Exo Tips & Tricks - Spring 2018

Are you prepared for Christmas Leave Processing?

So that time of year is rolling around again. Yes, we are still a few months away, but Christmas always sneaks up on us faster than we expect! Christmas is the biggest leave processing season of the year, along with everything else that goes with it – for many Christmas is an operational nightmare! Don’t fret, we’ll help you navigate through the minefield that is Christmas payroll processing, so you can relax knowing that at least your payroll is under control.

There have been a few subtle changes to the way that the Holidays Act is understood and implemented, and MBIE have released their guidance on managing Holidays. This includes new updates on the treatments of employees at closedowns, and how to manage leave in days vs. the legislated weeks.

As usual we are running our Annual Christmas Processing Workshops and webinars to cover off the How and Why of leave. To give you a head start here are our top tips:

Calculator

Check your Holiday Pay setup

A month or so prior to your end of year processing, take the time to review your employee leave set-up to ensure that the leave will process correctly. Use your Holiday Pay view to check your current balances and rates for holiday pay. View our short instructional video on the Education Centre, in the videos section. Now is the time to fix it when the pressure is off! Also check anyone who has a termination value of zero (this means they have potentially been overpaid if they leave) and anyone who has no outstanding leave available for a Christmas closedown – will they earn enough in time?

Plan your time

The public holidays are mid-week this year, which can be problematic as many people process pays on these days. Plan what day you will be processing pays and communicate that to your staff. Bear in mind that your team may have payments coming out of their banks right around pay day so it’s always a good ideal to process earlier rather than later. Whether or not you have a closedown you have the option of processing your weekly/fortnightly pays each week/fortnight or will you pay for the leave period in advance so that you can have a break? Remember that if you are processing in advance New tax rules apply for future dated leave payments so make sure you are across these changes.

Leave Paid in advance

It is very important to clarify and communicate to your employees your company policies if your company instigates a closedown and the employees are not able to work. If you have an employee without enough outstanding leave to cover a closedown period, confirm company policy around paying in advance, or whether employee leave balances must be managed to ensure enough outstanding leave to cover the closedown period.

If you do opt to pay an employee’s leave in advance, is your company policy that they will need to pay back if they leave soon after Christmas? If so, we recommend getting in writing a commitment from the employee if they should depart before they have earned the leave back, you can take this out of their final pay. We often see companies pay out leave in advance over Christmas shutdown and then the employee never returns.

NOTE: this does not apply to new employees

New Employees at Closedown

Last year MBIE clarified Section 34 of the Holidays Act to confirm that all new employees (employed less than 12 months) are liable to be paid 8% of their gross, since start date, to cover all leave at closedown. It is no longer acceptable to enforce new employees taking leave in advance over this period, unless it is in addition to the 8% payment. It’s important to review how this affects you, whether your contracts cover this and to communicate this to all new employees. You can find guidance on this on our Knowledge Base, and we will cover it in our Christmas sessions.

Communicate

However you choose to manage your payroll processing through the Christmas period, ensure that you communicate to your team what will be happening for those few weeks.

  • Closedown rules
  • When is the last date for timesheets and leave requests to be approved and handed in?
  • What day will pay be going through?
  • If you are paying weekly pays in advance when will any catch up pays be processed?

Annual Leave cash-ups

Christmas is the time that employees may begin asking for Annual Leave cash-ups – it’s an expensive time of year for many people so an extra week of pay will go a long way!

If you’re a company that allows cash-ups then just remember you can only cash up one week of leave outstanding from previous years, and there are a few rules to abide by so check out our knowledge base or the MBIE website for more info.

So those are just some simple tips to hopefully make your Christmas processing easier and start planning now to take the stress out of the Christmas period.

If you need any assistance with any of the above we will be running Christmas seminars throughout November and December, or you can book a one-on-one session with an MYOB consultant to review your set-up and answer any queries you may have.

Want some more help?

If you want to painlessly process your Christmas leave – attend a Christmas Leave workshop or Webinar.

Be Quick – Book Before the 31 October 2018 and Save 10%.

*10% discount off the total price of the Christmas Training webinar or workshop and will only apply to bookings made before the 31 October 2018.

Record Keeping - what you need to know

We all know that in payroll we have commitments to meet in terms of Annual and BAPS leave, Wage & Salary payments, contractual obligations and more. But what many of us forget or aren’t aware of is that from 2016 employers have a legal obligation to keep certain records as well.

From 1 April 2016 new employment standards legislation came into play which enforces employers to keep clear and accurate time and attendance records for their staff.

Unfortunately, this move can be seen as just another piece of compliance work that employers now have to look after but what it really is, is an exciting opportunity to streamline your payroll processes and save some time.

