Using technology to embrace new legislation

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is the current hot topic in HR & Payroll legislation. With changes to how parents can choose to manage their parental leave when a new arrival joins the family effective from 5th April 2015, how easy is it for you to be compliant with yet another piece of legislation taking heed of the valuable lessons learned from the recent introduction of Real Time Information (RTI) and Pension Auto Enrolment (PAE)?

Advanced is no stranger to helping its customers with big changes in business critical ‘people’ legislation. SPL will see the need for HR & Payroll departments to add extra administrative tasks to their workload, but how can we continue to do this effectively without increasing headcount or other costly overheads?

What are our top tips?

Education

As with all legislation, there is an education process.  Ensuring you understand your legal obligations, and equally important that your employees understand their rights, is key. ACAS’ guide, ‘Shared Parental Leave: a good practice guide for employers and employees’ includes helpful information on how to manage the legislation and offers advice for both employees and employers.

At Advanced we aim to help our customers prepare for new legislation as best we can. Initially we provide access to regular legislative updates at user group events and our Annual Customer Conference - Advanced World, to ensure early awareness. As major legislation changes then near their effective date, we provide a series of workshops and webinars where customers can share their concerns and get advice on the legislation itself and any software changes. For RTI and PAE, Advanced partnered with HMRC and The Pensions Regulator to give customers the opportunity to get information directly from the regulatory organisation and question parts of the legislation which were unclear. Advanced is well underway helping customers navigate their way through SPL already, with a range of training courses and webinars available.

Embrace Technology

So, once you understand it, how do you ensure it is managed in the most effective way?

New legislation is ultimately another business process to be followed, and as with most things nowadays, the answer to reducing the administrative workload and streamlining the process lies in technology.

  •  Integration - The starting point is ensuring you have an integrated Payroll & HR solution in place.  It may sound obvious but all too often organisations run these two critical solutions as two disparate systems. Yet, increasingly we observe new legislation requiring the HR & Payroll departments to work more closely together. This was definitely the case with PAE and is sure to be the case with SPL.
  • Automation - Modern solutions offer integrated workflows enabling an automated approach to legislative processes, not only taking the administration strain but managing the risk of non-compliance, aside of time and efficiency savings.

  • Employee Self-Service – Automating processes and empowering the workforce and devolving responsibility back to employees through self-service and mobile capability were key lessons learned from the introduction of PAE.  The Advanced Payroll solution offers automation of not only the calculation process but the administrative aspects too; production of standard letters for each group of employees and integrated document management to meet the audit requirements without expensive paper storage.

  • Electronic document storage – As more legislation is introduced, the more documents organisations are required to generate and store. With office space at a premium, and storage costs both onsite and offsite high, document management systems can help with cost and accessibility. With mail merge documents being able to be fed directly into the storage system, items can be easily retrieved as required.

Compliance Checklist

If we look at automating Shared Parental Leave, considerations should be made for:

  • Do you understand the legislation?

  • Have you planned an education programme for employees?

  • Have you spoken to your software provider about the changes?

  • Which back office departments are effected?

  • What information needs to be collected and where should it be recorded?

  • Is there any documentation that needs to be produced and stored against the employee?

  • Are there certain steps that need to be followed in order to ensure compliance e.g. employee consultations?

  • Which bits of the new process could be automated?

  • Are your existing systems geared up to handle new legislation and able to offer you tools to ease the burden of implementing these new rules?

Summary

Technology options to assist in better process management are abundant and with more complex legislation being introduced year on year, investing in technology now will put you in a good position from which to manage future changes quickly and easily whilst ensuring your staff remain able to focus on more strategic, value enhancing activities.