Right to flexible working: can your HRIS & payroll support it? In summary:

  • This year, businesses must contend with the introduction of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, and evaluate whether their current HR and payroll solutions are up to the job.
  • HR and payroll software must be able to adapt to flexible working – not only to ensure a better experience for employees, but to also make people operations as efficient as possible.
  • Businesses must also evaluate whether their current HRIS and payroll systems support seamless data transfers, and will stand up to increased security and regulatory requirements.

It’s the workplace law change that’s sparked a thousand headlines: the introduction of the wordy Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, which came into being at the start of April.

Wait… A flexible law change?!

Yup – it’s now a real piece of legislation! But because of those very headlines, this new law change can be misunderstood. For starters, the law change doesn’t give employees a legally enshrined right to flexible work.

Right to flexible working: can your HRIS & payroll support it? Cezanne Blog

Instead, the legislative update gives all employees the right to ask for flexible working from day one of employment. And employers must seriously consider that request, and get back to employees within two months, giving a good reason for any rejection of that request… All while going through an adequate process… AND employees can also make two requests within a year…

It’s a fair amount to consider there! So, while not a flex-free-for-all, it’s still a lot for employers to consider.

You might have to go flex…

Indeed, recent LinkedIn data shows that 77% of employees consider workplace flexibility more important than pay when considering a new job – and workplace experts reckon the publicity around the flexible law change could spark a deluge of requests.

While employers don’t have to say yes to flex, they’d be minded to consider it. Not only do employers have to understand how flexibility might interact with business and operational norms, they’ll also have to work out if their technology is up to the task.

…but can your HRIS and payroll keep up?

Why is the people operations tech stack so important if you decide to consider offering broader flexibility? Well, no employer wants to trip up their operations, make the digital experience of work subpar, or fall foul of laws, regulations and data protection frameworks due to changing the usual working structures.

For example: if an employee drops down to part-time hours, or gets complete freedom over working hours, that will likely impact their pay levels, deductions (such as pensions), contract, employment information, and need for tracking of different hours.

It’s a lot for finance managers, payroll and people professionals; and their systems to keep track of. There’s a lot that can go wrong. Therefore, getting the right HR and payroll tech is vital.

Flexibility requires care for compliance

Compliance will also be key. If employers are flexing hours and contracts, employer national insurance contributions, leave entitlement, and even how their new hours interact with employer policies, as well as the right to switch off or health and safety implications, will all likely change.

It’s a lot to consider: but, having a tech stack, or single HRIS, that can efficiently and accurately deal with these changes will be critical to flexibility being a benefit to the business, rather than just a ‘nice to have’.

Thankfully, there’s HR and payroll technology out there that can help manage flexible working – managing everything from payroll to staff flexibility – in a way that delivers for the business and employees.

Read on to find out more.

An all-in-one HRIS

An all-in-one HRIS, which allows any time, anywhere access, is a good system to look out for when managing flexible work.

Why? Well, firstly, mobile and remote accessibility is critical for employees working remotely or in different areas. They can access and update timesheets and critical personal information (such as bank details), which might impact pay runs going off without a hitch, at the hours and location they’re working in.

Furthermore, HR and finance administrators working remotely, or at non-traditional hours, can also check into the systems whenever they need as well. Systems such as Cezanne’s HRIS and payroll also enable configurations that support finance and HR admins with the access they need wherever they’re working while ensuring other employees can’t access each other’s personal data.

Not only that, the right single system HRIS stores data across multiple areas such as core people management data and payroll modules. For example, if an employee’s job roles changes, any updates to pay or hours in HR modules will automatically show up in payroll. This ensures that changes in hours or pay grades, including tax and deductions, are accurately reflected in pay. So, flexible work schedules won’t cause pay errors for employees.

Data, data, data

Similarly, HRIS that supports seamless data transfers are critical when moving to a more flexible model. Not only does an all-in-one HRIS reduce friction by taking what could be separate systems into interconnected modules, where all data updates are reflected in relevant modules via one input, but this happens at speed. It means that physical workplace location or time doesn’t impact the efficiency of operations. Meaning flexibility can work as a business benefit.

Furthermore, role based security configuration with Cezanne’s HRIS enables HR, finance teams and managers to get access to the systems they need – without other employees being able to access sensitive information, and with dedicated dashboard showcasing the data relevant for them. It means the right data can be accessed by the stakeholder, with configurations available at set-up meaning flexibility doesn’t impact personal information.

A greater digital user experience

HR and finance managers must consider the digital experience of flexible workers – especially if they’re increasingly remote, hybrid, or working at hours that might require them to log in at increasingly disparate times.

Flexibility can add a new level of frustration to the digital experience with people admins having to check in with colleagues to see if they’ve missed changes while out of work (or working at a different time) and playing catch-up to see what changes might have been made to key HR and policy information.

Instead, the right integrated HRIS and payroll system should enable accessing all information, in its latest iteration, behind a single sign-on with an easy-to-use dashboard. When it comes to pay, access to digital payslips and all statutory reports, from P60s to P11Ds, can help employees feel in control of their take-home, even if they’re not working next to HR and finance teams in the office.

And with systems such as Cezanne’s HRIS and payroll engine having automatic updates from HRMC, as well as automated deductions and bank checks, simplifies regulatory compliance. This means finance teams are freed up to spend more time liaising with employees who might have valid questions around flexibility and pay, i.e.’ If I go down to part-time hours or job share, how might this impact my take home?’ The type of liaison that better engages staff, driving better experiences of work.

Security and regulation

Lastly, it wouldn’t be right to claim that a move to flexible working is simple. There are lots of moving parts: from understanding the impact on team dynamics and individual responsibility to the nitty gritty of pay. And one thing that should be top of mind for finance and HR teams is security.

With employees and administrators more likely to access systems remotely and with reduced or flexible hours more likely to come up against regulatory frameworks, earnest practitioners will rightly so be concerned with how their HR and finance systems support this in a way that is compliant with data protection and security protocols.

But the right secure cloud HRIS will allow remote or out-of-hours access with security at its centre. For example: Cezanne’s HRIS sand payroll service might be ‘anytime, anywhere’ but its ISO27001 certification, GDPR compliance and secure single sign-on – as well as regular penetration testing, reliable cloud hosting and data encryption – means this doesn’t come at the expense of security. Indeed, by outsourcing security worries, such as ISO27001, which can be incredibly difficult to get, practitioners are freed up to their day job safe in the knowledge that risks are mitigated.

It means even finance and HR can work in a flexible manner, focusing on how to best deliver for the business and employees, backed by a system that helps them keep financial and employee information secure.

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Dan Cave author image

Dan Cave

Dan Cave is an award-winning HR journalist and editor. He’s been reporting in the HR space for over five years and works across the national business press.

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