Sep 2020


Remote Working Is Becoming The New Normal - What Does That Means For Payroll?

2020 has been a transformative year for most businesses. Many employers have had to take a long hard look at how they manage their employees and make significant changes in the wake of COVID-19 in order to adapt to what is quickly becoming the new normal. For a large proportion of these businesses, allowing employees to work remotely is playing a central role in that change. And this throws up some challenges.

Remote working isn’t a new phenomenon. Cloud innovations have made it possible for people to work from home for many years. However, most businesses have been reluctant to embrace this practice up until now. This is because, when employees are spread out, even the most basic tasks such as distributing payslips, applying for annual leave and internal communication can be more difficult.

Today, however, employers are finding themselves in a position where they must allow employees to work remotely and find clever solutions to these challenges. And Thesaurus Connect is one such solution that makes remote working easier for everyone.

How Does Remote Working Affect Payroll and HR?

You might not think that remote working has any impact on processing payroll, especially if you’re a small business with just one payroll administrator. But there are a number of ways that remote working can indirectly impact payroll. It also has numerous knock-on effects on human resources management which need to be addressed in order for a business to thrive.

Here are some examples of the payroll and HR challenges presented by remote working:

  • Distributing payslips manually can be more time-consuming, costly and less secure when employees are not located in the workplace, and instead payslips must be posted to their home addresses. 
  • Making sure that the payroll and any employee leave during that particular pay period are aligned can be tricky, especially if a number of different line managers and/or HR staff are operating from different locations. 
  • Checking that the information for the current pay period is accurate can be challenging with employers and managers working from home with often unreliable internet connections. 

Thesaurus Connect Makes Remote Working Easier

Thesaurus Connect is a cloud portal add-on to our payroll software. While the payroll software gives you everything you need to process your payroll, Connect offers a range of additional features that streamline your human resource management.

The features of Thesaurus Connect include:

  • An employee self-service app that’s compatible with both iOS and Android. On the app employees can apply for leave, view and edit their personal data, access a secure payslip library and view HR documents, all from their smartphone or tablet. 
  • An online employer dashboard. Because payroll information is stored in the cloud with Connect, employers can access their dashboard from their laptops at home. On this dashboard, employers can view a company calendar which displays all past and upcoming employee leave, upload and share documents with employees, and view any outstanding payments due to Revenue. The employer dashboard also shows notifications for any employee leave requests, or requests from the payroll processor. 
  • Secure cloud backups. With Thesaurus Connect, you don’t need to worry about safely storing your data. Thesaurus Connect prompts you to automatically back up the payroll data to the cloud each pay period. It keeps a chronological history of all backups so that you can restore previous versions if needed. This is a great step towards GDPR compliance for businesses who are trying to modernise their data protection practices. The cloud backup is also extremely useful for remote working because everything is stored and accessible via the cloud from any location.
  • Clever employee leave management. Employees can request leave directly from their smartphone app. This is beneficial to remote employees because it eliminates the need for employees to visit their line manager or human resources manager in order to fill out leave request paperwork. The request instantly appears as a notification on their manager’s online dashboard. From here, the manager can use the company calendar to see who else is on leave for the dates requested, and either approve or deny the leave request. A time-stamped log of all leave requests is maintained which is particularly useful when a number of different people are managing employee leave as all of the relevant parties can easily see who approved or denied a request, and when. 

Book Your Free Thesaurus Connect Demo Now

If your business is embracing remote working and trying to find ways to facilitate this new practice, then book your free Connect demo today and let our team of experts show you just how much easier remote working can be.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinBrightPay CloudPayroll Software

Jul 2020


Make Sure Your Business Is Doing These 5 Things Before You Bring Employees Back

Are you an employer struggling to keep on top of everything you need to do before bringing your employees back to work? The government recently released the Return To Work Safely Protocol. This is a comprehensive 29 page document in which they outline the details of these expectations clearly. In order to ensure that your business is complying with the Protocol, you need to understand exactly what those expectations are and take the appropriate measures to meet them as best you can. The Health & Safety Authority (HSA) has been given powers to inspect businesses and their compliance under the Protocol.

As a result, many employers are feeling overwhelmed as they try to keep track of everything they need to do before bringing their employees back to the workplace. However, when you break it down and get organised, the task at hand isn’t so daunting, and we are here to help.

