The benefits of an online HR portal during lockdown

3rd Apr 2020
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It’s week 2 of lockdown and honestly, things are great, I'm totally fine! I’ve counted every grain of rice in the cupboards, had a tea party with my stuffed animals and even thought about going for a run before quickly deciding against it. Although some companies have been chancers by trying to say they are “essential services” (*cough cough Sports Direct*), for the most part, everyone in the UK is now working from home where possible.

As an employer, this is an extra stressful time and my heart goes out to you. The processes that are being put into place to deal with this ever-changing and uncertain situation need to be watertight to avoid long-term ramifications down the line. So how do you suddenly deal with all your staff suddenly working from home? Or even worse, if one of them falls ill with Covid-19?

As we all know, in order to claim statutory sick pay (SSP) you need to have been off sick for 3 days with a doctor's note and then your sick pay starts from day 4. But the rules now state that if an employee falls ill with Covid-19 or develops symptoms and has to self-isolate then the normal HR rules (much like everything else recently) are out the window and SSP must be paid from the very first day that they’re off.

So how do you accommodate this? The case has never been stronger for online HR platforms and if you are a BrightPay Payroll Software customer then this is part of the package. In the payroll software, you can now choose either “normal sick leave” or “Covid-19 related sick leave” which will automatically do all the admin and payroll calculations for you depending on which option you choose. This information will then flow through to the HR calendar. 

Don’t worry though, if an employee is down as “Covid-19 related sick leave” then the rest of the company will not be able to see this as it does not specify what type of leave it is. You can also set different access levels for your staff and managers so that the appropriate people have the appropriate information.

This Covid-19 related sick leave is available in BrightPay 20/21 which was released just 2 weeks ago (the devil works hard but BrightPay works harder) but the ability to add SSP from day one is also possible in BrightPay 19/20 - you will just need to do a slight workaround. 

BrightPay now has the ability for users to define up to nine additional custom types of employee leave. If your employee is working from home then you can set up a custom ‘working from home’ leave and have this information reflected on the calendar. The differentiation can be helpful, especially if you have a mix of essential and non-essential workers in your workforce.

Another super handy feature of the online HR portal is document uploading. Employers can upload documents about working from home to distribute to employees to stay in touch when working remotely. So you can keep them up-to-date with important announcements or simply notify everyone of the online pub quiz you’ve organised for Friday night.

Either way, it should make life a tiny bit easier for you and take the stress out of at least one or two things. Right, I'm off to count the sugar (honestly, I’m fine). Stay safe and stay home!

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Aoibheann Byrne



Written by Aoibheann Byrne
BrightPay Payroll Software