Updates to the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme provides financial support to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme allows employers to pay their employees a non-taxable subsidy amount as well as an additional top-up amount. These amounts are subject to certain maximums based on the employee’s Average Revenue Net Weekly Pay (ARNWP), calculated based on the amounts submitted to Revenue for January and February 2020. 

For more information on the Scheme and how you can operate it through SimplePay, please visit our blog post here.

Since introducing subsidy measures, there have been a few changes in the rules and application. On Wednesday 15 April, the Minister for Finance announced further updates to the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. These changes allow for employees with an ARNWP of more than €960 to now receive support under this scheme with effect from the 16th April 2020. Previously employees with an ARNWP higher than €960 were offered no relief in the form of subsidies.

From 4 May 2020, the Scheme will ensure that employers are informed by Revenue of the maximum subsidy amount payable per employee based on their ARNWP. It will also allow Revenue to refund employers a more accurate amount.

Additionally, from 4 May, employees whose ARNWP is less than €500 will also benefit from an improved subsidy amount.

Note: The subsidy will be tapered to ensure that the employee’s current net weekly pay (subsidy amount plus top-up amount) does not exceed the lesser of the ARNWP and €960 per week. Effectively, this means that employees whose usual pay amount has been reduced but is still above €960 are not eligible for the subsidy.

More information on the aforementioned changes be found on the Revenue website here.

Updates to COVID-19 System Items

We have implemented two changes to our COVID-19 system items: Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme and COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme.

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Revenue has introduced a new field to the Payment Submission Request (PSR) for amounts paid to employees under the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

We have updated our system to incorporate this change. When adding the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme system item to an employee’s payslip (outlined in this blog post) the subsidy amount will be reported separately to Revenue. This is reflected in the Other Payments column in the Excel spreadsheet showing submissions to Revenue. Revenue has indicated that they may use this field when doing reconciliation later in the year for the subsidy payments made to employees.

To view the Excel spreadsheet, go to Filing > Regular submissions and click on the Excel link under the relevant period date.

 COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme

The COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme was applicable from the 15th to the 25th March 2020. To avoid errors in reporting, the system item for it was removed when the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme replaced the COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme. However, we have made the system item available again for those employers who paid employees under this Refund scheme but did not finalise payslips and submit the information to Revenue. Please only use this system item if you made an actual payment to employees during the 15-25 March period. If the payment was made after the 25th March, you must use the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme system item.

To add the system item to payslips with a payment date in the 15-25 March period, go to the employee’s profile. Click on Add next to Payslip Inputs and select COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme (obsolete).

Pay Frequency Expansion

At SimplePay, we realise the importance of balancing simplicity with functionality that allows you to customise the system for your payroll needs. That’s why we’ve expanded our pay frequency settings to give you more flexibility to customise payment dates.

As most employers align their pay frequency end date with the payment date to employees, SimplePay based all calculations on the payslip end date, which you could customise for your business. The extension of the pay frequencies functionality caters for employers where there are significant differences between the payslip end date and the payment date (for example, an employee is only paid one week after their payslip date). You can now set a payment date that falls in the current, previous or following month (for monthly pay frequencies) or set a payment date relative to the payslip end date (for other pay frequencies). You can also edit the payment date for individual payslips.

This increased flexibility to tailor the system allows you to better align the tax, tax credits, tax cut-offs and year-to-date total calculations with your business practices. The payment date will also be used to determine in which submission and tax year the payslip will be included.

To specify a payment date:

  • Go to Settings > Pay Frequencies
  • Select the pay frequency to edit or add a new pay frequency. Editing pay frequencies will impact tax calculations, so this should be done with caution.
  • Select the checkbox Pay date is different to the period end date?
  • For monthly pay frequencies, specify the date of the payment in the current, previous or next month
  • For other pay frequencies, specify the relative payment date
  • Click Save when you are satisfied with the pay frequency set up.

For more information on pay frequencies, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay

National Minimum Wage and PRSI AX Changes

The national minimum wage in Ireland will increase from €9.80 to €10.10 per hour from 1 February 2020 for people aged 20 years and older. This will have an impact on both PRSI and USC.

PRSI will be impacted as follows:

  1. There will be no changes to the employee rates for PRSI.
  2. There will be no change to the employee PRSI credit.
  3. The PRSI employer threshold for class AX will change from €386 to €395 (weekly).

The PRSI contribution rates will therefore be as follows for private and some public sector employments:

As always, SimplePay takes the hassle out of compliance for our users. We have already made updates to the system to ensure that the PRSI calculation is correct, depending on the date of your payslip. This means that if you prepare payslips that are dated before 1 February 2020, the system will use the previous thresholds, while payslips dated from 1 February 2020 will use the updated thresholds. There is therefore no need for you to make any changes or updates on your end – you simply continue capturing payroll as usual.

The USC threshold for the 2% bracket will also change so that full-time minimum wage workers stay in the same USC bracket. This change will be reflected through changes in employee RPNs and will take effect on 1 March 2020.

For more information on PRSI and USC, check out our help pages here.

Team SimplePay

Automatic Logout Feature

We are happy to announce a new security feature as part of our ongoing commitment to protecting your data and helping you stay safe online. We already have the highest of security standards in place, and last year we introduced an optional 2-factor authentication feature to prevent access to your account if someone has your password. Now, our optional timeout feature allows you to choose how long the system can be left idle for before automatically logging you out of SimplePay.

With this new feature, if you forget to log out of SimplePay, the next person that uses that computer or electronic device will not have access to your account. This is especially beneficial to you if you share computers in the workplace, if you work on public computers or if you are concerned that someone will use your electronic device when you leave it unattended.