5 Things Employers Need To Do Before Bringing Employees Back To Work

Whether you’re a business in the retail industry where employees must come into the workplace everyday, or in other industries where employees can largely work from home, all employers must prepare for “the new normal”. From reviewing and amending existing Health And Safety policies to electing a Lead Worker Representative, there’s a lot to do. Thankfully, we’ve put together this list so that you can make sure you’re complying with the Government’s Return To Work Safely Protocol. 

  1. COVID-19 Induction Training - The Protocol requires that you hold induction training with your employees. This training should be designed to share with your staff all of the changes that you’ve made to the physical workspace, as well as new rules and procedures for work. Depending on your business, these rules might include social distancing measures, the implementation of “one way” traffic zones on your premises, staggered break times, increased hygiene facilities, new communication processes for working from home etc. It should also include any changes you’re making to existing policies, the use of Pre-Return To Work Forms, the Lead Worker Representative and your COVID-19 Response Plan. Read on for more details on these steps.

  2. Pre-Return To Work Forms - Pre-Return To Work Forms are required by the government as one of the most important steps a business should take before bringing employees back to work. The Return to Work form must include a list of prescribed questions, as set out in the HSA’s template provided here. The return to work form must be completed by employees at least 3 days before their return to the workplace. There are many other template checklists on the HSAs website, and these are a great way to help your employees prepare for their return to work, reassure them that you’re doing everything possible to make the workplace safe for them, and identify any concerns that they have which you could address.

  3. Review Existing Policies - The Protocol also states that all existing policies should be reviewed and amended where relevant. One example of this is your Health And Safety Policy, which should now include a detailed section dedicated to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. It is also advisable that you include any changes you will make to how your business is approaching mental health. This is because many of your employees are likely to be experiencing varying levels of anxiety at present.

  4. COVID-19 Response Plan - Every business must create a COVID-19 Response Plan. This plan should outline the following areas:

       •  How the business will handle suspected and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff
       •  Any new hygiene practices that have been introduced
       •  All social distancing measures that have been brought in
       •  How the business is taking care to promote employee mental health 
       •  A list of internal communication methods used to disperse this information among employees

  5. Lead Worker Representative - Businesses should appoint a Lead Worker Representative. This person will liaise with management, relaying any concerns/frustrations/questions from staff, assisting in the sharing of information across the company, and representing employees as new policies and procedures are put in place. This is a vital role to ensure that both employer and employees work together in a collaborative effort to make the workplace safer for everyone.

Watch Our Webinars On Demand

Want to learn more about what your business could be doing to follow government guidelines? Check out our previous webinars, all of which you can watch on demand, in which we talk through all of the government advice and what it means for employers.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinCoronavirus

Jul 2020


How Thesaurus Connect's Document Upload Facility Makes Returning To Work Easier

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, Thesaurus 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.

How Does The Document Upload Facility Work?

Using Thesaurus 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 Thesaurus 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:

  • The signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • How it spreads
  • Cleaning routines and waste disposal
  • Advice on hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and work equipment, where relevant
  • What a worker should do if they develop symptoms of COVID-19
  • Identification of points of contact from the employer and the workers
  • Any other sector specific advice that is relevant.

By making all of these documents available on Thesaurus 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.

What Are The Benefits Of Uploading Documents To Connect?

In addition to the usefulness of Thesaurus 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 Thesaurus 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, Thesaurus 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.

Register for our free webinar

Join Thesaurus Software 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.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinPayrollPayroll Software

Jul 2020


Annual Leave and COVID-19 - Your Questions Answered

COVID-19 has presented countless challenges to every kind of business you can imagine. Whether you’re in retail or construction, banking or manufacturing, navigating the current circumstances while trying to keep your business afloat has been the cause of much confusion, frustration and anxiety. And one of the most commonly cited points of debate has been how the pandemic does or doesn’t affect annual leave for employees, and how employers should handle this moving forward.

These concerns aren’t unwarranted. There have been significant changes to how businesses can and in many cases, must, grant annual leave to employees. Understandably, many employers and managers are worried about denying employees their statutory rights and any potential circumstances arising from that.

So, with those concerns in mind, here’s everything you need to know about annual leave and COVID-19.

1. Do Employees Continue To Accrue Annual Leave?

Yes, and no. Employees who have been laid-off as a result of the pandemic will continue to accrue public holidays as normal that occur during the first 13 weeks. However, they will not accrue annual leave during the period of lay-off. Employees working short-time will continue to accrue leave for the hours they work.

The annual leave that employees accrue up until the point of being laid off will remain intact and employers should not pay employees in lieu of this annual leave. Instead, it should be made available to the employee to take once they return to work.

