Huge ETI Update and Improvements

Managing Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) claims can be difficult and time-consuming. However, it can also be highly beneficial for many employers and is well worth taking advantage of where you can.

Over the years we’ve taken note of the difficulties faced by our clients and have used this feedback to improve our system and your experience. Our team has been hard at work to deliver a massive ETI update, which will greatly improve and simplify your ability to correctly claim ETI and includes the following changes:

Backdating: You can now set an effective date for an employee’s ETI that’s in the past. You can also do the same for other ETI settings, like minimum wage. This allows you to update your ETI setup so that your ETI on SimplePay matches your records ensuring that your current claims are correct. In some cases, it may even result in further claims for ETI.

More effective handling of under-claims: SARS has specific rules for how ETI under-claims should be handled. More info can be found on our help site, but in short, you are only allowed to claim for ETI that you under-claimed in the current bi-annual filing period. For example, we are currently in the 1 March to 31 August bi-annual filing period, therefore under-claims for periods before 1 March will be forfeited. Any under-claims for the current bi-annual filing period have to be claimed in the current month if the ETI is for a month whose EMP201 deadline has already passed. The system will now assist you in remaining compliant with this and with making these claims.

Better auditing: Seeing ETI values change on your EMP201s has often been a cause of confusion for our clients. Going forward, the system will allow you to track the source of such changes, providing a clearer audit trail and helping remove some of the stress and confusion around ETI.

Stay in sync with employee information: When correcting a setup error which impacts ETI, (such as changing an employee’s date of birth), you now have the ability to recalculate historic ETI immediately. This functionality gives you the ability to claim historic errors immediately, rather than having to wait until bi-annual filing. As always, we advise clients to be very cautious when entering information used for calculating ETI.

The following help articles provide more information on ETI and how it works (including the changes mentioned above):

Reminder:

It’s important to note that the August EMP201 is the last time you’ll be able to claim ETI under-claimed for the period March 2020 to July 2020. Any ETI for the current bi-annual filing period that was not claimed will have to be forfeited after the August EMP201.

Want to claim ETI but don’t have the right payroll software to help you? 

SimplePay clients love having a hassle-free payroll experience that keeps them compliant and keeps up to date with changes in the payroll landscape. Not convinced? We offer a 30 day free trial that lets you see just how easy payroll can be. You can find out more and sign up here.

Team SimplePay

Lockdown Level 2

Note: This information was correct at the time of writing, being based on the Government’s related media releases.

Today (18/08/2020) is the first day that South Africa has dropped down to lockdown level 2 out of 5. But what does this actually mean? In today’s blog we shall outline the new changes and provide a summary table of what changed between each level of lockdown. 

Level 2

Travel and Accommodation

For the first time since 27 March 2020, people living in South Africa are allowed to travel between provinces for leisure purposes. This relaxation comes at the same time as the removal of the limit to the range of accommodation facilities which can be used, meaning that those of you in the hospitality sector can once again welcome nationwide guests. 

Gatherings

Under level 2, provided that you observe the Government Regulations on social distancing and health protocols, a number of gatherings are now permitted. This further expands the number of businesses that are able to operate under level 2. You can read the full list of permitted gatherings in section 55 of the Government gazette, but we have picked out a handful of the most relevant ones below:

  • Accommodation establishments and tour operators (up to 50% of available floor space, with patrons at least 1.5 metres apart)
  • Bars, taverns, shebeens and similar establishments (up to 50 people)
  • Concerts and live performances (up to 50 people)
  • Tourist attractions
  • Gyms, subject to guidelines (up to 50 people)
  • Swimming pools (up to 50 people)
  • Sports grounds and fields
  • Beaches and public parks

Sale of Alcohol and Cigarettes

The Government has relaxed its stance on the sale of alcohol, meaning that bars, restaurants and other institutions with a license to sell alcohol on-site can again do so, provided strict adherence to the 10pm curfew.

Additionally, alcohol can now be sold in shops between the hours of 9am to 5pm. Cigarettes may also now be sold in shops.

Businesses that must Remain Closed

Despite the majority of businesses, there are a number which must remain closed at this moment under level 2. These are:

  • 1. Night clubs
  • 2. International passenger air travel for leisure purposes
  • 3. Passenger ships for international leisure purposes
  • 4. Attendance of any sporting event by spectators
  • 5. International sports events
  • 6. Exclusions relating to public transport services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport

Comparative Table of Lockdown Levels

Below is a comparative table between lockdown levels 5 to 2. If changes were made within the period of a certain lockdown level, the changed position will be recorded within the table. For a more detailed evaluation of the level, you can click on the link at the head of each column.

