The Christmas period offers lots of lovely things, but also a significant amount of stress for anyone who works in HR. Day-to-day routines are often replaced with holiday-specific traditions and customs which, although fun, can present some issues if policies are not in place and expectations are not managed.
Dress code (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Jumpers)
Many businesses are comfortable relaxing the dress code slightly at this time of year to bring an atmosphere of relaxedness and joviality into the working environment. It’s important that if you want to do this that you set clear boundaries of what is and is not acceptable work attire. For example, you may be happy for staff to wear jeans, but may feel that ripped denim is inappropriate. It’s crucial that you state these rules implicitly so that everyone knows where they stand. This is particularly important if you are client-facing. You may also want to encourage people to don their most gloriously tacky Christmas jumpers, either just for fun or for a charity event. Be mindful that not everyone celebrates Christmas and that not everyone will want to take part.
Overtime (I’m Driving Home for Christmas – as soon as I’ve sent these last few emails)
If your office is closed over Christmas there may be extra pressure to get things done in the run up to the festivities, resulting in staff working overtime. Two things are important here – the first is that staff know if they will receive pay for their extra hours and the second is that you as their employer know the laws surrounding this. In some companies overtime is expected and not paid for, as detailed in the employment contract. In others, overtime pay can be the same or even more than the usual hourly rate. Make sure every party involved is clear on this to avoid upset and disputes.
Weather (Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it…it will probably just rain)
Much of the country won’t even dare to dream of a white Christmas, but you never know! If there’s going to be adverse weather conditions that impact on your employees’ attendance then it’s most likely going to be over the next couple of months. You can’t control the weather, but you can have a flexible working policy in place which allows your employees to work from home if there are issues on the roads or public transport systems. Ensure that everyone is familiar with the expectations upon them during these circumstances, and that they know how and when to report that they will be working flexibly.
Christmas party (Rockin’ Around the Photocopier)
The annual work Christmas do is sadly not as simple as hiring a venue and inviting all the staff for a good old knees up. There is much to consider to ensure that it runs smoothly, safely and that no one does anything that they may later regret, or worse…puts their job in jeopardy over. It is wise to communicate to staff prior to the event what the behaviour expectations are and also what is acceptable in terms of attendance at work; whether people may leave early to get ready before the party takes place, and if they are allowed to start late the morning after. We all know that alcohol can be a big problem at Christmas parties, but did you know that you, as the employer, can be held vicariously liable for the misconduct of individuals at a work party? It may therefore be a good idea to reinforce you company’s code of conduct prior to the event, ensuring that everyone knows the bullying/harassment policy like the back of their hand. Don’t forget to refer to your social media policy too (if you don’t have one then this might be the time to implement one!) as who knows what sort of antics could end up plastered over the Internet the morning after!
Gifts (Fairytale of New Socks)
At Christmas, customers and clients may present gifts to your company, either addressed to you as a collective whole or to individual staff members whom they may have worked with particularly closely. You should ensure that staff know what they can and can’t keep for themselves. For example, you may be happy for them to keep low-value gifts such as chocolates or flowers, but there may be a policy in place should they receive something more expensive. It’s also important to remember that it is illegal to give or accept bribes, so make sure that everyone knows if there is any ambiguity about the intention or purpose behind a gift that they must let their manager know.
Illness (Have Yourself a Merry Little Trip to the Pharmacy)
It’s that time of year when everyone and their cat seems to have the lurgy. During these months this can have a huge impact on the company, therefore it’s vital that the protocol around absenteeism is efficient and well-known by everyone. Ensure that staff know when and how they are expected to let their manager know of their illness – it may be as soon as they feel unwell, even if that is at 3am, or you may prefer that they call in on the morning of the absence. Would you rather they made a phone call to tell you, or is text or email equally acceptable? Must they let you know at the start of each day they are off, or are you happy for them to just get in touch on the first and last days of their illness? Importantly, you must also make sure that staff know how sick pay works, such as if they are entitled to it during their probationary period, or indeed, at all. Illness is another good reason to exercise a flexible working policy – if someone has a bad cold you may prefer they stay away from their colleagues to avoid contaminating them, but they may be physically well enough to get on with their work from home.
