Amended Disaster Management Bills and Level 4 of Lockdown – 5 May

As a new week under lockdown commences, we have plenty to update you on! Firstly, as promised in our last blog, found here, we have an update on what new information has come to light following the release of the Government’s latest draft bills. Following this, we have provided you with a summary of what you need to do to be compliant when reopening your business under level 4 of the lockdown.

Latest Disaster Management Bills’ Effect on Payroll

The Disaster Management Tax Relief and Tax Administration bills were released over the weekend, providing the detail needed from the Minister for Finance’s speech on 23 April (linked here). They will be open to scrutiny up to 15 May, after which point the finer details of the law shall crystallise. Nonetheless, the following measures are operational already due to the nature of the Disaster Management Act 2002.

ETI Update

Update 6 May: We are pleased to announce that the necessary changes to the system have been made, meaning that you can now submit/resubmit your EMP201s for April to receive the full additional ETI entitlement for qualifying employees.

Under the latest draft bill, as suggested in last week’s recap blog, the amount of additional ETI per employee under the new scheme has been increased from R500 to R750. 

At this moment in time, this incentive is still to be run between 1 April and 31 July. We are working on our system for you to be able to claim this additional ETI, including this revised amount of R750 per employee, as soon as possible.

We shall release a further blog and notification as soon as we have done the above to give you as much time as possible to resubmit.

Skills Development Levy (SDL) Payment Holiday

It has been reiterated that no contributions towards the SDL are necessary for the months of May to August. As it is a suspension, this means that you will not have to pay these month’s contributions at a later date.

We shall make the necessary amendments so that these changes are reflected in May’s EMP201 submissions.

35% PAYE Deferment

The draft bills have reinforced many of the points from previous blogs and are reiterated here:

  • Increase in the amount of PAYE which can be deferred from 20% to 35% (this is calculated automatically for you by SARS, see our recap blog here).
  • Increase in the annual turnover threshold of tax compliant small to medium sized businesses from R50 million to R100 million.
  • The deferment is effective from 1 April to 31 July (4 months).
  • Repayments shall be spread equally across the 6 months following the deferment period.

There have also been some proposed amendments on passive income. These are as follows:

  • The passive income (e.g. rent) percentage which could make businesses ineligible for the scheme has been increased from 10% to 20%.
  • The categories passive income shall be extended to include currency derived from royalties and annuities.
  • This rule on passive income excludes persons whose main trading activity is the letting of fixed property.

As per our previous blogs, you do not need to carry out any steps in order to receive the benefit of the deferment. The calculations will be done by SARS, reducing the amount of PAYE which is due for the month in question.

Workplace Requirements – Lockdown Level 4

With a number of employees set to return to work under level 4 of lockdown, the Department for Labour has set out minimum guidelines to ensure the safety of workplaces.

Below we have summarised all of the requirements that need to be met.

General

  • Employers must provide employees, at least two cloth masks, free of charge.
  • Employees and members of the public must wear masks when commuting or entering the premises.
  • Employees with symptoms must not be at work and employers must either grant paid sick leave, or apply for the COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) on their behalf.
  • Employers must appoint a manager to address the concerns of employees.

Social Distancing

  • Workplaces must be arranged to allow for at least a 1.5 metre gap between employees. Employers were also encouraged by Minister Thulas Nxesi to minimise the number of workers present at one time through shift patterns to achieve social distancing.
  • If the 1.5 metre gap is not possible, barriers must be erected, and PPE provided free of charge.
  • All common areas, such as canteens, must practice social distancing.

Screening 

  • Employers must screen employees for symptoms at the time that they report for work. 
  • Employees must immediately inform their employer if they experience any symptoms while at work.
  • Workers with symptoms must be placed in isolation and arrangements made for transit to medical examination or self isolation.
  • Employees who recover from COVID-19 may return to work following a medical evaluation, and subject to ongoing monitoring.

Sanitisers and Disinfectant

  • Employers must provide a sufficient amount of hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol content.
  • Communal and shared equipment must be regularly cleaned.

Enforcement by Labour inspectors

  • Labour inspectors are empowered to promote, monitor and enforce compliance.
  • Failure to comply could result in the closure of the business.

Minister Nxesi emphasised that all of the above needs to be in place for when employees return to work, and failure to comply could result in the closure of that business. The department is looking to employ a further 500 inspectors to help regulate these new directives and ensure that everyone returning to work remains safe.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. If you have any queries on how the above relates to payroll and the SimplePay system, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected]

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay