leave they have used it means they will be less likely to have leave left over by the end of the year.
While some employees will still need an extra nudge to remind them to take their full annual leave entitlements before the end of the year, Thesaurus Connect can greatly help payroll processers in keeping track of who has leave left to take. This can help avoid employees carrying over annual leave days and having too many employees requesting to take leave at the end of the year.
To learn more about how Thesaurus Connect can help you manage your employee’s annual leave, why not book a free online demo today.
Thesaurus Software have partnered up with payment platform Modulr to give payroll processors a fast, secure and easy way to pay employees directly through Thesaurus Payroll Manager. Up until now, when you wanted to pay employees through credit transfer, you needed to create a bank file that would then need to be uploaded to your online banking account. This can be quite a manual process that is prone to human error. This new method of paying employees cuts down on admin work and eliminates manual entry errors, saving you time.
To use this new integration, first ensure you have created a Modulr Account. You will also need to download a mobile app called Authy which you will use to authenticate user logins and payments. The Authy app is a second layer of security that will help protect your account from hackers or data breaches.
1. Once you have updated payslips for a pay period as you normally would, under the payslips tab choose pay using Modulr.
2. A box will then appear on screen asking you to log into your Modulr account.
3. Once you have entered your details, you will authenticate your login through the Authy app on your mobile device.
4. Once set up, your payroll information in Thesaurus Payroll Manager will automatically synchronise with your Modulr account. In the pop up, any employees whose payment method is set to credit transfer will be listed along with their IBAN and the amount they are to be paid for that period, a reference can also be added here.
5. Next, simply select the account you would like to make the payment from and choose a payment date.
6. After clicking continue, you will be shown a summary of your payment request submission. Once you have reviewed the payment request you can click “Send to Modulr.”
7. You will need to authenticate the submission by once again using your Authy app. The following screen will be displayed to let you know that the transfer has been successful:
8. The final step is for the authorised person to log in to their Modulr account and approve the payment request submission. This may be the payroll processor themself or if you are processing payroll for a client then this task can be assigned to the client, giving them control by allowing them to give the final approval on the payment of employees.
For more detailed instructions on how to use Modulr with Thesaurus Payroll Manager, view our help guide.
Improved workflow and less chance of errors
Paying employees directly through Thesaurus Payroll Manager using our new integration with Modulr means that you can save yourself time by cutting down on admin work and eliminating the risk of manual entry errors.
Secure payments and peace of mind
Encrypted communication between parties and authentication using your mobile means payments made through Modulr are secure and fully traceable, giving you peace of mind.
More flexibility with same day payments
Thesaurus Payroll Manager and Modulr’s integration allows you to pay employees using SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area). With SEPA, if you authorise the payments before 2 PM the money will land in employees’ bank accounts that same day. If the payments aren’t authorised until after 2 PM then it will go through the next business day. This quick turnaround means that you have the flexibility to change payments up until the day before or even the morning of pay day.
Register for one of our free webinars where we will discuss how our new integration can benefit your business.
While it is great to now have the option of returning to the office, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will want to, not on a full-time basis at least. Experiencing the longer lie-ins, no commute, and an overall better work-life balance, employers and employees alike have enjoyed the benefits of remote working. However, each employee is different and along with the benefits of working from home comes challenges such as employees feeling isolated and unmotivated. Phase II of the Remote Working during COVID-19 National Survey conducted in Ireland in October 2020 found that 94% of respondents would like to work remotely for at least part of their working week. Because of this, many businesses have adopted a hybrid working model, with many more set to do so in the coming months.
In Ireland, hybrid working falls under remote working and may sometimes be referred to as e-working or flexible working. A hybrid working model is when an employee works part of their time in the workplace provided by their employer and part of their time from home or anywhere else other than the normal place of work. In Ireland, employees have the right to request that they work this way. However, currently there is no legal framework around how such a request should be made and how it should be handled by employers. The legislation giving employees the right to request remote working is expected to be published at the end of the year.
As an employer, you may already have experience with employees working from home and the advantages it can bring. You also may have already decided that you would like to adopt a hybrid working model into your workplace. If this is the case, a Hybrid Working Policy document should be created so that all staff are aware of how the new arrangement will operate.