Bank holidays (It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year when I don’t have to get up for work)
In the UK, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are bank holidays. Employees’ right to time off is variable based on their employment contact, which is often dependent on their industry – for example, retail workers will most likely not have the right to have the day off work, whereas office workers are more likely to. Similarly, no one has a right to higher than normal pay if they work on a bank holiday, buy many companies do choose to offer time and a third, time and a half or even double pay if people work on these days. Lastly, it’s down to you as the employer to dictate in the employment contract whether these days must come out of the staff’s annual leave or not. It’s vital that you are on top of all these elements and how they relate to and impact upon your company to ensure that all staff are well-informed with what their schedule and paycheque will look during this period.
It’s a complicated time, isn’t it? Luckily there are many HR systems and services that can help you throughout this period. Trusted solutions such as FMP Amity allow you to manage your HR and payroll effortlessly with the help of fully-compliant experts. Take the worry and stress out of the festive season and enjoy it as much as possible!
In our light-hearted ‘If Christmas Films Did Payroll’ blog we look at some classic Christmas films, and the payroll issues they might create in the UK. And back in the real world if you want to know our Top Ten Payroll issues for 2019 you can find them here
Love Actually – Payroll Runs
In Love Actually Kris Marshall is rumoured to have returned his fee for the scene where the three American girls undress him. He said he had such a great time having three girls undress him for twenty-one takes, that he was willing to do it for free, and thus returned his pay for that day.
This would cause havoc in payroll teams if they’ve completed the Christmas payroll run. Having a cut off date for changes is key to hitting the payroll deadline each month. Kris might have had a bumper Christmas pay packet, but would have had it taken back in the January pay run.
Judge Harper is given a one-dollar bill with the words “In God We Trust” circled. He reminds the court if the government of the United States can issue its currency bearing a declaration of trust in God without demanding physical evidence of the existence then the state of New York can accept and acknowledge that Santa Claus does exist and that he exists in the person of Kris Kringle.
That would cause chaos in most HR and payroll departments, as it could lead to acts of payroll fraud in companies. Claims of pay from the Buddy the Elf, Mrs Claus, and a dubious Rudolph R. Deer could start appearing and payroll teams would need to know whether these were legitimate or not. In God we Trust would not be acceptable.
The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine). Other Muppets — Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle — weave in and out of the story, while Scrooge receives visits from spirits of three Christmases — past, present and future.
But hold on, and this is a payroll plot spoiler….. Muppets aren’t real. Scrooge and Marley seem to be an accountant of sorts. Relying on a frog to handle book-keeping, accounts and payroll seems like a recipe for disaster. No matter how much you love the frog!
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Gender Pay Gaps
The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role.
US film director Tim Burton earns a staggering $25million every year. In the Top Ten grossing Movie Directors in the world today there are no female directors. Gender Pay Gap reporting is an important part of legislation now, with no doubt more companies needing to analyse and report on their payroll going forward.
Buddy (Will Ferrell) was unwittingly transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood as the son of Papa Elf. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. He gets a job at Gimbels, working overnight to produce a spectacular Christmas department display.
In the UK the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018 was passed and comes into force from 6th April 2019. Employers will now be required to provide employees who are paid according to ‘time worked’, details of the number of hours being paid on their payslips.
8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip and is mistakenly left in an empty house. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.
Macauley Culkin was 10 when he starred in the role. In the UK for payroll purposes the youngest age a child can work is part-time at 13 and children under sixteen don’t pay National Insurance. Luckily for Culkin a Child Performance licence covers children working in films.
On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. Soon after arriving at the North Pole Santa Claus shows up and chooses the boy as the one to receive the first gift of Christmas.
It’s unclear how old Father Christmas is but there should be some provision for a pension and that’s payrolls responsibility. Auto Enrolment should be embedded in every UK company now. With employer and employee contributions going up again in 2019 hopefully Santa (reportedly over 1500 years old) will at some point be able to hang up his boots and have a well-earned retirement!
This classic 1954 film featuring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye sees the two coming to the rescue of their old army boss, General Waverly, who’s running a failing Vermont inn. Waverly has invested all his savings and pension into the lodge, which is in danger of failing because of the lack of snow and consequent lack of guests. He’s had to get rid of lots of staff.
Payrollers need to be fully on top of legislative changes. From April 2019 the Government will tighten the scope and treatment of termination payments, making any part of a termination payment over the sum of £30,000 subject to employer NICs.
Divorcee Scott Calvin is disgusted to learn that his ex has tried to suggest to their 6-year-old son Charlie that Santa isn’t real. On Christmas Eve, Scott reads The Night Before Christmas… then receives an unexpected visitor on his roof. When he’s startled by Scott’s calling out and falls, Santa disappears, leaving only an 8-reindeer sleigh and a suit with instructions to put it on if he’s involved in an accident.
