TERS: Updates and Clarifications

The blog post today is aimed at trying to provide some much needed clarity on the TERS process. These changes, as outlined in a recent UIF update letter, were first introduced in our blog post from 5 October. The content of this blog post is taken from and summarises the UIF’s official update letter dated 14 October, sent to all employers.

Our post today covers:

  1.  how to determine salary and remuneration paid on applications;
  2.  the finer details of the bank verification step;
  3.  an update on foreign national applications; and
  4.  a reminder of how to end service on SimplePay.

1.a – How to Determine the Correct Monthly Salary to Declare

The monthly salary column of your TERS CSV, should reflect the aggregate of the wage and fringe benefits you pay to each of your employees. As SimplePay pre-populates this column, provided your employee’s salary information is correct, there’s nothing further to worry about. It is worth noting that if this value is not accurate, the UIF has introduced a new verification step.

The UIF is cross referencing the “taxable earnings” value for your employees’ March 2020 uFiling submission, in order to ensure that salaries are not inflated. If the values differ, the lower value will be used for the calculation of TERS benefits.

This is not a retrospective change, meaning it will only be applied to applications that have been processed from 3 September onwards. The change will though apply to all applications past this date, regardless of the lockdown period to which they relate. Unfortunately, even if you had legitimate reasons for increasing an employee’s salary, there is no way to apply to receive the higher sum that this would yield. 

1.b – What is the Correct Value for Remuneration?

To answer this question, it helps to take one step back. An employee is entitled to TERS benefits where he or she earns a reduced salary due to:

  • business closure;
  • comorbidities (an illness which puts the employee at an increased risk);
  • reduced working hours; or
  • having to take a temporary reduction of salary due to operational requirements.

Any of your employees satisfying the above can receive TERS benefits. Importantly though, where your employees receive remuneration in addition to TERS benefits for any given period, this needs to be recorded. This is because the aggregate of the TERS payment, plus the reduced remuneration paid by you cannot be greater than the amount the employee would ordinarily earn. Because of this, it’s important you know what falls under remuneration.

The UIF has clarified that all amounts / payslip components that would normally count as remuneration are included, except for loans, advances and payments related to leave taken.

2. Bank Verification

As part of the improvements to the TERS process, bank verification steps have been introduced. To help avoid delays it is important that you provide correct banking information. 

Some of the most common reasons for the failure of bank verification include:

  • The incorrect Personal ID number is used. This should be that of the bank account holder. If it is a joint account, you should ensure that it is the primary holder’s ID used.
  • If the bank account is held in a trade name, it is important that it matches the bank account’s name. 
    • If the bank account includes special characters, these should be used
    • Do not include any “t/a” sections of the bank account information
    • If the account’s name is in Afrikaans, this is how it should appear

Single Bank Account for Several UIF Entities

If you have several companies that pay into one bank account and you wish to claim TERS benefits to all the employees of the different companies, you will need to use the “Trade Name Verification” option to verify these UIF entities.

On the TERS portal, you will need to change all of your companies’ names to match the company name stated on the bank account. This will mean that you will have more than one UIF entity with the same name on the TERS portal, but also allows you to apply for benefits for all employees.

If you are at all unsure about this we would encourage you to get in touch with the UIF on 0800 030 007.

3. Foreign Nationals Update

The UIF has said that it’s currently working with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the foreign nationals. No payments will be made until the UIF has verified individuals’ identities, but it hopes it will manage this within the next fortnight.

Foreign nationals must be declared via uFiling, regardless of whether you submitted their declarations to the UIF using SimplePay.

How To Change Existing Applications

If you now realise that there’s an issue with one or more of your applications, this can be done using the UIF’s discrepancy function. Corrections can only be made once per employee, per application period so it’s crucial that you make the amendments carefully and accurately.

The discrepancy functionality is open for claims made up to and including the July / August application period, and will open in due course for the later lockdown periods.

