Auto enrolment, are you ready?

Auto enrolment, are you ready?

Although auto enrolment staging has been happening for around a year and a half we are now moving into the phase affecting companies with 250 employees or fewer.  The impact of this is many more organisations than ever before will find themselves trying to cope with this legislation.  Almost all will need to change operational processes, many will need to change payroll systems, and some may just not have a clue what to do or where to begin!  In their latest blog, one pensions provider states that those who have been through staging are just the tip of the, proverbial, iceberg. The largest employers went first in an attempt to ease in the process.  However the largest employees in schemes to date reportedly only collectively make up 3 million employees from 10,000 companies. Between now and the end of the staging process a further 30,000 organisations need to establish suitable processes to assess, and where appropriate enrol, all their employees.

Managing opt outs is thought to be trickier for smaller operations than larger businesses and, whereas larger employers probably have the staff to deal with the issues or can simply outsource, smaller businesses might be concerned about the additional costs.  When it comes to running the assessments workplace pension auto enrolment isn’t a one off check of all employees, it needs to be a continual process.  Every time payroll runs the eligibility of employees, not already enrolled, needs to be checked.  Every time someone is opted in there has to be a process to deal with their opt out (if chosen).  Opt out communication needs to be worded correctly and be impartial - anything that could be seen as inducing opt out may be deemed something the employer could be fined for.  When an employee opts out that employee has to be re-assessed after three years, in accordance with legislation. It’s a lot for a smaller employer to cope with in house.

What can help is outsourcing payroll to a company like Safe who know how to process employee data correctly for pension auto enrolment.  Safe processes auto enrolment processes within the payroll solution negating any need for third party ‘middleware’ to make the assessment.  Safe offers two service options: - a fully managed payroll provided by Safe Outsourcing or a software as a service (SaaS) model using Safe’s flagship payroll product Safe EMS.  Both of these options are charged on a pay as you go basis, helping smaller businesses budget for and manage costs.  Safe integrate with Now:Pensions and Nest pension providers (and many other providers too), who can help businesses establish a suitable scheme and provide the legally compliant and suitably impartial employee communications necessary.  

Speak to Safe about how they can help your business on 0844 583 2134, email, or visit or to find out more.

Clean slate for ex-offenders causes recruitment concern

Clean slate for ex-offenders causes recruitment concern

As the justice secretary plans to effectively ‘wipe [the] slate clean’ for ex-offenders, employers may start to wonder who exactly they are employing.

The justice secretary’s plans, as reported recently in a leading national newspaper, could have considerable ramifications for employers if they come to fruition. The idea in motion at the moment is to have a time frame for ‘spent convictions’ in a reform to the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. The plans change short convictions, such as less than six months, to a spent conviction status after two years rather than the 1974 act seven years. For employers, this means the prospective employee need not declare said conviction all the quicker.

Concerns in comments raised in response to the news on the tabloid’s website included one visitor making reference to the case of a shoplifter who stole bread. The tale was accompanied by a question of whether a leading UK high street grocery supermarket would subsequently employ that offender. Food for thought perhaps, if you excuse the pun!

A change in legislation of this kind could impact further in the future and causes confusion on where an employer who would require a CRB check would stand. Could serious crimes become ‘spent convictions’ one day? Could therefore a convicted paedophile who has spent said conviction potentially regain the right to work in a nursery? Could someone convicted under terrorism laws potentially regain the right to work at an airport? What could the consequences be if they do eventually then reoffend? The article quotes the justice secretary and offers some protection in saying that ‘serious crimes’ will always need to be disclosed. However if the 1974 act is changing, so potentially are the proverbial ‘goal posts’ which define serious crimes.

That aspect aside, the shoplifting comment one article reader made online is an example of a crime not seen as serious potentially in light of other crimes, but still not ideal for an employer placing said ex-offender in a shop environment. The idea of the act reform is to assist the rehabilitation of ex-offenders into society. However the impact could be that placing, say a shoplifter to work in a shop, would achieve the exact opposite. It could force the ex-offender to see the scene of their crime on a daily basis and surely heighten the temptation to reoffend. Not exactly ideal for the employer or indeed new employee.

One aspect of this debate is agreed by all who comment on the article. Jobs are in short supply, so employers are very picky over who they choose for a role and as such want to be in full possession of the facts. Safe Screening can help your business be in full possession of the facts regarding your job applicants. To find out more, visit

Do you know who is working for you?