Given the exceptional circumstances that we are currently living in, it could well be the case that an employee genuinely cannot take their accrued annual leave this year. If this situation arises employers should try to be flexible in terms of allowing an employee to carry over leave into the next calendar year.

2. Do Employees Have To Take Annual Leave During Lay-Off?

Many employers are asking that their employees take annual leave while they can’t work during the lock-down period. However, some employees are resisting this and employers are wondering if they are within their rights to require that their staff take their holidays now.

Although employees have a statutory right to take any annual leave accrued, they can only take these holidays at a time that suits their employer. This rule is in place to avoid all employees taking their holidays at the one time, or during particularly busy periods (such as Christmas time for retail businesses). As such, employers can ask their staff to take their annual leave during lockdown as this ensures that they will be available to work when the business reopens.

However, it is advisable that employers try to be as accommodating as possible in this regard. Annual leave is typically used to rest and relax, often on holidays abroad. As this option isn’t available to employees who are cocooning/shielding, it could be prudent to allow those employees to take their holidays later in the year when they have more flexibility to enjoy them, where possible.

3. Can Statutory Annual Leave Be Carried Over To Next Year?

Yes. Given the extraordinary circumstances in which we all find ourselves now, employers should be as flexible and accommodating as possible when it comes to carrying over annual leave into 2021.

4. What If I’m Ready To Re-open My Business, But My Employee Wants To Take Annual Leave?

If your employee has holidays accrued, then he or she is entitled to take those holidays. However, as the employer you do have discretion when it comes to when your employees can take their holidays.

If, for example, you are in the retail industry and are expecting high levels of traffic in your premises once you reopen, then you can choose to have more staff than usual on the shop floor at a time in order to meet high customer demand. In this case, you can refuse holiday requests for this time as you have a sincere need to have all employees available for work.

At the end of the day, it is your choice when you allow your employees to take their holidays. While it’s important to be as accommodating as possible in order to maintain positive relationships with staff, if you need them to be available for work you are within your rights to ask them to take their holidays later in the year.

Keep Up-To-Date on the Latest COVID-19 Guidelines for Employers

At Thesaurus Software we know how important it is to keep abreast of the most recent developments when it comes to COVID-19, especially as we navigate unchartered territories together. That’s why we’re holding regular webinars to share with you all news relating to Revenue updates, what employers need to know and how you can make sure you’re complying with best practices at all times.

Register for our upcoming webinar where we cover everything from important COVID-19 payroll updates to return to work government policies.

To receive email notification letting you know when we’re holding our next webinar, sign-up to our mailing list and ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates for your business.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinAnnual LeaveCoronavirus

Jul 2020


Everything You Need To Know About TWSS & Maternity Leave

The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) is available to employers who may need financial support from the state in order to continue paying their employees as a result of COVID-19. For many employers and payroll professionals, this has been a confusing time with Revenue updating their guidance and releasing more information on the scheme every few days. Here, we’ve stripped all of the information down to everything you need to know in terms of employees returning from maternity leave.

TWSS And Maternity Leave

A recent change to rules regarding the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme takes into account employees who have returned or are due to return to work following a period of maternity leave, adoptive leave or related unpaid leave.

As per the scheme rules, if an employee was not paid in either January or February 2020, then typically, they do not qualify for the subsidy scheme. However, this latest change means that employees returning from maternity leave are now eligible and treated consistently with other employees who were on the payroll on the 29th of February.

This is a broadly welcomed change as it is only because of the personal circumstances relating to maternity and adoptive leave that resulted in these employees not being on the payroll in the first instance.

Employers who wish to avail of the Wage Subsidy Scheme for employees returning from maternity leave will need to complete a simple form for each relevant employee, and this form is available for download via myEnquiries on ROS.

Revenue will check DEASP data to ensure the employee was in receipt of the maternity benefit. Revenue will then calculate the Net Weekly Pay for each relevant employee and will provide the information on an updated TWSS file. This information will ensure that the correct wage subsidy can be calculated and paid to the employee.

The subsidy will be backdated to the date of recommencement of employment or from the 26th of March 2020, whichever is the latest date and this will be processed in due course. However, if the employee was in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, no retrospection will apply as the employee was already in receipt of income support payments from DEASP.

These changes also apply to employees who were not on their employer’s payroll on 29 February 2020 and who were:

  • on a period of adoptive, paternity, parental or related unpaid leave
  • in receipt of Health and Safety Benefit, Parent’s Benefit or Illness Benefit paid by the DEASP

A more recent update confirmed that apprentices that were on training in February now qualify for the scheme. This is also done by the employer submitting the form in myEnquires which will then prompt an updated TWSS file.