Lockdown LevelFive (5) Four (4)Three (3)Two (2)
Effective Date27/03/202001/05/202001/06/202017/08/2020
ShoppingFood, medicine and healthcare onlyFood, medicine, healthcare and limited others Most shopping reopened, but alcohol and tobacco sales remain prohibitedMajority of shopping reopened
TravelNone, except essentialNone, except essential and for businessBusiness travel and Intra-provincial leisure travelAll Inter-provincial travel, including domestic flights
Permitted GatheringsNone, except for funeralsFunerals, workplaces and obtaining certain goods and servicesA large number of gatherings permitted, subject to conditionsA large number of gatherings permitted, including amateur sport and small social events
Public SpacesClosedLimited number open, e.g. exercise permitted between 6 – 9amLimited number open for activities e.g. exercise between 6:00 – 18:00Open, subject to the Minister announcing closure and adherence with health protocols
Workplaces  Open for the provision of Food, medicine and healthcare onlyOpen for the provision of Infrastructure, manufacturing and food, as well as some other services.Majority reopened, except for some accommodation establishments and nightclubsMajority reopened
LeisureNoneNoneLarge number of services reopened within provinces, minus gyms, sports facilities, beaches and othersMajority of services reopened, minus nightclubs, spectating live sport and limited others

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]  

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, you can get a formal quote, sign up for our 30-day free trial or learn how to get set up on SimplePay. Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our amazing support team at [email protected] 

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Automatic Quote Generator

We consider ourselves fortunate to have grown steadily over the years without the need for extensive marketing campaigns. We’re truly grateful to you, our clients, for spreading the word on our product and the service that we offer. As people hear about us through word of mouth, the first question that usually gets asked is, “Ok, but how much does it cost?”.

We’ve always maintained transparent pricing through the fees graph on our pricing page and there are never any hidden fees – one monthly fee that gives you full access to all that we offer.

We’re now making the process of determining the cost even easier with the introduction of an automated quote generator. Prospective clients (and existing clients that are expanding) that would like a formal quote can get a PDF quote sent directly to their email inbox. This quote uses the same pricing from the pricing graph.

To use this feature, go to https://simplepay.co.za/request_quote, complete the details needed for the quote and click the Request Quote button. You’ll then receive the quote in your inbox within a few minutes.

Alternatively, you can navigate to this page by first going to https://simplepay.co.za/cost and then clicking on the link in the sentence “If you would prefer a formal quotation, we’ve made that simple too.”

It’s as simple as that!

Team SimplePay

End of Week Blog: 14 August

As we approach the halfway point for the month of August, today’s blog post will be looking at recent  COVID-19 TERS announcements, updates from SARS and a recap of some of our recent blog posts.

TERS Update

On 12 August, the Department of Employment and Labour announced that the opening of TERS applications for July / August will be on Monday, 17 August. This followed the Minister signing a Directive on the application of TERS for these months.

The Directive states that for the July / August period, applications can be made for employees whose employers are:

  1. not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations; 
  2. unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable works, (e.g. working from home or taking special measures); or are
  3. unable to make use of their employees’ services, due to restrictions to the permitted active workforce, caused by compliance with Directions and Regulations, such as staggered working.

The application process should be the same as for the previous months, with proof of disbursements to employees being required if you are selected to act as a conduit, in addition to the bank verification process.

To read the Directive, its explanatory memorandum, or an updated set of FAQ’s for the upcoming application process, you can visit this Department of Labour webpage

Reminder: Employer Interim Reconciliation Submission

The interim employer reconciliation period which runs between March and August ends this month, meaning that you will need to submit your EMP 501 and IRP5s / IT3(a)s next month. The submission period opens on 15 September and concludes on 31 October.

[email protected] BETA Testing

SARS is currently running final tests on the latest version of [email protected] in time for Employer Interim Reconciliation in mid-September.