Do you know who is working for you?

Recent statistics released by the UK government, show that in 2011 around 200 illegal immigrants were found working in Devon and Cornwall areas of the UK alone. Fines for this area and period exceeded £434k, however some of these fines were collections based on raids the year before.

A civil penalty system has been in place for employers since 2008 by the UK Border Agency. This allowed the agency to place fines, previously capped at £5,000 per instance of employing an illegal worker on the employer. With the cap now raised to £10,000 per worker the amounts that any offending employer could pay could be quite substantial. Once the penalty is in place, employers don’t have long to settle the bill either. They must pay in full within 28 days or ask permission to pay in monthly instalments, permission which may not be granted.

A download from the UK Border Agency website naming and shaming employers in London and surrounding, shows a breakdown of fines by organisation for 2010. Within this can be seen fines as low as £2.5k for one company, rising to £45k for another particular company. Depending on the turnover and profit of an organisation a fine of these sizes in the very worst case scenario, could put a company out of business.  In the best case scenario where the company can afford to carry the fine, it will inhibit reinvestment and growth and significantly affect bottom line and thus profits.

Do you really know who is working for you? If you look out on your business and count heads of those members of staff who have a background you’re unsure of, try taking that figure and times it by £10,000 fine a time. Then look at something like for the safety of your business.

Even chief executives need vetting

Even chief executives need vetting

It was recently reported that the CEO of a household name internet search engine may have lied on his CV.

Accused of fabricating a degree by a colleague, the CEO in question stepped down siting ‘personal matters’ rather than acknowledging the scandalous discovery surrounding him at the time in the press. It was later reported he may have health issues. His colleague had originally reportedly discovered that the academic institution quoted on the CEO’s CV as awarding the CEO a degree qualification, only began teaching the subject quoted four years after said CEO supposedly graduated.

Whether he lied or not has yet to be proved and may never be known. However, the scandal itself surrounding the accusation has caused the company to be thrown into making a series of changes right at the top of the organisation. This could only cause confusion to those lower in the organisational tree. The scandal too and associated bad press has no doubt impacted upon the brand value of this household name.

It shows no matter what the position you’re recruiting for, pre-employment background checks are the key to avoiding any nasty surprises later in employment, or any associated internal confusion and external bad press. Luckily, cloud software can help quickly and easily conduct background checks on candidates. To find out more, visit

Does more temporary staff mean less pre-employment checks?

Does more temporary staff mean less pre-employment checks?

An American Bureau of Labour and Statistics has reported a rise in contingent labour comparing 2011 with 2010 statistics. Perhaps more worryingly, their report also observes that checks on contingent workers are generally not as thorough as those on permanent members of the team.

Perhaps this could be explained by the frequency in which temporary workers come and go from an organisation. That perhaps their temporary nature seems to indicate to those who employ them, that they don’t need to know as much about them. However that said, if the temporary worker is filling a role that allows them to handle personal information, the damage they could do in that role if not properly checked to the organisation could have large impact repercussions.

In addition to these American based findings, rules surrounding AWR for recruiters operating in the UK now need to be adhered to. Those agencies who do not comply can face heavy fines from the UK government.

As well as falling foul of these laws, any who hire in the UK, via an agency or directly, temporary or permanent, need to prove they’ve checked the right of the individual to work within the UK by law. Failing to do so can mean £10,000 fine per bad hire to any organisation.

So whilst not conducting as many pre-employment background checks on temporary workers as you might on permanent may seem on trend, the smart thing to do is to check all who are employed and fully. To find an easy way to do so, visit

14 million P2 Coding Notices and RTI

As HMRC continues to progress their PAYE computer system with the National Insurance and PAYE Service (NPS), they are expecting to issue 14 million P2 Coding Notices to employers in tax year 2011-12 as Pay and Benefits magazine recently reported.

The problems associated with incorrect tax codes were well highlighted in the national press during 2010, due to the introduction of this new system. These problems have been attributed to a mismatch of information between employers HR and payroll software systems, pension providers and HMRC. The system had to be updated to make sure PAYE will work well in time for the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI).

In readiness for the tax year 2011-12 and in light of previous problems, HMRC issued largely electronically P9s. For those unable to receive P9s electronically in time for the new tax year, HMRC advised they follow the P9X procedure, the main crux of which was to add 100 to any tax code ending in L to reflect a change in allowance. Perhaps ironically, those who couldn’t receive this electronically, thus perhaps the least technology savvy of their audience, were told the full details of how to follow P9X procedure were available on the HMRC website.