Keep Up-To-Date With The Latest Advice on TWSS

Interested in finding out more about recent changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme? Register for our free webinar where we explore the key changes to the scheme, the payroll implications or rehiring employees and employee’s annual leave entitlements during COVID-19.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinCoronavirus

Jul 2020


7 Steps To Rehiring Employees During COVID-19

In the last number of weeks we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of businesses opening their doors and bringing their employees back to work. Employers need to make a real effort to ensure that they’re up to date with not only the latest public health advice from the government, but also the most recent changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme that were introduced by Revenue.

Maybe you’re a business in the retail or services industries and are having to make significant changes to premises and workflows to minimise the risk of COVID-19. Or perhaps you're a business in other industries where, although you’re back to work, all of your employees will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. No matter what industry your business is in, there are certain implications of rehiring employees that all employers will need to understand. That’s why we’ve broken them down for you. 

7 Steps To Rehiring Employees 

Where an employee previously laid off has been re-hired, the employee will qualify for the Wage Subsidy Scheme if their DEASP claim is ceased. However, employees must have had a pay date in February and have been included in submissions between the 1st of February 2020 and the 30th of March 2020 in order to qualify.

If you’re planning to rehire employees as you reopen your business, you’ll need to take the following steps to ensure the employees are rehired correctly in line with Revenue requirements:

  1. If the laid off employee was ceased on the payroll, and the employer now wishes to place this employee back on payroll to avail of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, the employer can create a new employment for the employee with the same PPS number and a different Employment ID and apply the scheme for this employee. 

  2. To be included in the updated Employer CSV file (also known as TWSS file), employers must ensure that the rehired employees are on the payroll and an RPN has been received by Revenue the day before the employer calculates and submits the first payroll payment for the rehired employees to Revenue.

  3. A daily refresh of the Employer CSV file will include the employee information for rehired employees notified to Revenue. It’s important to note that rehired employees between 2nd May and 17th May, were temporarily not included in the first batch of Employer CSV files that were made available. Revenue have since updated the Employer CSV files to include rehired employees that were notified to Revenue during this period.

  4. Employers will receive a notification when an updated Employer CSV file is available for download, including when an employee’s information has changed due to a rehire in another employment. Where relevant, this Revenue instruction file must be downloaded from ROS again and re-imported into the payroll software.

  5. For pay frequencies other than weekly, employers should consider placing these rehired employees on a weekly pay frequency to simplify the alignment with the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme payments and to prevent overlaps with the Pandemic Unemployment Payment that may trigger a DEASP overpayment situation for the employee.

  6. Where this is not practical and the employee is rehired mid-month, the employer may submit a payroll submission using their normal payroll frequency. Revenue will refund the employer for the entire payroll frequency for the employee and the employer must retain the excess subsidy refund and this will be taken into consideration during the reconciliation process.

  7. An employee being rehired after a period on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment should cease their payments immediately and repay DEASP any amount to which they were no longer entitled.

Don’t Miss Out On The Latest Updates - Join Our Free Webinars

We know how important it is to keep on top of the most recent developments when it comes to COVID-19. That’s why we’re holding regular webinars to share with you all news relating to Revenue updates, what employers need to know and how you can make sure you’re complying with best practices at all times.

Click here to watch our previous webinars on-demand, where we cover everything from important COVID-19 payroll updates to return to work government advice and more.

To receive email notifications letting you know when we’re holding our next webinar, sign-up to our mailing list and ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates for your business.


Jul 2020


3 Important Changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

Most employers are now either aware or availing of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. However, as the economy slowly recovers and many businesses reopen their doors, new changes to the scheme have been introduced to facilitate the transition. It’s essential that employers in particular keep up to date with these changes so that they know best how to manage their payroll as they bring employees back to work. 

