Top 5 Payroll Issues of 2022
2022 will be a busy and complicated year for payroll professionals. There are many upcoming payroll industry changes that businesses and payroll professionals must consider and tackle. To help you avoid payroll issues and to ensure compliance our global award winning payroll specialists have highlighted the Top 5 Payroll Issues of 2022.
1. Public Holidays:
There are now 10* public holidays in Ireland as of 2022. In recognition of the efforts of the general public, volunteers and all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in remembrance of those who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has agreed to designate a once-off public holiday in the Republic of Ireland on Friday 18th March 2022. From 2023, there will be a new annual public holiday in early February to mark St Brigid’s Day. The public holiday will be the first Monday in February, except where St Brigid’s day (1st February) happens to fall on a Friday, in which case that Friday 1st February will be a public holiday.
Public Holiday dates in Ireland
|1 January||1 January|
|17 March||6 February (new from 2023)*|
|18 March (in 2022 only)*||17 March|
|18 April||10 April|
|2 May||1 May|
|6 June||5 June|
|1 August||7 August|
|31 October||30 October|
|25 December||25 December|
|26 December||26 December|
* new public holiday added from 2022 to bring total to 10 days per annum
For further details on public holiday entitlements please visit our post here. One important note to point out in regard to public holiday entitlements is around leavers. If an employment ceases during the 7-day period immediately before the public holiday and the employee worked during the previous 4 weeks, the employee is entitled to receive a public holiday benefit. This is one area that is often missed. For example the 7-day period for the next public holiday (17th March 2022) is Thursday 10th March to Wednesday 16th March.
2. Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme ending
The EWSS was introduced by Government from 1st September 2020 and replaced the previous scheme TWSS. EWSS will cease effective 30th April 2022 with an extension for those businesses impacted by the December 2021 public health measures to 31st May 2022. Please remember to untick your EWSS Out-in indicator on your PSR submissions to Revenue once the scheme ends for your business. For further information on EWSS and other Revenue COVID-19 support schemes please visit here. From the 1st March 2022 the reduced rate of Employers PRSI of 0.5% will stop with rates returning to their normal levels (A Class PRSI rates are currently between 8.8% and 11.05%). Employers who availed of or are still availing of debt warehousing should continue to observe the terms and conditions which apply. These are 1) All tax returns must be filed so as the debt is quantified and 2) Taxes falling outside the warehouse scheme must be paid. Failure to meet these conditions could result in being withdrawn from the debt warehousing scheme. For further information on Revenue’s debt warehousing scheme please visit their information page here.
3. Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2022
The draft scheme of the Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2022 has been published here. The Bill will provide a legal framework for requesting, approving or refusing a request for remote work. This is part of the Government’s National Remote Working Strategy which aims to ensure that remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises economical, social and environmental benefits. The Government has indicated that the Bill should be published before Easter and enacted into law before the summer recess.
The Bill will require all employers to have a written statement which sets out the company’s Remote Working Policy specifying the manner in which remote working requests are managed, the time frame within which decisions will be made and the specific conditions which will apply to remote working generally within the organisation. The General Scheme provides that it will be an offence for an employer to fail, without reasonable cause, to bring its Remote Working Policy to the attention of its employees, liable to a class C fine of €2,500 max. This will mean that employers must bring to the attention of their employees to this policy on commencement of employment and thereafter at least annually or when amended.
Employee’s must have 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer to be eligible to submit a request for remote working under the Bill. An employer must return a decision within a reasonable time period but in any case within a maximum of 12 weeks from receipt of the request and this time period must be specified in the Remote Working Policy. An employee will have to wait a period of 12 months from the final decision of the employer to submit another request, provided the employee remains in the same role. If an employee moves to a new role within the company, he/she may submit a fresh request.
Having given the application due consideration, the employer may decline a request for remote working where satisfied that, in its view, that the request is not suitable on business grounds. The General Scheme sets out the following non-exhaustive list of business grounds:
- The nature of the work not allowing for the work to be done remotely
- Cannot organise work among existing staff
- Potential impact on quality
- Potential negative impact on performance
- Planned structural changes
- Burden of additional costs, taking into account the financial and other costs entailed and the financial resources of the employer’s business
- Concerns re the protection of business confidentiality or intellectual property rights
- Concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspaces on health and safety grounds
- Concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspaces on data protection grounds
- Concerns re the internet connectivity of proposed remote working location
- Inordinate distance between the proposed location and on-site location
- If the proposed remote working arrangement conflicts with the of applicable collective agreement
- On-going or recently concluded formal disciplinary processes
At Paycheck Plus we recommend that all employers put in place a remote working policy as early as possible. If you already have a remote working policy in place, we recommend that you review the policy in light of the requirements which will be introduced by this legislation. While the General Scheme provides a very good indication of the parameters of the Bill, there may yet be some important changes to the scheme before it becomes law. Therefore, you should consider keeping your policy under review over the coming months.
4. Statutory Sick Pay Scheme
In general in Ireland, you have no right to be paid while you are on sick leave from work but this is due to change from 2022. In June last year (2021), Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar announced details of the new law to give all workers (full time and part time) the right to paid sick leave. The statutory sick pay scheme will be phased in over a four-year period. The draft scheme will introduce:
- Paid sick leave for up to 3 sick days in 2022. This is planned to increase to 5 days in 2024, 7 days in 2025 and 10 days in 2026.
- A rate of payment for statutory sick leave of 70% of normal wages to be paid by employers (up to a maximum €110 per day).
- A right for workers to take a complaint to the WRC where they are not provided with a company sick pay scheme.
Legislation to bring the changes into effect is expected in early 2022 with a draft of the Bill available here. The scheme is intended to support employees would do not have access to paid sick leave from their employer at present. For those employers who provide for paid sick leave should review their current policy to ensure it meets the minimum conditions of the Bill and amend accordingly.
There is a lot of further clarifications needed before the Bill is enacted around the requirement of medical cert and the financial burden to employees particularly those on lower pay and possible exemptions for businesses if they can demonstrate to the Labour Court that they cannot afford to make payment.
In terms of HR and Payroll administration there are still some conflicting messages from Government documents released to date around eligibility and payment calculations. One on hand the Bill states to be entitled to paid sick leave under the new scheme you must be working for your employer for at least 13 weeks consecutively and on the other hand the draft general scheme notes state 6 months. When it comes the calculation of the sick leave payment the draft general scheme notes section 7 attempts to address this but again falls short on this and provides for now working examples. What is the pay reference period, what constitutes pay (contractual or non-contractual), for average weekly pay is the period 4 weeks (as mentioned in the scheme notes) or in line with holiday pay of 13 weeks as taken from S.I. No. 475/1997 – Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay For Holidays) Regulations, 1997.
5. Gender Pay Gap Reporting
The Gender Pay Gap will undoubtedly remain one of the hottest payroll topics this year as the government seek to redress the imbalance between the average earnings of men and women.
The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 which was signed into Irish law on 13 July 2021 will mandate organisations to report on the pay differences between female and male employees. It is expected to shape Irish-based companies’ diversity and inclusion strategies for years to come.
As part of the legislation employers will be required to provide an explanation for the reasons for any gender pay gaps, as well as outline measures being taken to address any gender pay gap. The details of the legislation can be found here
Paycheck Plus, Your Irish Payroll Processing Team
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