The Sick Pay Act 2022 is a huge boon for Irish workers, granting them a minimum of three statutory sick days per year. This represents a level of rights and protection, as well as a safeguarding of earnings which employees had previously not benefited from.
There’s no question that the Sick Pay Act 2022 will be seen as a welcome change across the Irish workforce. What also can’t be ignored however is the significant administrative and compliance headache the new legislation will introduce for organisations.
As any HR professional and they’re likely to tell you they work in a fast-paced, ever-shifting world. When significant workplace reforms are introduced, it tends to fall to people teams to ensure their respective organisations are made ready for the changes. Noncompliance with new legislation can also carry with it potentially crippling legal and financial penalties, not to mention the fact that any breaches of trust with regards to employee wages can significantly damage the faith your people have in your organisation.
As with any significant shift in legislation, we believe the answer to getting ready lies in the systems and technology which your people teams rely upon daily. In this blog we will be examining how your existing HR and T&A processes can be adapted to help ensure you hit the ground running now the Sick Pay Act is here to stay.
HR and the importance of communication.
The modern workplace is now more widespread than ever with many people working a variety of different set ups as per their needs. Whilst this has been an undoubtedly positive evolution of working culture in recent years, having a workforce made up of relatively disparate elements can present significant challenges for people teams, particularly when it comes to communication.
The new rulings around statutory sick pay represent a significant shift in employee’s rights. One of the most fundamental elements of getting it right when embedding the new legislation within your organisation will be communication. Employees will need to understand how the new rulings affect them, what rights it affords them and the tangible benefits which the act will bring. They will also need to understand how you as an employer will be remaining compliant with new legislation.
HR systems are often easily overlooked as simply tools to deal with administrative headaches quickly and efficiency. What’s often not taken into consideration is what the technology can offer you in terms of wider communication- your HR systems should provide you with a platform to communicate messaging across the entire scope of your organisation.
Being able to push out announcements to your wider workforce- all through a single platform, with the understanding that it is easily accessible by your employees, regardless of where they work from, should provide you with the peace of mind you need to understand that your responsibilities and the benefits to your employees are clearly communicated.
Further to this, the new SSP rules may mean that workers with specific medical requirements or working setups may wish for specific conversations with you or the people team. Your HR platforms should always provide you with the ability to drive discussions and offer employees an outlet for concerns. It’s perfectly understandable that people will want to understand how new rulings affect them and your HR technology exists to help you action those conversations.
Time and attendance and payroll accuracy.
The link between an organisation’s time and attendance processes and payroll function is often overlooked but the two are fundamentally dependent on each other. The accuracy of the data being fed through to payroll teams will determine the speed and effectiveness of the next payroll cycle. Errors in tracking hours worked will inevitably lead to inaccuracies in wages paid or delays in running your payroll, which can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety for your people.
Your payroll team performs a vital role month after month ensuring the accuracy of your payroll and that your people are paid on time. Accuracy with wages is crucial as any discrepancies or delays can seriously impact the financial wellbeing of your employees as well as affecting their levels of engagement at work. Inaccuracies can also lead to potential legal challenges which any organisation will be keen to avoid.
Your ability to pay your people accurately and on time is also a reflection of your organisation as a whole. Businesses who fall behind in this sense run the risk of being painted in a negative light, particularly from the perspective of recruitment. As businesses are looking to attract new talent in order to drive their future success, a reputation as being unreliable with pay will not make your organisation an attractive prospect for job candidates.
Your time and attendance processes have a huge role to play in ensuring the accuracy of wages both in terms of hours worked and sick pay. Inefficient absence management processes can be a leading cause of payroll inaccuracy as organisations struggle to reconcile wages with hours worked.
There are some very blunt statistics surrounding absence which serves to highlight just what a crucial element of your people management function it is. The average employee loses 4.3 days per year to unplanned or unwanted absence, equating to a roughly 569 euro median cost per employee per year. If left unchecked, these costs can spiral out of control and the working days lost to absence can have far wider reaching impacts on business continuity
The new Sick Pay Act will present an additional layer of complexity which is likely to highlight any existing flaws in your absence management process. Organisations should be considering whether their current time and attendance solutions are robust enough to help them meet the demands of new legislation. Are you able to track absences efficiently? Will you be able to keep an accurate record of sick pay owed? Do you offer a self-service functionality that allows employees to effortlessly process absence requests? If the answer to any of these is no, you will want to consider a health check of your time and attendance processes.
Want to learn more?
The Sick Pay Act is an exciting and significant shift for Irish workers. These new benefits will be a welcome boon for employees but what’s even more clear is the need for organisations to be on top of the administrative burden the new legislation presents.
We believe that the answer to overcoming challenges exists in the same systems and technology which your people teams rely upon every day. Our time and attendance and HR manager solutions have been designed to help you simplify your processes, overcome inefficiencies and make sure you are ready to meet the demands of new legislation each and every time.
If you’d like to find out more about what these changes in legislation mean for your business or would simply like a chat about how to best navigate through the challenges of SSP, self-certification and absence management, our team of friendly experts are always on hand- Get in touch today.