3 Updates To The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

Here are the recent changes to the scheme that employers need to be aware of:

  1. Employees that were on maternity, adoptive, paternity or parental leave or directly related unpaid leave, in receipt of Health & Safety Benefit, Parent’s Benefit or Illness Benefit are now eligible for the scheme. Employers who wish to avail of the Wage Subsidy Scheme for any of these employees will need to complete a simple form for each relevant employee, and this form is available for download via myEnquiries on ROS. Revenue will check DEASP data to ensure the employee was in receipt of the DEASP payment, such as maternity benefit etc. Revenue will then calculate the Net Weekly Pay for each relevant employee and will provide the information on an updated TWSS file. This updated TWSS file will need to be downloaded and re-imported into the payroll software. The subsidy will be backdated to the date of recommencement of employment or from the 26th of March 2020, whichever is the latest date.
  2. It has been confirmed that apprentices that were on training in February and as a result were not on their employer’s payroll in February now qualify for the scheme. This is also done by the employer submitting the form in myEnquires which will then prompt an updated TWSS file.
  3. Revenue has decided to place all recipients of the Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment on a week one/month one basis. Revenue have issued RPNs to reflect the week one/month one basis, and it applies to all those that are/have been in receipt of those payments. 

Don’t miss out on the latest updates - Join our Free Webinars

At BrightPay we know how important it is to keep on top of the most recent developments when it comes to COVID-19. That’s why we’re holding regular webinars to share with you all news relating to Revenue updates, what employers need to know and how you can make sure you’re complying with best practices at all times.

Click here to watch our previous webinars on-demand, where we cover everything from important COVID-19 payroll updates to return to work government advice and more.

To receive email notifications letting you know when we’re holding our next webinar, sign-up to our mailing list and ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates for your business.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinCoronavirus

Jun 2020


7 Steps To Returning To Work After COVID-19

On the 9th of May 2020, the Government published the Return to Work Safely Protocol. This sets out a number of measures that workplaces must take in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace as we reopen our economy.

The Health Service Authority (HSA) has responsibility for ensuring that employers are following the protocol and preparing and putting systems and controls in place. They will also be carrying out workplace inspections to ensure the Protocol is being implemented. Their approach is very much supportive.

At 29 pages long, the Protocol is quite a comprehensive document and there is a lot to take in, particularly for a small employer. So, we’re breaking it down and pulling out the key points that you need to be aware of moving forward. 

The Protocol sets out a number of steps for employers and workers to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. 

1. Lead Worker Representative

Each workplace must appoint at least one lead worker representative, who along with management will have responsibility for ensuring that COVID-19 preventative measures are adhered to. The Protocol very much promotes collaboration between the employer and employees, and having a Lead Worker Representative is very much key to having everybody working off the same page. For transparency and openness, it is also recommended that you create a log of everyone in your business who has COVID-19 responsibilities – that might be for cleaning or dealing with suspected cases. Download Template: Lead Worker Representative Log

2. Review Risk Assessment & Health & Safety Policies

In order to create a COVID-19 Response Plan that is specific to your business, you will need to complete a risk assessment. Look at how and where the virus could be transmitted in your workplace, and from that, you’ll learn what control measures you need to take  to minimise these risks. If there is a change to how work is being carried out in your workplace then you will need to review your Health & Safety policies. 

3. Develop a COVID-19 Response Plan

The next mandatory point is that all workplaces must develop a COVID-19 Response Plan. This is best thought of as a comprehensive catch-all document that deals with all points of relevance relating to COVID-19 and the workplace in one place. The Protocol specifically sets out the information you must include in your Response Plan, and this includes:

  • Stating how you will deal with a suspected case of COVID-19 in your workplace. You should appoint one employee with responsibility for dealing with suspected cases. You must have a designated isolation area to accommodate someone who may have contracted the virus. The idea being that you have a sterile environment where the employee can go if they are unable to go home straight away.
  • You will need to reference cleaning & hygiene. State how frequently your common areas and frequently touched surfaces are being cleaned. Have you provided sufficient hand washing / sanitisation facilities?
  • Reference the measures you have taken to ensure physical distancing. You will need to show how the 2 metre physical distance will be adhered to.
  • There is a strong onus on employers to keep staff informed and updated, not only on what is happening in your workplace or site but on public health advice in general. That will include displaying signs in the workplace, but also sending government updates and links.
  • Employees have a responsibility here too; they must ensure that they are keeping up-to-date and abiding by the preventative measures being put in place. So, it is important to set out the employees responsibilities in writing in the Response Plan as a reference point.
  • Mental health is specifically referenced in the Protocol. You will need to reference and discuss how you are supporting employees through this very challenging time.

Bright Contracts has been updated with a template COVID-19 response plan which has been written closely following HSA guidelines and checklists.

4. Complete Pre-Return to Work Forms

A pre-return to work form must be completed by employees at least 3 days before they return to work. There are a number of prescribed questions that must be answered. The form allows employees to self-certify that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms or have not been in close contact with any confirmed or suspected cases over the last 14 days. You can get a return to work form template from the HSA website.