This is a nightmare for a payroll team. First there is the whole question of Santa’s existence (see Miracle on 34th Street for clarification) but then we get a guy impersonating an employee who has died. Savvy Payroll teams should always be on the lookout for this type of internal employee fraud, educating teams to be on the lookout for payroll fraud at any level. With a good Santa being paid £58 and hour, fraudulent ones need to be routed out before they create a large dent in your payroll bill.
Nancy Meyer’s ‘The Holiday’ revolves around Iris and Amanda, both in relationship turmoil, who decide to impulsively swap houses for the holidays to escape their respective lives. We can’t imagine Iris or Amanda’s bosses were best pleased about their decisions. Iris is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, and Amanda edits movie trailers. Neither industry shuts down over Christmas!
Iris will have had to sort out a flexible working agreement with her boss if she had columns to write during the time she decided to jaunt off to LA. This is an excellent demonstration of why flexible working works so well; in a situation when a last-minute annual leave request could jeopardise your business during a busy period, allowing an employee to work from home (or from anywhere) gives them the freedom they require whilst enabling work commitments to keep ticking over.
If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from Bad Santa, it’s that the holiday season isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Billy Bob Thornton plays the main character, a functioning alcoholic who dislikes people but works as a mall Santa.
You’ll need to tread carefully when dealing with any incidents from drunkenness at a party, fights, and lateness and non-attendance the next day. It is good practice to have several policies in place to protect your business, and no matter what size, a simple handbook that explains all to your employees.
So that’s our ‘Top Ten If Christmas Films did Payroll’. 2019 looks to be another busy year for payroll and our Top Ten Payroll Issues for 2019 ebook should give you some indicators of what’s coming up in the New Year. But for now., thank you to all payrollers for your efforts getting us paid on time. Have a great Christmas!
Payrollers, you might not have Health & Safety high on your payroll agenda. But don’t let the Christmas payroll, one of the most important payroll runs of the year, go up in smoke, or fail to deliver for that all important festive cheer for employees.
It may sound daft but fires in the workplace rise during the festive period, and Christmas related injuries can knock out key people. Apart from an average £21000 physical cost from fire damage this could make delivering the final payroll of the year difficult.
Some employers are therefore fearful that allowing their staff to decorate the workplace during the festive period is too risky and blame “Health & Safety” as the killjoy. Bah humbug we say.
Health, Safety and HR regulations will seldom stop you from doing anything but merely require you take sensible and reasonable steps to consider the risks involved and then approach the task in a safe and practical manner.
Christmas Payroll Golden Rules
Make sure your important payroll data is backed up somewhere other than the office you’re sitting in
If you’re using hanging decorations then make sure that your team are using appropriate steps, not climbing on desks or worse still on swivel chairs! You may be rushing to meet the payroll deadline and have a good time in the office, but that won’t happen if you’re at home with a broken leg
Be aware of fire risks. Decorations attached to or near light fittings and heaters represent a real fire hazard.
Check that Christmas lights are safe and that wires haven’t become detached during storage. The one desktop in your office holding all the payroll data in an offline file will soon go up in smoke if a fire occurs.
Christmas trees, cables and other decorations can cause trip hazards so be careful that walkways are kept clear. You don’t want the one person looking after payroll taking a pre-Christmas trip
Be mindful of too much alcohol at the Christmas lunch or party. Keying an extra £20,000 bonus for all employees will send Christmas joy to them but will not go down well with the business bosses. And getting it back from stripped out bank accounts after Christmas could be even harder.
So enjoy a worry free Christmas payroll with these top tips. Or better still, if your payroll is giving you the Christmas blues you might want to consider giving yourself an early Christmas present and outsource your payroll. New Year predictions for 2019 indicate a really busy year for payroll. Read our guide.
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Read our ebook on the critical issues facing payroll and HR teams in 2019
The first area that’s necessary to consider is the purpose of your charity. What is your drive? What is the issue and how do you intend your charity to help or change this? Make sure you think carefully about the scale of the problem and do your research into what (if anything) is already being done. If there are charities doing something similar, it will be harder to raise funds, as there are more charities already set up than there are donors to provide this funding.
You will also need to have at least 3 trustees for your charity, and bear in mind that your charity must have ‘charitable purposes’. These are purposes that help the public, for instance education, saving lives or animal welfare. The full list of purposes can be found on gov.uk (no-follow).