Enhancements will include:

  • New source codes on the IRP5 to incorporate the legislative changes 
  • New letters regarding Remittance of Penalties and Interest, Notice of Non-Compliance Penalty 
  • Amended letters regarding excessive liability changes on the Employer Reconciliation, Employment Tax Validation, Notice of Assessment 
  • Amendment of PAYE dashboard 
  • Upgrade of the BETA Testing site 
  • Resubmission of rejected EMP501 reconciliation 
  • Time out while downloading a new version of [email protected] Employer 
  • New summary report of all certificates included in the EMP501 Reconciliation 
  • Synchronisation of eFiling and [email protected] Employer logons 

We are incorporating all the new codes and tax rules to our system, meaning that come September you can automatically generate the IRP5s / IT3(a)s and EMP501 needed, and submit them to SARS. Easy as that!

NEW FEATURES AND UPDATES

PAYE vs Income Tax

We have changed the labelling of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) on payslips from “Tax” to “Tax (PAYE)”. If you’d like to know more about our reasons for us doing this and the differences between the various forms of income tax, take a read through our blog.

Family Responsibility Leave

We have updated the name of Compassionate Leave to Family Responsibility Leave on SimplePay, to align our site more strongly with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. You can read more about this in our blog post.

Self-Service Employee Claim Request

We’ve expanded our self-service features to allow employees to claim expenses, travel allowances and custom items of various input types.

If you’d like to opt-in for these new and expanded features, you can find out how and read more about them here.

Employee Filtering Revamp

Having had requests to switch up how you’d like to be able to filter employees on SimplePay, we’ve listened and made some changes. You can read about our newly introduced and adapted filters in our blog post from 4 August.

RECAP

Easing of Tourism Restrictions

On 30 July, we updated you on the new rules for the tourism industry under level 3 of lockdown. You can read more about these relaxations here.

Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme

The Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme is aimed at intervening to help companies in distress or decline to re-strategise and put their business back on to a profitable trajectory.

If this sounds an interesting prospect, you can read more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply in our blog post.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]  

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

PAYE vs Income Tax

You might have noticed that we’ve renamed ‘Tax’ on the system and on payslips to ‘Tax (PAYE)’. Tax is often used as a general term for the tax attached to a particular transaction. The term’s meaning therefore differs according to the context in which it is used, such as ‘sin’ tax in the tobacco industry or sugar tax in the soft drinks industry. In the context of payroll, tax refers to PAYE (Pay As You Earn). We’ve made the change to the label as a reminder that PAYE is distinctly different from income tax for individuals, even though they are related.

Income tax for individuals refers to the tax on your world-wide earnings, which can be divided into:

  • Tax on employment earnings, such as your salary, fringe benefits and allowances; and
  • Tax on non-employment earnings, such a rent income. 

PAYE is a method of collecting income tax that applies to your employment earnings. Amounts subject to PAYE are taxed at the time of payment on the payslip. Some employment earnings are not subject to PAYE and the income tax on these is only payable on assessment* e.g. subsistence allowances where the amount is above the prescribed rate. 

Non-employment earnings are collected via provisional tax payments** and on assessment*.

*Tax on assessment refers to the tax due after an individual submits their income tax return (ITR12) annually to SARS (usually via SARS eFiling). The tax due on assessment is the difference between the income tax calculated for the individual for the year and the amounts that they’ve paid throughout the year via PAYE and provisional tax**.

**Provisional tax refers to payments made directly to SARS after registering and filing for provisional tax on eFiling. You can read more about provisional tax on this SARS webpage.

All of the above can be shown illustrated as follows:

Please note that SimplePay only assists with the calculation of PAYE and not any of the other income tax collection methods. However, to reduce the amount payable on assessment, employees can opt to pay additional income tax via PAYE. This is done via the Voluntary Tax Over-deduction system item – this is only allowed if there is an agreement between the employee and the employer. More information on Voluntary Tax Over-deductions is available on our help page here.


Not a SimplePay user but want a system that easily calculates your employee’s PAYE and helps you prepare their payslip? SimplePay takes the hassle out of payroll. We offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore the system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. To find out more or to sign up for a trial, click here.

Team SimplePay

Compassionate Leave is now Family Responsibility Leave on SimplePay

Since our inception, we’ve been using the global term ‘Compassionate Leave’ to represent short-term leave taken by employees when a close family member is ill or passes away. This leave type is also referred to as Bereavement Leave in some countries, while South African legislation has called it ‘Family Responsibility Leave’ since 1997 (although Compassionate Leave and Family Responsibility Leave are often still used interchangeably in practice).