In communicating with employees upon their return to work, it would also be advisable to establish whether or not they might be considered as a vulnerable worker. There is a HSE webpage that sets out who high risk groups are, you might consider sending this to employees and asking them to notify you if they fall into any of the categories. If they do fall into a vulnerable category you do have a duty of care to take extra precautions to protect that individual.

5. Provide COVID-19 Induction Training for All Staff

Upon returning to work all employees must be given COVID-19 induction training. At a minimum, this training should include:

  • Up-to-date advice and guidance on public health.
  • Details on what a worker should do if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Information on what steps the business is taking to address the risk of COVID-19.
  • An outline of the COVID-19 response plan. 
  • Any other relevant sector specific advice. 

The training doesn’t have to be overly complicated and you should consider giving this training yourself. If you have a well put together COVID-19 Response Plan, this could double up as your training material for staff. Be sure to keep a record that the training has taken place and note who has attended. If you have any new starters in the coming months, they also should be given the training. 

6. Keep a Log of Group Work

You should keep a log of all close contact, group work and employee interactions that take place. The logic behind this initiative is to be able to assist with contract tracing, should it be required.

7. Review Other Company Policies

Finally, when you’ve done all of the above you may want to look at reviewing and updating some of your existing policies. For example your Sick Leave Policy should really be updated to reflect COVID-19 - the protocol specifically requires employers to review and revise their existing sick leave policies. You might also want to consider putting in place a Working from Home policy if that is the norm in your company, or updating the Annual Leave and Mental Health policies.  

Keep Up-To-Date With the Latest Advice on Returning to Work

Interested in finding out more about Returning Staff to Work? Click here to watch our most recent webinar on-demand where we discuss the Return to Work Safely Protocol, common questions on the practicalities of bringing staff back to work and the payroll implications of returning staff to work.

To receive email notification letting you know when we’re holding our next webinar, sign-up to our mailing list and ensure you don’t miss out on the latest updates for your business.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinCoronavirus

May 2020


How to introduce Thesaurus Connect to clients

Introducing a new service to your payroll clients isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to be. Yes, you know that it would be great for their business and maybe they do too, but it’s likely that they’ll still need some convincing to get them over the line and on board. So, here are 3 things to keep in mind when introducing Thesaurus Connect as a new payroll process.

What Does Your Client Need

Before you make your case to your clients, you need to be sure that you’re offering them the best service for their business. Every client is different in one way or another, and this means that a one-size-fits-all approach to their payroll just isn’t going to work. It’s also not going to give them confidence in your ability if they think you don’t understand their business, so doing your homework here will really pay off.

In order to get your client on board with your new payroll offering, it’s useful to think about what challenges they’re facing right now regarding payroll, and whether Thesaurus Connect is a right fit for them. Thesaurus Connect offers a whole range of additional HR benefits, so think about how these extras can save your clients time. Begin your introduction by showing your clients that they’re in safe hands because you fully understand their payroll challenges and you’ve got just the product to help them make their payroll processes even easier than it’s ever been before.

How Can You Provide Added Value

So now that you’ve established how Thesaurus Connect can modernise your client’s payroll process, it’s time to pitch the benefits to them. For most clients, this is a simple case of informing them about the HR features they may not have themselves including:

  • Client payroll portal
  • Payslip library
  • Employee payroll app
  • Annual leave management
  • HR document upload feature 
  • Automated payroll reports

You can also present Thesaurus Connect as a time saving opportunity by explaining to them that the cloud functionality frees them up to dedicate additional resources to other aspects of the business.

What’s The Bottom Line

Every client, whether big or small, is always trying to find new ways to cut costs, reduce administration and maximize profits (without cutting quality services). And in today’s climate, most businesses don’t have any choice in keeping their costs down as much as possible. So, one of the best ways you can sell your payroll services to your clients is by simply showing them just how cost effective it is.

Thesaurus Connect offers highly competitive pricing options where users are billed based on usage. The usage subscription model is based on the number of active employees in the billing month. The more clients you have the lower your cost per employee, which means you can pass the savings along to them. You can also find ways to make it even more tempting to your clients, such as offering them a free trial period, or a special deal if they refer a new client to your bureau. This is totally up to you, but don’t be afraid to be creative with how you cost this service.

Book a demo of Thesaurus Connect to see how you can help your clients with a new and improved payroll service offering.

Posted bySarah TyrrellinBrightPay Cloud