Due to direct government involvement creating additional regulations, along with the constant need to consider social value, payroll legislation within the public sector can be more complex and fast-moving compared to the private sector. 

For example, multiple pay grades and structures makes processing payroll within the education sector a rather complicated task. And the varying pay requirements between teaching and non-teaching employees only adds to this complexity. 

Similarly, payroll teams within the policing and healthcare sectors must be sure to include additional payments where necessary, such as the London weighting allowance and unsocial hours payments

Failure to adhere to public sector regulations can result in not only costly penalties, but potential reputational damage for the entire organisation. Not to mention a drop in employee satisfaction if incorrect payments are made. Therefore, it’s clear that constant compliance is of paramount importance.  

That said, here’s a reminder of four areas of legislation that usually experience quite a bit of change, and therefore should be watched closely. 

1. Teachers’ Pension Scheme Monthly Contributions Reconciliation (MCR) 

The Teachers’ Pension Scheme Monthly Contributions Reconciliation (MCR) has recently replaced the monthly data collection (MDC), the monthly contributions breakdown, and enrolment data collection processes. 

The MCR is an amalgamation of the three separate processes through a new data collection method and ultimately provides both the employee and pension provider greater insurance that all information gathered is accurate. This, in turn, will help to reduce the risk of discrepancies between service and contributions. 

Some of the benefits of MCR include:

  • Time saved by completing one form rather than three 
  • A simpler End of Year Certificate (EOYC) process 
  • Greater validation to ensure data is accurate, eliminating queries and the risk of costly arrears 
  • More reliable benefit statements for pension scheme members 

To cater for this new data collection method, we’ve built a specific Teachers’ Pensions Monthly Contributions Reconciliation module into our payroll software.  

The module provides users with all the functionality needed to create a MCR return – including creating and maintaining all necessary data – and is available in ResourceLink 25b onward. 

If a MCR on-boarding form was not submitted prior to 30th June 2021, Teachers’ Pension will be in contact with an allocated on-boarding month shortly. 

2. Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) staff record 2020/21

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) staff record has been collected since the 1994/95 tax year. It provides data regarding the characteristics of staff employed under a contract of employment at a reporting higher education provider (HEP) in the UK. 

The categories of information collected by the annual HESA staff record include: 

  • Personal characteristics of staff 
  • Details of their contracts of employment 
  • Activities undertaken by staff 

From the 2020/21 tax year, changes were made to the staff record, including various field removals and updates to some existing fields. 

To help users easily submit accurate data for the annual staff record, dedicated HESA functionality is included in our payroll software.  

And within the ResourceLink 26a release onward, the functionality has been updated to facilitate the 2020/21 changes announced by HESA for the staff record collection.

3. Adult Social Care – Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) 

The Adult Social Care – Work Data Set is a data collection service that covers all social care service providers and their employees in England.  

Data areas collected by the ASC-WDS include:

  • Recruitment and retention 
  • Sickness 
  • Pay rates 
  • Qualifications 
  • Demographics 

The information gathered from the online service helps the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), local authorities, and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) fund, plan, and monitor the entire adult social care sector. Therefore, it’s crucial that the correct information is submitted. 

Additionally, the ASC-WDS enables care providers to better manage both their business and staff training requirements, along with providing employers themselves with easier access to information. 

Returning the ASC-WDS also grants care providers access to the Workforce Development Fund, allowing them to claim back money towards the costs of workers completing a range of adult social care qualifications and learning programmes. 

In ResourceLink 26a, we introduced a new module to assist our customers in submitting accurate and timely data to comply with the Workforce Data Set regulations. 

4. School workforce census (SWC) and school workforce annual census (SWAC) 

The school workforce census (SWC) is a statutory data collection that takes place annually. It was first introduced in 2010 by the Department for Education (DfE).  

The SWC collects data on every member of teaching and support staff working in local authorities, local authority-maintained schools, and academies.  

The data collected includes: 

  • Staff details and characteristics 
  • Contract or service agreement 
  • Absence 
  • Curriculum and qualifications 

All information gathered is essential to the DfE as it informs departmental policy on pay and the monitoring of the effectiveness and diversity of the school workforce. It’s therefore vital that all employees comply with this legislation. 

The school workforce annual census (SWAC) is a similar statutory data collection for members of teaching and support staff in Wales only. The data collected includes workforce characteristics, Welsh language, and pay. 

Dedicated functionality to support users with both SWC and SWAC are also included in our payroll software – making it simple for customers to submit their data accurately and timely.  

Are you confident in compliance? 

Considering the various pension requirements, pay grades, and statutory data collections within the public sector, it’s clear just how complex processing a public sector payroll can be. 

To find out how Zellis’ leading payroll and HR solution can help you comply with fast-moving public sector legislations, get in touch today.