2. Reach out to organisations for funding
You’ll need to think of ways to encourage donations and draw support from others. This isn’t just support from friends and family, you should consider how you can draw support from bigger organisations and foundations with money in their pockets. Reaching out to charitable foundations and corporate funders can be a time-consuming process, but the end result is worth it to get your charity up and running.
If you’re struggling to find the right type of organisations for this, you can always reach out to those working in similar charities and ask what worked for them in the past. You can also visit websites such as Funding Central to look for suitable funders.
3. Consider the big picture
Cash flow, investment… make sure you understand the ins and outs of finance and your charity. When you work with a finance manager, they can translate finances into meaningful information for you to easily digest. This can then inform you to make wiser financial decisions moving forward.
You should also be aware of particular rules in place. For instance, if you earn less than £5000 a year, your charity can be an unregistered charity. It’s only when it exceeds £5000 a year that that your charity is required to be a registered charity. Once registered you must make certain financial details publicly available on request. It may be worth becoming a member of the NCVO, which provides help and guidance supporting voluntary organisations
4. Be strategic
It will be easier to raise funds if your target is larger. By being ambitious, you are showing potential funders that you have a big mission which is more likely to convince them of the cause. By aiming high you also have more opportunity to attract talent without having to spend too much on the day to day. To make a big change, there needs to be a substantial budget behind your charity to make it happen.
5. Get specialist payroll & HR help
Charities and not-for-profits often have complex payroll and staff structures. You might require a mixture of full time, part time or volunteers working for the charity, and each instance requires its own different payroll and onboarding process. Transparency and compliance are key to charity payroll
If you are campaigning more at certain times of year, it might be the case that you require a higher number of staff during these times, and then less so in between. This means irregular payslips, expenses payments for volunteers alongside the general day to day complexities of HR and payroll. By having a specialist payroll and HR team on your side, there’s no stress, allowing you to get on with the day to day running of your charity. Find out how payroll outsourcing can help ease the burden.
It’s the biggest shopping event of the year and we think that should also apply to payroll! That’s why we’ve got a great deal to offer you to celebrate this year’s Black Fripay.
Throughout the rest of November we are offering half price implementation on our outsourced Managed Services to any hard pressed micro or SME businesses with 100 employees or fewer!*
There’s never been a better time to see how our award-winning, industry-leading payroll services can help your business. Fed up with your existing supplier? No problem. Sign today and we’ll get your payroll sorted.
Get in touch today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by giving us a call on 01293 789940 and quoting BLACK FRIPAY to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.
Why take advantage of Black Fripay now?
You’re probably starting to worry about the Christmas payroll run and the work needed to get everything done and dusted, and people paid on time before the Bank Holiday break. With 2019 looking to be even more busy for payroll.
With new legislative changes, more GDPR woes and of course Brexit looming large, making a change in preparation now could ease any upcoming payroll headaches.
If you dread the monthly payroll run then a five minute call to us could be the best 2019 New Year’s resolution you make. Our professional team will ensure you are always legislatively compliant, and they’ll release you from the administrative burden you could currently be under.
And with half price implementation give your business an early Christmas present that will keep the Finance Director happy!
Happy Black Fripay from everyone at FMP Global!
*Contracts must be signed by 5pm on Friday 30th November for the 50% discount on implementation to be applied. Half price implementation only applies to the initial payroll setup.
Our Top 10 Payroll Issues is back for a fourth year, highlighting the critical things that should be on your radar in the coming twelve months.
Payroll is constantly changing. So, what’s in store in 2019?
We enter the New year with a long list of issues for many payroll managers and, as a result, 2019 looks set to be another challenging year. Download our guide now
If you thought GDPR was done and dusted, think again. Your business will be hit by another set of regulations in 2019. And worse still the regulations have not yet been finalised. When they are the implementation time will be very short. The impact on payroll is uncertain but you’ll need to be on your guard and work with your data protection officer to understand whether anything is needed for your communications.
Brexit and the exit from the EU in March will of course dominate the entire year and again things are very uncertain, especially with the prospect of a potential ‘no deal’. Our ebook gives practical advice to HR and payroll teams on planning for the exit now, and of course our blogs will keep you abreast of any developments as they arise.
Our ebook considers the implications of a changing taxation landscape in the UK in 2019 both from an employer and employee viewpoint. Is the onset of Trethiant Cymreig on your radar?