Good Record Keeping = Leave Management

The key requirement is that employers can produce a record of the number of hours worked by employees on each day in any pay period. In a world where we must answer the question “what is a week?” in relation to any employee at any time, having a record of their work patterns per day enables employers to accurately answer this question to ensure that employees have the right entitlements and the right leave valuation. Without this data, payroll administrators can spend hours guessing employee work patterns and ultimately getting it wrong.

Alarm clock

Good Record Keeping = Payroll Processing Automation

For many payrolls, any manual process that is being done by the payroll administrator is time consuming and open to risk. Manually keying timesheets, paper-based leave processes and manual calculation of rates and entitlements is likely to result in an error – we are human after all! And often we see that payroll administrators are processing manually due to a few small scenarios that they have to be careful of – managing the bulk to care for the few. Automating as many processes as possible enables administrators to automate the bulk of the processing, hence only having to deal with the exceptions manually therefore freeing up valuable time that can be better spent elsewhere.

So, what are the options?

For employees who work regular hours with no variation, a contractual statement of what this is can comply. As always, it’s important to review this often to ensure that things haven’t changed.

For other types of employees, there are a raft of ways that you can look for simplification and automation:

  • Look for a time and attendance system that will enable you to track your employees’ times more effectively and integrate with your payroll. Exo Time and Attendance integrates directly with Exo Payroll, but if that doesn’t suit your needs there are many options out there that can integrate into most payroll systems.
  • What jobbing products are you using in other areas of the business that can work with your payroll, or at least provide time information? I.e. many manufacturing systems require a login and can provide this information in a format to export to payroll.
  • How are your timesheets managed? If they are on paper – move to a system that can manage this for you.
  • At a minimum, can you use spreadsheets for easier management should you have to review history? (Note: Exo Payroll has time import functionality)

In short – as you work through your payroll processes next pay period, keep half a mind on the process you are following. Can you easily determine how many hours an employee works on any given day? Do you know what their week is? Are you doing a lot of mundane manual data entry? Are you so buried in processing that you don’t have time to spare for things like checking and managing leave entitlements, or updating employment agreements? As a payroll person, is your leave balance sky high because you haven’t been able to take a proper break in years?

If you answered yes to any of these then it might be time to review your record keeping processes – check out the MBIE fact sheet here for guidance: MBIE Record Keeping Fact Sheet

The legislation is brief but clear: Legislation.govt.nz / Record Keeping

And if you want to discuss what options you have in Exo, check in with your account manager or email our Services team: enterprise.services@myob.com

Need Help?

Whether you are a new user of EXO Payroll or a veteran processor, you’re bound to need a hand at some point. At MYOB we have a ton of ways to get you the targeted help that you need to fix problems and learn to make the most of your product, but from experience not everyone knows what options are available.

So, how can we help you?

In-Product Help Options

In the Help menu of your EXO Employer Services product you have various options for getting answers to your questions:

Find Help Files, Release notes for the latest versions of the products, User Guides, and access to the Online Knowledge Base to find answers and fixes for all your questions.

In-Product Help Options.

Find Help Files, Release notes for the latest versions of the products, User Guides, and access to the Online Knowledge Base to find answers and fixes for all your questions.

The online Knowledge Base is particularly useful and often referred to by our own team – find solutions to most errors and problems just by typing in key words and you’ll be provided with a list of articles relating to your question.

Education Centre

The MYOB Education Centre is your one stop shop for everything you need to know about your product, and how to get help.

Support Team

Our dedicated support team are standing by to answer your calls and provide immediate assistance with any issues* you are experiencing with your EXO Employer Services system.

Purchasing a support plan provides you with unlimited access via phone and email to our team so that you can get answers pronto!

For immediate support queries contact the support team directly on 0800 MYOB Exo (696 239) - Option 2, or anzpayrollsupport@myob.com and they will assist you with a support plan on the spot.

*Note training and environmental issues are not covered by the support plan.

Training & Consultation

Our Professional Services team provide a wide range of training; either set training or one on one training with you as you need it. This covers Foundations Skills training, Super User Training, our regular Tax Update and Christmas Series, and any other topics we cover during the year.

Or if you have a specific issue or simply just want our undivided attention we can book a personalised session to help with anything you need.

To find out what is on offer check our website: academy.myob.com/exo/nz

For any other queries including personalised assistance email enterprise.services@myob.com

Exo Payroll Warrant of Fitness

Using our 42-point checklist, our consultants will review all areas of your payroll setup to make sure your system is running as effectively as possible. Brilliant if the system has been set up many years ago, or there have been multiple people processing over the years. Or even as just a yearly refresher to ensure that you’re on track with legislation as it has changed.