Tag Archive: Phil Meyer


The end of the year is in sight and companies face the administrative burden of making the complex calculations related to determining the correct leave pay due to individual employees.

The process is governed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) which sets out the legal structure of all employment contracts and the rights of employees to ensure they are fairly treated in terms of annual leave and severance or notice pay.

Many of the calculations for leave pay are quite complex and arriving at the correct allocations manually or on spreadsheets is a time consuming exercise.

“All of these calculations have to be correct or the company will breach the provisions of the BCEA,” says Phil Meyer, technology director at payroll and HR software specialist Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

The BCEA aims to ensure that leave pay is fully representative of individual employees’ actual earnings and Meyer says the calculations have to take into account variable income types and must be based on the average earnings of each employee over the 13 weeks preceding the date upon which leave becomes effective.

“There are many elements that affect the calculations such as overtime, commissions, allowances and other payments. The bottom line is that they lead to fluctuating income so each employee’s income has to be calculated individually. It can be a nightmare to execute this manually or on spreadsheets.”

Automated payroll and HR software retains detail of all of the variable income paid to each employee so that the calculation for the average income over the 13 weeks preceding the leave is not only accurate but is available immediately with a few key strokes.

Circumstances may lead to some employees benefiting from higher variable earnings during the three months prior to the leave date. For example accounting staff may take leave when company financial year-end audits are completed, thereby benefiting from the overtime payments they may have received during the preceding 13 weeks.

Similarly, people employed in the construction industry which usually shuts down in mid-December, are also likely to have worked overtime to ensure contracts are completed before shut-down and therefore their leave pay calculations will be affected.

“In consultation with management, payroll administrators can establish parameters that the software will automatically follow so that calculations of average earnings are always consistent with the requirements of the BCEA and fair to all concerned,” said Meyer.

Users of automated payroll and HR software also benefit from the fact that the software developers monitor amendments to the BCEA and provide updated versions whenever new legal requirements are promulgated. “Automated payroll and HR software therefore always operates in full compliance with the Act, ensuring also that the BCEA leave payments are not subject to basic finger trouble, interpretation or even fraud.”

In addition, software solutions offer functionality that enables the user to give the entire company an increase, based on either a set value or a specific percentage as well as process a production bonus or commission using only one screen. This not only saves time, it allows global changes to be made to any transaction within the payroll or HR system for all, or a selection of employees.

Automated payroll systems turn leave and bonus processing into a quick, accurate and simple task that eliminates administration headaches before the December holidays.

Staff performance reviews are critical in most businesses yet unpopular with the majority of managers who would probably admit they find conducting reviews a tedious task. However, with proper planning and the use of payroll and HR software, performance reviews can be a simple, quick, valuable and motivational experience for managers and employees.

The key is to ensure that the performance review process is simple and quick. “Avoid making the review process too complex or it could become both intimidating for employees and tedious from an execution point of view,” says Phil Meyer, technology director at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR.

“The answer is to measure less, more frequently. Keep the process simple and develop a habit of conducting reviews more often as employees generally are more comfortable with this approach.”

If simplified, quick reviews that are regularly conducted enable managers to deliver more value to employees, identifying areas where improvement is necessary and providing the employee with an opportunity to improve in those areas by the next review. A combination of regular short reviews with one in more detail at longer intervals probably offers the greatest value to both employers and employees.

“Despite the fact that performance reviews are not intended to be a tool by which to determine salary increases, they often end up playing that role,” adds Meyer. “The real objective, however, is to regularly identify areas of concern and areas of excellence to the benefit of both employee and employer.”

For employers, Meyer says well-developed personal skills lead to positive performance review outcomes and he points out that where regular reviews are implemented, employees who have received a negative review at least have a chance to turn that into a positive outcome at the next one.

“Human Resources Management (HRM) is a vital component of good business practice but doing it properly and effectively is not always that easy. This is where technology in terms of payroll and HR software solutions can ensure that the correct systems and processes are firmly in place.”

Aligning employees to the company vision, mission and objectives is achieved through measurement and regular reviews. It is important for employees to receive recognition for achievement and to be made aware of under-achievement and what they need to do to rectify it.

Meyer recommends that reviews should take five to 10 minutes. “Regular appraisals and feedback is the way to keep on track. Employees have opportunities to improve and that improvement is easily traceable over shorter periods of time.”

“Automated payroll and HRM software solutions assist managers by offering pre-defined Key Performance Area (KPA) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) categories and review templates that are automatically kept on record. Management is therefore able to store all review records and accurately monitor staff performance improvements.

“Employees like to receive written feedback from reviews, even if only by email. Such brief reports provide a base for comparison and both parties know where they stand. The next review will enable both parties to identify the levels of improvement and progress achieved,” concludes Meyer.

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