And legislative changes to payslips, termination payments, student loans will ensure you’re kept on your toes.
What does it all mean for hard pressed payroll teams?
Our Top 10 Payroll Issues highlights that yet again the world of payroll processing continues to get more complex.
This guide is correct at time of going to press but staying up to date is time consuming and requires you to be continually on the ball. Ensuring all your team stay on top of things should be a number one priority. Savvy payroll teams are now looking not just for fully outsourced payroll but also part managed payroll solutions. Part managed payroll can give hard-pressed teams the breathing space they need to stay on top of everything.
Can I ignore it all?
That wouldn’t be wise. With non compliance being met with increased audit, naming and shaming from the regulators, you could be in for a rough ride in 2019. Ignorance will be no excuse, and the penalties could be huge.
The Key topics covered in the Top 10 Payroll Issues for 2019:-
A recent survey of 1800 workers found 9 out of 10 workers in the UK are not working the standard 9-5 week. Additionally, 6 out of 10 of workers would choose to work earlier than 9am if it meant they could leave earlier than 5pm.
These findings highlight the growing demand for flexible working across a range of industries. In a world where we can be seamlessly connected wherever we go, there are few limits to when and where employees work.
This growing trend of flexibility has a core focus of employee wellbeing and work-life balance. A focus which is evident in countries like Sweden, where 6-hour days were trialled to encourage a healthier and happier workforce. And in France, where employees have a ‘right to disconnect’. This deal signed between employers’ federations and unions enables workers to switch off their phones, and receive no pressure to check their emails out of their working hours.
So, what are the benefits of flexible working?
Flexible Working Benefits
With options including compressed hours, annualised hours, remote working, job sharing and staggered hours, the choices themselves deliver great flexibility to both employers and employees.
Benefits For Employees
More Quality Time with Family
Working a 9-5 day away from home is one of the biggest downsides when it comes to family life. Employees leave the house early, come home late and often spend more time with their colleagues than their loved ones. Particularly for those who are parents, it can be a struggle to spend quality time with children, as before you know it, it’s bed time. An even more frustrating part for some employees is the time lost with commuting. If employees have to commute into big cities daily, it can take away even more precious time with their loved ones.
By working from home or commuting outside of rush hour, a huge amount of time can be saved, leaving employees more time to spend with their families.
It’s not only time that commuting flits away, it’s money too. Commuting can be a huge additional cost for employees, no matter if it’s petrol, train tickets or bus tickets, it all adds up. By working remotely, or commuting outside of rush hour, employees save on these huge costs. And if working from home, there’s also often less temptation to go visit the vending machine or nip out for that expensive coffee at lunch…
Flexible working can also contribute towards lowered stress levels. Instead of trying to fit everything in outside of strict 9-5 hours, employees can plan work around appointments, childcare and other important necessities. This means employees can still get work done, whilst accomplishing all other daily tasks without the hassle of booking time off or owing time.
Particularly relevant if working remotely, employees are essentially their own boss when working to their own schedule. They are accountable for scheduling their work for the day and get it done. This gives them more responsibility and makes their job more satisfying.
Time saved from no longer travelling to work in rush hour (or at all) can be utilised to enhance employees’ workload as well as nurture their mental and physical health. It leaves them more time to switch off when needed and get a good amount of exercise. Good mental and physical health means increased productivity, and happy and healthy employees.
Benefits For Employers
Reduced Absences and Turnover
Happier staff are less likely to want to leave their job or phone in for a sick day. By offering flexible working as an employer, you are giving your staff flexibility with their work and life balance, which in turn will mean higher staff retention rates.
Boosted Morale and Productivity
Similar to the benefit of reduced turnover – if your staff are happier and more satisfied, their morale is boosted. This means they will be more productive and more motivated to get that report done faster, meet that difficult deadline and achieve their KPIs.
Become a Favoured Employer
Need more employees? If you are seen as a flexible or family-friendly employer, candidates will come flocking. Your business’s image will be enhanced, and you will be seen in a more positive light.
‘Out of Hours’ Operation
Particularly in areas of work such as customer service, another benefit can be that your business’s hours can be extended out of the normal 9-5. This means your customers or clients get answers quicker, no potential leads are missed and satisfaction levels are raised.
Can Be Cost-Effective
Staff often value flexible working over other forms of remuneration, so there is often a positive financial implication of allowing staff to work flexibly.