There have been quite a few changes to the payroll rules over the past few weeks. The government are trying to support businesses and individuals by introducing new measures to keep everything going during this period of infection and lockdown. We’ve been trying to do our bit by being quick to respond to these changes and build the relevant features in the Paycircle platform as fast as we can.
We’ve added in functionality to apply the new sick pay rules for Covid-19, to manage furloughed workers, to create reports for reclaiming money and to pause earnings orders (DEAs), for those who have them.
We hope that these features can go some way to help take the pressure off our community of users who are, themselves, pulling out the stops to help keep the nation employed and paid during this period.
We are sorry that these latest features haven’t been shown the same level of Paycircle love that we usually give our new features. This is down to a combination of working at speed whilst trying to keep things as simple as possible for our development and testing teams. We also know that people need these features now so we knew we had to ship them quick and look to make enhancements later, if necessary. We’ve also had the slight issue of ‘shifting sands’ – it was only Friday evening that the government made some significant changes to some of the rules. It’s cool (what are weekends anyway?), it keeps us nimble and these are challenging times for everyone, we’re just happy that we can do something to help right now.
So, these are our slightly imperfect but hopefully really helpful coronavirus features that we released this week.
Covid-19 and sick pay
We have added a Covid-19 sickness option for when people are off sick or are in quarantine due to coronavirus. Covid-19 sickness can now be calculated and applied automatically, according to the new rules. It is also tracked in the system so that employers can reclaim the money from HMRC – as soon as that mechanism becomes available.
We’ve added the functionality to be able to mark team members as ‘furloughed’. When marking someone as ‘furloughed’, you can also add a ‘top up’ amount on top of the furloughed amount each pay period. The system will then perform the calculations and make the appropriate deductions automatically.
Furlough reclaim reports
HMRC’s portal for employers to reclaim money for furloughed employees opened on 20th April. Furlough reclaim reports can be accessed via the ‘Reports’ area in Paycircle and can be downloaded on demand. Reports can be backdated to the beginning of the furlough period and are in the correct format to be uploaded straight to HMRC’s portal.
Pausing earnings orders
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is asking employers to temporarily stop benefit debt repayments, known as Direct Earning Attachment Orders or DEAs. This suspension is scheduled to last until the end of June but it may be extended. We’ve added in the functionality to pause and resume deductions for any appropriate earnings orders.
We will be closely tracking the government’s announcements’ and we will continue to make updates as and when further information is disclosed or when changes are made. And, as always, any payroll community feedback is really valuable so please get in touch if you have any suggestions for us.
Written by Catherine Pinkney