The rules and limitations surrounding the company’s hybrid working policy should be clearly outlined in the Hybrid Working Policy, including:
The policy should include details of how staff will be managed and supported as they work from separate locations, including:
Guidelines for remote working should be clearly defined, including:
Once you have put together a Hybrid Working Policy, what is the best way to share it with employees? When sharing the policy with employees, you may want to share it with all or multiple employees at the same time. As employees may be working from different locations, it’s likely not possible to physically hand out the document to each employee.
You could email the policy to employees. However, emails are not always an effective way of getting your employees' attention. In a 2019 survey, 34% of respondents said that they sometimes ignore HR emails from their employer, while 5.7% even said that they always ignore HR emails. The reason for this may be that employees are simply overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive at work.
A better way of getting employees to read your new Hybrid Working Policy is by sharing it with them through an app on their smartphones. Thesaurus Connect is a cloud add-on to Thesaurus’ payroll software which includes an employee app which can be used to take care of a number of HR tasks. With Thesaurus Connect, employers will have access to their own employer dashboard from where they can upload employee documents to be shared with employees through the employee app. Employers can share documents with individual employees, multiple employees or all employees if they wish to do so. This means employees can easily access all their documents in one place, be it their individual contract of employment or company-wide documents. Since the documents are available on the employees' phones, it also means they can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
When a document is shared with employees this way, each employee will receive a push notification on their mobile to notify them that the document has become available for them to view. With push notifications, because users can instantly read the alert on their device, they are less likely to ignore it like they may do with an email. Furthermore, employers can track who has and who has not read each document and so you can give them a nudge if needs be.
Reviewing and updating your Hybrid Working Policy
As hybrid working is still a relatively new concept for many employers, the policy should be reviewed regularly. Employers may want to make changes to the policy as the needs of the business and employees change. The updated policy can be quickly reshared on Thesaurus Connect, and employees, are once again alerted to it by push notification.
As well as sharing documents, you can also easily share payslips with employees using Thesaurus Connect. Other HR functions of Thesaurus Connect which are done using the employee app are annual leave management and updating employee information. To learn more about the many benefits of Thesaurus Connect and how they can improve your business and ease the transition to hybrid working, book a free online demo today.
The Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 was published on 23 June and extended the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to 31 December 2021. On 9 July, Revenue published guidelines to highlight the changes to the EWSS applicable for the period from 1 July 2021. The main change made to the scheme was in relation to eligibility.
Businesses who started trading before 1 January 2019 must compare their level of trade for 2021 to the level of trade for 2019 to assess their eligibility for the scheme. This will allow businesses whose trade was severely impacted due to government restrictions in the first half of 2021 to trade at higher levels for the second half of 2021 compared to 2019 and still avail of the scheme, subject to meeting the scheme conditions.
To assist employers in ensuring continued eligibility for the scheme, from 30 June 2021, all employers will be required to complete and submit an online monthly EWSS Eligibility Review Form (ERF) through ROS. Revenue has extended the deadline for completing and submitting the EWSS Eligibility Review Form in respect of June 2021 to 15 August 2021. The eligibility review form in respect of July 2021 is also due to be submitted on the same date.
Through ROS, employers will need to provide details of actual monthly turnover or customer order values for 2019, together with the same detail for the first six months of 2021. They will also need to provide details of monthly projections for the remainder of 2021 i.e. July to December 2021.
On 15th of every subsequent month during the scheme operation, employers will need to provide details of the actual results for the previous month, together with reviewing the original projections provided to ensure they remain valid. This can be summarised as follows:
Timely submission of the electronic form will provide assurance to both employers and Revenue that subsequent EWSS claims are appropriate and in line with the terms of the scheme. This, in turn, will reduce the possibility of employers claiming EWSS amounts to which they are not entitled and having to repay those amounts to Revenue.
Childcare businesses continue to be eligible for the scheme with no reduction in turnover or orders required. However, there is a requirement for such businesses to register for EWSS through ROS prior to submitting payroll for paydates in respect of which subsidies are being claimed.
As part of the monthly submission, employers (or agents on their behalf) must sign a declaration that the information submitted is correct and accurate with best-estimate projections for future months. Failure to complete and submit the EWSS Eligibility Review Form that confirms the required reduction and related declaration will result in suspension of payment of EWSS claims.
Childcare businesses and businesses who commenced trading after 1 November 2019 will have to complete a declaration as part of the Employer Eligibility Review platform on ROS to confirm their exemption.
For more information you can read Revenue's Guidelines on eligibility for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme from 1 July 2021 document here.