Due to increasing queries on the subject, we’re clearing up any confusion by bringing our labelling in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. After all, local is lekker. Compassionate Leave is therefore now labelled as Family Responsibility Leave. Admins can expect to see this change on the system, in reports and on payslips, while employees can expect to see the changes on payslips and in the self-service portal.

Don’t worry, this change does not impact leave balances, leave entitlement or any other aspect of how leave is calculated. As always, SimplePay takes the hassle out of system updates as all changes have automatically been applied to the system. All you need to do is sit back and remember the new lingo on the system.

If you’re an admin user and want more information on Family Responsibility Leave, head to our help article here

Not a SimplePay client but want to record Family Responsibility with ease? SimplePay takes the hassle out of payroll and leave management. We offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore the system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. To find out more or to sign up for a trial, click here

Team SimplePay

Easing of Tourism Industry Restrictions Under Level 3

On 30 July 2020, the Minister for Tourism gave a speech on the relaxation of certain lockdown measures affecting the tourism industry. Subsequently, these announced changes have been released in a Government gazette, meaning that you are now allowed to do the actions referred to in the speech. In the blog today we will be picking out the key aspects of the speech and explaining what exactly you can now do under level 3 of lockdown.

Restaurants

The nine o’clock curfew has had a greater adverse impact on the restaurant industry in comparison to most others. This restriction has had the effect of limiting the number of prospective customers at one of the busiest periods for restaurants. 

Responding to this, the Government has extended curfews to 10pm, thus accommodating later dinner services.

Leisure Accommodation

Restrictions to domestic and leisure travel have resulted in a large, if not total, shrinkage in business for accommodation establishments.

As of 1 August,  if you are an accommodation establishment, you will be able to welcome customers from within your own province. We must emphasise that this easing is only for intra-provincial travel, i.e. no travel between provinces for leisure purposes. There are also the following two provisos:

  1. No more than two people per room is allowed (except for parents staying in a room with their children).
  2. Short term home rentals and home sharing remains closed.

Safari Tour Operators

Prior to the new Regulations, only self-driven safari tours were permitted under level 3. The changes mean that if you are a tour operator, you can carry out open air guided tours, subject to certain directions.  

COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme

Use of the newly revised COVID-19 Loan Guarantee scheme was encouraged by the Minister in her speech. The new revisions aim to make it easier for companies in all sectors to access loans for operational costs, on preferential terms.  You can now also apply for business restart loans to assist you in the costs of reopening your business.

More information on the scheme and the changes in requirements can be found in this official guide.

Tourism Sector Recovery Plan

On 1 August, a draft of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan was released for public comment. Subject to amendments, this provides you with a roadmap for how the Department for Tourism aims to navigate through the coming months.

Reading the draft recovery plan should give you a better understanding of the Department for Tourism’s strategy for rejuvenating the tourism sector is. If you want to give any input on the recovery plan, this must be sent to [email protected] by 15 August 2020.

We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].  

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Self-Service Employee Claim Requests

We love innovating to make payroll simpler and our new self-service employee claims feature does just that.

Our employee self-service option was built to ease the administration burden that comes with payroll:

  • Employees can access historic payslips and tax certificates at any time without having to ask you to send it to them. 
  • Leave requests allow employees to request leave and upload supporting documentation (such as medical certificates), saving you the hassle of having to remember to record leave or follow up with employees for their supporting documentation.
  • Info update requests allow employees to request changes to their basic information, ensuring that you have up-to-date and accurate information for employees.

Our new feature expands self-service to allow employees to submit inputs for the following payslip items:

  • Expense claims
  • Travel allowance
  • Custom items, with the Input Type as “Once-off for specified payslips”, “Different on every payslip”, “Hourly rate * factor * hours” and “Custom rate * quantity”

Employees can enter the amounts that they wish to claim and upload supporting documentation. An approver simply needs to approve the request. It will then be added to the employee’s next draft payslip without the payroll administrator needing to capture any of these payslip amounts. In addition to saving the payroll administrator processing time, it also takes the hassle out of verifying claims, since a separate approver (such as a direct line manager) can be set up for this purpose.

Note: As this is an opt-in feature (for now), you need to request it from our support team, at no additional charge. More information on how this feature works can be found on our help page here.