Pressure to modernise to leaner greener paperless electronic systems leads organisations such as HMRC to increasingly direct people and organisations to more electronic means. The large HMRC website for procedural information can make it difficult for payroll managers to keep up to speed with all the latest updates and impossible to those who still use paper based systems and manual approaches to payroll. HR software, payroll software, also other payroll solutions such as time and attendance software can all help with compliance through digital updates. However there will still be companies who can’t afford that level of investment, but need that level of processing power. For those, payroll bureau services, or fully managed payroll outsourcing could be the best solution to keeping HR payroll activities up to date.

To find out more about Safe EMS HR and payroll software and bureau or managed services visit and click on ‘enquire online’, or call us on 0844 583 2134 quoting ref ‘HMRC RTI’ to arrange a free demonstration.


fair employment monitoring

Fair employment monitoring
The Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (FETO), as amended by Fair Employment and Treatment Order (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 , makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief and/or political opinion in the fields of employment, the provision of goods facilities and services, the sale or management of land or property and further and higher education.  We created this solution specifically to serve the above legislative requirements.
This module can be added to track religions of those you employ in Northern  Ireland, and works totally transparently to your employees.
For your HR teams, this module allows for data collection, so your business is able to demonstrate equality in terms of employment.
This allows your business to anonymously track levels of one religion and of another, so you can keep and demonstrate when questioned, a healthy balance.
To find out more about adding our FETO module to your Safe EMS solution, please contact your account manager or visit and use our ‘enquire online’ link. 

Penserver interface

Penserver interface
Our penserver interface solution for Safe EMS assists with calculations of pensions for government agencies employees. This tool provides an interface for files of data relating to pensions, and the interface allows the product user to extract the correct information in the correct file format as requested by law. Laws surrounding government pensions are very specific, and file formats are defined within the law. Our penserver interface automatically populates the Safe EMS solution with pension deductions per employee. Captured information through the interface is sent to pension administrators who are usually external to our customer’s business, in a format easily accessible to all, namely Microsoft Excel files.
Some information will need to be manually inputted, for example spouse contact details, however we do provide you with a form screen to make this data entry easier.
You are able to choose the frequency of reports you can run for pensions administration, so if you pay a financial adviser to check these daily, monthly, or annually, you are able to run reports in time to match this agreement. Similarly, if you wish to run reports based on how often the information is likely to change, for example if you run two major recruitment events each year, you are able to customise report dates to suit.
To find out more about adding our penserver interface to your Safe EMS solution, speak to your account manager or visit and use our ‘enquire online’ link. 


LGPS (Local government pension scheme) module

The software is able to calculate average pension contributions within legislation specific to educational institutions.
Our software can calculate contributions based on any point in the year and salary.
Local governments will usually set bandings as rules for schools to follow, and our software helps you comply with these.
Our LGPS optional extra can calculate employer contributions on a salary basis at any given point during the year, giving you flexibility to hire new staff and start their pensions all year round.
We are also aware that part time workers can be entitled to the same pension contribution as a full time worker in these sectors, and our software is able to calculate contributions on this basis.
To find out more about adding our LGPS functionality to your Safe EMS solution, please contact your account manager or visit and use our ‘enquire online’ link. 

Safe EMS HR and payroll key features

Safe EMS HR and payroll
Get every facet of your people management business facing in the same direction with Safe’s integrated HR, payroll, recruitment, and training solution.

Human resource management
• new Starter wizards and checklists
• ‘out of the box’ document management
• full HR history tracking
• recruitment management
• training administration
• absence administration
• leaver processing
• org charting
• integrated self service functionality

Payroll management
• UK and Irish Payroll modules
• integrated with HR
• statutory and occupational absence schemes
• hourly, weekly and monthly configuration options
• pensions management
• HMRC on-line ready
• integrated modules P11D and BACS
• variable data management tools
• bureau, in-house and hosted

System wide tools
• integrated Cognos reporting
• integrated EasyAsk, English language reporting
• Microsoft Office integration
• Microsoft SQL server based
• task and workflow automation
• configurable and customisable to key requirements

‘The time we have saved through using Safe EMS is incalculable’ commented Irene Stannard, Anglian Group.

Safe Computing on Twitter
Monthly Archives