How To End Service on SimplePay

It is important to correctly reflect your employees’ current working status on SimplePay for several reasons. Having this information allows:

  • SimplePay to provide you with accurate auto filled TERS CSVs;
  • you to make correct submissions to SARS;
  • Your employees to claim UIF where necessary; and 
  • Reduces your monthly charge to the number of active employees

To allow for SimplePay to provide you with accurate auto filled TERS CSVs, make correct submissions to SARS and reduce your monthly premium to an appropriate amount, it is important to correctly reflect your employees’ current status on SimplePay.

For a reminder of how to end an employee’s service on SimplePay, you can read this previous blog post.

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. 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, why not try out our service free? You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here, get to grips with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or try our free online course. Concerned about cost? Don’t be; we’ve simplified that too – check out our pricing page. Alternatively, you can request a formal quote if you need one here.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Updated App: Version 2.0

As part of our vision to simplify and revolutionise payroll, we’ve focused on creating an enjoyable user experience and a payroll system that is easily accessible. The release of our mobile app in March this year meant that employees can now access their payroll from their phone at any time – they’re essentially carrying their payslips around with them wherever they go.

We’re happy to announce the release of Version 2.0 of the app, available to Android and iOS users. Version 2.0 includes more functionality which lets you:

  • Submit a leave request (employees)
  • View leave requests (employees and approvers)
  • Update leave requests with comments (employees and approvers)
  • Upload documents to leave requests (employees and approvers)
  • Approve or deny the request (approvers)
  • View leave balances (employees and approvers)

These updates to the app mean that processing leave is now even easier. Employees can log a sick leave request while in bed, or use their mobile phone to take photos of their medical certificate and upload it into the app. Approvers can then approve the request while sipping on their morning coffee.

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Not a SimplePay user but want your employees to have access to their payslips and leave from their phones? Unfortunately our app is only available to SimplePay users, but we offer a free 30-day trial for you to examine just how easy payroll can be with SimplePay. You can sign up for our trial here.

Team SimplePay

Repayment of the 35% PAYE Deferral

If you participated in the 35% PAYE deferral during the COVID-19 lockdown period, you may be aware that the first instalment is due this month. SARS has recently issued the following additional important information:

  • The first instalment must be paid separately from your usual monthly EMP201 payment.
  • The first instalment must make use of a separate reference number, referred to as the Payment Reference Number (PRN). This differs from your usual SARS reference number used for EMP201 payments.

Locating Your Reference Number and Amount Owed

It is important to note that Payment Reference Number (PRN) will be different from your EMP201 reference number for October. It’s crucial that you use the correct reference number, so that your payment matches with SARS’ records.

To find your PRN, first locate your Statement of Account on eFiling and in the row relating to October you should be able to see the label “COVID-19 INSTALMENT” (marked below with a red “A”).

The column to the right should contain the amount owed for October’s instalment, the column to the left contains the PRN / Transaction Reference.

Payment

Provided that you use the PRN, payments can be made to SARS via the normal means.

To pay the instalment on eFiling,  you need to use the PRN when making the payment for the amount. If you are at all unsure about how to do this, we would encourage you to get in contact with SARS to confirm on 0800 00 7277. 

Alternatively, you can make the payment by EFT using the “SARS-PAYE” public beneficiary option on your online banking platform. If unsure on what this is your bank should be able to assist you. Again, you will need to use the PRN on the statement of account as the reference for the transaction.

Going forward

SARS’ statement suggested that changes may be made before the next instalment falls due on 6 November. Hopefully this will combine the sums owed from your EMP201 submission and instalment, streamlining this process.

You can read the SARS notice released on 6 October here.

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

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS Update and September Recap

Another month has passed by meaning that it is time to reflect on September’s events, as well as see what October has to offer. September has been an eventful month, with the country entering level 1 of lockdown and so triggering a number of changes. This is a good thing, providing more freedom for businesses to reopen and recover. 

In our blog today we will be giving you updates on some of  the changes brought about by level 1 of lockdown, as well as updates on the TERS process after its recent rehaul.

TERS Update

Update 5 October: Due to a water leak, the office running TERS operations is experiencing some downtime. They expect the issue to be resolved by the end of today.

