24A Quarterly Update – Payroll

24A Quarterly Update – Payroll

Author: Bryan Kennerley, Senior Payroll Consultant, Namos Solutions

Oracle Payroll Cloud receives the first quarterly update of 2024 from February. This article will summarise the most interesting updates from a UK payroll perspective.

The first update of the year is fairly light on new features as we are in the run up to the new tax year and this time around Oracle are busy working on the Redwood UI refresh, but there are some noteworthy changes you should be aware of.

Redwood Updates

The Redwood user-interface refresh is continuing at speed with Oracle urging users to review the new screens and migrate to the new UI over the next 12 months. Many refreshed screens are being released every quarterly update and new functionality is expected to only be added to the new versions of screens from this point forward.

While much of the focus is on Core HR, employee, and manager self-service screens, back-office pages are being released at a slower pace, which does mean that Payroll will need to wait a while longer, but most screens are expected to receive the Redwood treatment during 2024 or early 2025.

The Redwood screens potentially of interest to payroll so far are:

  • Payroll
    • 23B – Year-end Documents
    • 23C – Payroll Relationships
    • 23C – Payslips
    • 23D – Personal Payment Methods for Self-Service Users
    • 23D – Statement of Earnings
    • 24A – Personal Payment Methods for Self-Service Users: Guided Journey Support
    • 24A – Balance by Date
    • 24A – New Starter Declaration for Self-Service Users
  • Compensation
    • 23B – Grade Step Progression Settings
    • 23D – Salary Basis definition
    • 23D – Review Proposed Progressions and Salary Updates Page
    • 23D – Personal and Individual Contribution (ICP)

We are currently testing, reviewing, and assessing all these screens to advise our implementation teams and support existing live customers in the rollout of these redesigned pages.

Some are complete and ready to go, some are missing features available in the responsive pages, and some have issues that will be addressed in future releases. What is clear already is that once the migration to the new UI is complete, these screens will provide a significantly smoother and more powerful user experience, both for self-service and back-office users.

Improved Support for Absence Updates

This round of improvements to absence processing began in 23C. The old behaviour is that whenever an absence is amended, all the payroll entries relating to that absence are reversed out and new payroll entries created. This creates a large number of element entries, many of which are negatives and positives for the same amount. Although these entries cumulatively do not affect pay, they make the payroll output larger and more complex to work through when there is a pay query.

The new processing improves on this so that only actual changes are passed to payroll, dramatically reducing the number of adjustments created.

Initially only new absence elements created after 23C could use this processing, but 23D introduced an upgrade process for existing absence elements so that they can take advantage of it. This process was not actually documented in the 23D release notes, but it can be found by submitting the process “Run Feature Upgrade” and selecting “Upgrade Time or Absence Element for the Update Feature”.

In parallel to this, Oracle have added functionality to Time and Labour to allow users and managers to enter absences via the timecard. This may not suit every organisation, but it adds more flexibility to the toolbox. Release 24A now ties this functionality together with the improved absence change processing.

Further improvements to include final disbursement and discretionary disbursement in this processing will be included in a future release.

Secure Elements through HCM Data Roles

Oracle have delivered this new feature because of a customer submitted Idea, which shows the value of logging into Cloud Customer Connect to ask questions, raise Ideas, discuss issues with other customers and vote on Ideas which then feed into Oracle’s development teams.

In many organisations, element entries are the sole preserve of the payroll team. This is understandable as allowing wider access could introduce opportunities for errors if users created, amended, or deleted element entries incorrectly. However, this means that it must be the payroll team who update the element entries, necessitating additional internal business processes to communicate changes to payroll and adding more work for the payroll team.

Some organisations asked for limited access to element entries for teams outside of payroll, for example to administer benefits where the Benefits module is not being used, or for individuals in the payroll team who are dedicated solely to managing voluntary deductions. The new functionality extends the security model to allow restricted access to groups of elements or specific elements.

This enhancement allows organisations to better manage their security controls and opt for a more flexible approach to organising the work between teams, potentially taking some pressure off the payroll team.

Other options are available to achieve a similar outcome however, such as managing element entries using ICP (Individual Compensation Payments), which allows for a more ESS/MSS approach with approvals where necessary. This approach is often used where managers and HR teams maintain recurring allowance payments as part of an employee’s remuneration package, and potentially to allow self-service of voluntary deductions.

These enhanced security controls for element entries provide organisations with more flexibility to arrange and control their internal processes.

Issue P45 When Final Pay in or After Termination Period

This is another enhancement arising from an idea raised on Customer Connect. Some organisations found that P45 generation was not flexible enough, especially where there were backdated or future dated terminations or other complex scenarios.

The new functionality is to “Issue when final pay in or after the period of termination”.

This will need to be tested once 24A is deployed into test environments, but it should improve the selection criteria for P45 generation and reduce the amount of manual intervention and checking required.

We would love to discuss how the 24A may affect your organisation. – Contact Us