Not a SimplePay client but want to use our self-service feature? Unfortunately this feature is only available to SimplePay clients. The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial and sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

Team SimplePay

Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme

SimplePay is all about providing you with a high quality payroll solution so that paying your employees becomes a breeze. But we realise that when it comes to employee remuneration, processing payroll is only half the story – your ability to employ and pay individuals depends on the success of your business. Today’s blog post is therefore broader than payroll processing and highlights schemes and incentives to help businesses succeed, allowing them to create job opportunities in the process. 

At the Budget 31 conference in July, Productivity SA was presented with a R104 million grant by the UIF for the purposes of promoting employment growth and productivity. The bulk of the grant is being directed towards the Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme (BT & R). We should also point out though that there is more support available for companies at all stages of maturity, such as their Continuous Improvement Services. More information can be found on the Productivity SA website.

What is the Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme?

The BT & R is a programme aimed at intervening to help companies in distress. By working closely with the UIF, CCMA and TERS as strategic partners, Productivity SA aims to turn around companies’ fortunes and put them on a profitable trajectory. The programme will last approximately 9 months for the selected companies. The programme focuses on the following key areas:

  1. Assessing problem areas, managing crises and developing strategies to help turn the company around.
  2. Enhancing company performance through aiding in improvements to marketing, operations, HR and financial strategies.
  3. Educating employees on basic business principles and operations, so that they can understand how their actions impact the entire operational process.
  4. Building capacity and staff training to improve and sustain productivity, long after the intervention.

By doing this, it is hoped that the turnaround programme will:

  1. Improve productivity of company operations and in doing so promote economic and employment growth;
  2. improve operational efficiency to make businesses financially viable and competitive; and
  3. provide productivity measures so the productivity improvement of the workplace can be measured.

You can find a more detailed outline of the BT & R programme on their relevant web page.

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

For your company to be able to partake in the BT & R programme, there are some requirements which are mandatory to qualify, and others which are beneficial but not essential.

Mandatory requirements are:

  • Your company must be in distress or showing decline, as evidenced by income statements, cash flow statements and / or other documents that may prove decline / distress;
  • you must be in good standing with the UIF and SARS, as the UIF is the source of Productivity SA’s funding to run the programme; and
  • there must be a genuine potential or likelihood that intervention will result in making the business profitable.

Whilst not mandatory, it would be beneficial if your company fulfils one or more of the below:

  • Your company employs at least 20 employees.
  • Your company meets one or more of the targets laid out in the Government’s New Growth Plan, Industrial Policy Action Plan or National Infrastructure Plan. These plans are mainly aligned with the manufacturing and industrial sectors.
  • Funding your company would promote black industrialists or entrepreneurs.

How can you Apply?

If the above is of interest you can get more information directly from Productivity SA by emailing them at [email protected]. In response, they should be able to provide you with the application forms required and further details of the programme.

We hope the above information has proved useful to you. If you have any queries on any of the programmes mentioned in this blog, we would recommend that you reach out to Productivity SA. If you have any questions for us, we’d love to hear from you! You can contact us at [email protected].  

Not yet a client of SimplePay? Want to take the effort out of payroll? Why not try our 30 day free trial found on our website, or contact one of our team to find out more?

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Employee Filtering Revamp

SimplePay has always taken a user-orientated approach to payroll. It’s why we focus on two things – building an outstanding product and providing quality customer support. In a nutshell, SimplePay is all about you – our clients! So when the requests came streaming in for an easier way to filter employers, we jumped right on it. Introducing our newly revamped employee filters.

Our new employee filters functionality gives you more options for filtering employees. Depending on what page you’re on, you can filter employees according to pay point, pay frequency or active / inactive status. All pages with filters also let you select employees individually or use the convenient search bar to find specific employees by searching for their name or employee number.

Filters have been added or revamped for the following:

  • Employee list (Under Employees)
  • Employee users (Under Employees > Self-Service)
  • The leave overview calendar (Under Employees > Leave Overview)
  • All bulk action options (Under Employees > Bulk Actions)
  • Bulk finalising payslips (under Pay Runs)
  • All reports (Under Reports)

Finding an employee or selecting only the employees that you need has never been easier! Go check it out and let us know what you think.

Not a SimplePay client but want a payroll system that is all about you, the user? The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore our system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. Sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here.

Team SimplePay