To access this feature:

  • Go to the Profile icon and select User Profile
  • Click on Lock screen after timeout
  • Select a timeout option.
    • If you select ‘Disabled’, you will not be logged out of the system, no matter how long a page has been left idle for.
    • If you select a time from the menu (e.g. ‘1 hour’), it means that the system will log you out if there has been inactivity for the time specified.
  • Click Save

Just another way that SimplePay is helping you take care of your sensitive employee data.

Team SimplePay

QuickBooks Integration Upgrade

As the year draws to a close, our holiday elves have been bustling behind the scenes to enhance your payroll experience, focusing on our QuickBooks integration. SimplePay integrates with both QuickBooks and Xero, allowing you to send your payroll information straight from SimplePay into your general ledger accounts with the click of a button. This means that you do not have to switch between systems to transfer information, saving you time and reducing the possibility of human error.

You’ll be happy to hear that our QuickBooks integration has been refined to give you an upgraded user interface and setup. These improvements will make the process easier to navigate and simpler to understand if you wish to integrate your payroll and accounting information.

If you have already integrated QuickBooks and SimplePay in the past, please note that you may be required to re-authenticate your account due to the work done behind the scenes.

For more information on integrating SimplePay with QuickBooks, head on over to our help page.

Team SimplePay 

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2019 (Bill 30 of 2019) is currently going through the legislative process and it is important for Irish employers to begin preparations at an early stage. Gender pay gap reporting is likely to become mandatory for employers who have an employee volume above a certain number. 

To assist with this potential reporting obligation, SimplePay has added a Gender field to the Basic Info screen for employees. You can indicate the gender of each employee individually or in bulk as follows:

Individually:

  • Go to Employees
  • Select an employee 
  • Go to Edit Info > Basic Info
  • Select ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ from the Gender dropdown list
  • Click Save

In bulk:

  • Go to Employees > Bulk Actions > Essentials
  • Select ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ from the Gender dropdown list next to each employee
  • Click Save

You will now also be able to indicate the gender of each employee when you add employees individually or in bulk. This is covered in more detail on our help site here.

Reporting will include mean and median pay gaps in hourly pay and bonuses, gender discrepancies for employees that receive bonuses and benefits in kind, and action plans to resolve these differences.

You can obtain the numerical data from the Transaction History Report by going to Reports > Transaction History Report. You can then use Excel’s sort functionality and mean and median formulas to calculate the needed information. More information about reports from SimplePay can be found here.

If you require any assistance, please contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

We’re App Partner of the Year Finalists

SimplePay is delighted and proud to announce that we have been chosen as a finalist for the App Partner of the Year: South Africa for the Xero Awards taking place in March 2020. Xero is the leading cloud-based accounting software in the market and we are honoured to be recognised for our integration and synergy.

As SimplePay uses the same approach to Xero integration in all our regions, you can be assured that you are receiving the same quality features no matter what region you are in. We aspire to be finalists in all regions when these awards are announced in the future. 

A huge thank you to our wonderful team. Your dedication and commitment to making SimplePay the best cloud-based payroll system for our customers has made this possible. And of course, an even bigger thank you to our customers. Without your support, loyalty and feedback, we wouldn’t be what we are. We look forward to continuing to serve your payroll needs.

To find out more about SimplePay’s integration with Xero, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Employee Leave Expiration

Introducing the latest system expansion from the SimplePay team: employee leave expiration for leave days carried over.

With our aim to give you the ultimate payroll experience, you can now customise your leave settings even further by specifying how long leave carried over from a previous
leave cycle remains valid for. For example, you might have a policy that any unused leave from 2019 may carry over to 2020, but if it is not used by the end of June 2020, it will expire and be forfeited.

This is usually done to ensure that your employees’ leave does not excessively accumulate. In addition, by prompting employees to take their leave in due course, it leads to increased employee well-being which has long-term benefits for both employees and the company. Before implementing this on the system, ensure that it aligns with your company’s leave policy and your employees’ contracts to avoid any labour disputes.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

To make use of this new feature on current policies, follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Leave.
  2. Click on View next to the leave type that you wish to edit.
  3. Under Available Entitlement Policies, click on View next to the entitlement policy that you wish to edit.
  4. If the Allow leave to be carried forward to next cycle? checkbox is set, there will now be an additional line that appears under it.
  5. In the new field , enter the number of months that leave must be held for before expiring.
  6. Click Save.

If you are creating a new leave policy, you will be able to follow the same process when creating the entitlement policy.

For more information on creating and editing leave entitlement policies, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay

Introducing Dual Employment

We love giving you a great payroll experience and, once again, the SimplePay team has been hard at work to respond to your payroll needs. We are delighted to introduce you to dual employment on our system.

Dual employment occurs when:

  • you have an employee on your payroll with two active employments AND
  • you want to keep the two sets of pay separate on your payroll records.

In practice, this usually means that the employee is assigned two different employee numbers and/or IDs.

SimplePay has provided better support for dual employment as follows:

  • To enable dual employment, there is a check box under Other Statutory Info on an employee’s Basic Info screen that says Allow Multiple Employment. Tick this checkbox to allow you to capture two employees with the same PPSN.
  • When adding two employees with the same PPSN without setting the checkbox, you will encounter a validation error. This is to ensure that you do not accidentally capture an employee twice on the system when it is not dual employment, but simply a duplicate.
  • Allowing dual employment on the system will assign different Employment Identifiers to the employee, ensuring that submissions to Revenue are reported correctly. You can read more about Employment Identifiers here.

This extended functionality of the system is also outlined on our help page here.

If you have any queries, do not hesitate to reach out to our Support team.

Team SimplePay