Since our last blog covering the TERS process on 15 September, the UIF has significantly updated its safeguards. The process had to be halted in order for the UIF, now headed by acting commissioner Marsha Bronkhurst, to address the findings of the auditor general. 

On 21 September, after a two week pause, the UIF restarted its newer and better constituted TERS process. A key change is better bank verification, where you can opt to use your company’s CIPC / CK number, RSA ID number or the trade name which is linked to the account. 

You should be careful to ensure that the information you enter exactly matches the bank’s records. The UIF has advised that the verification steps won’t take place till you’re next due to receive payment, meaning that unless instructed otherwise by a notification on your TERS profile, any amendments you’ve made are either still to be checked or are correct.

Applications for 16 August to 15 September

Applications for TERS benefits between 16 August and 15 September opened last Thursday (1 October 2020). Before applying you must ensure that your employees were still eligible for TERS benefits during this period, i.e. 16 August to 15 September.

For more information on the application period and eligibility requirements, you can read this Department of Employment and Labour media statement.

Duration of the TERS scheme

The COVID-19 TERS Direction from 7 September 2020 gave us some clarity on how long this support will last. In summary, based off this Direction, TERS will come to a conclusion either:

  • When South Africa is no longer under a national state of disaster (currently due to end on 15 October); or
  • When the Minister announces its conclusion on an earlier date.

Level 1 – Effect on Businesses

The key effect of level 1 is that it allows almost all normal commercial activity to resume. Below we have summarised some of the key changes that affect economic activity.

Gatherings

Provided that the safety measures are followed, gatherings are now permitted up to 50% of a venue’s capacity. This is up to a maximum of 250 people for an indoor venue, or 500 people for an outdoor venue. 

An owner or operator of a venue where gatherings are held must display a certificate of occupancy, listing the maximum number of people permitted. The certificates are provided by your local municipality, meaning that you should be able to find out how to get one from their website.

Travel

Level 1 brings extremely positive news if you operate in the hospitality and travel industries. From 1 October, international travel is permitted, both into and from South Africa for business and leisure. We hope that this will provide a boost in business after what must have been an extremely trying time.

For travel by air, this is subject to the travellers country of origin not being on the red list, in addition to other safety measures such as the traveller providing a negative test upon arrival which is less than 72 hours old.

All 18 land borders are now open, subject to safety requirements and border post limitations. All docks are now also open, but passenger liners for luxury travel are still prohibited to disembark.

We hope that the timing of this change has been a good one and that October will mark a revival in your business.

You can find more information about travel restrictions on this Government page, under Alert level 1.

Economic Activity

Providing that all the relevant health protocols, social distancing measures, occupational health and safety direction and sector-specific health protocols are met, businesses can carry out economic activity. We hope that this is a positive and meaningful change for your business, that will help speed your recovery over the coming months.

Unfortunately the return to business is not universal. The  following list of activities are still not permitted at the date of writing:

  • Night vigils
  • Night clubs.
  • The 35 land borders that remain closed.
  • Initiation practices.
  • Passenger ships for international leisure purposes.
  • Attendance of any sporting event by spectators.
  • International sports events.
  • Exclusions relating to public transport services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport.
  • Exclusions relating to education services as set out in the directions

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. 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, why not try out our service on the house? You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. Get to grips with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or trying our free online course. Concerned about cost? Don’t be; we’ve simplified that too – check out our pricing page. Alternatively, you can request a formal quote if you need one here.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

UI Tweaks for Profile Pages

We take our mission of simplifying payroll seriously! It’s why we believe that the small details matter. With that in mind, you may have noticed some slight changes to our user interface for profile pages, such as Companies, Billing and User Profile. These are the pages that you can access when clicking on the profile icon. 

We’ve made these changes so that you can more easily identify when you are working on your profile as opposed to within a specific company, eliminating any confusion around whether your changes will apply at a company or profile level. 

When working in a specific company, you’ll see the usual interface that you have come to know. When working on one of the profile pages, you’ll now see the following changes:

  • In the top left corner, you’ll now see the G-ref number for your profile or the page name, depending on which page you are on. The top bar has also changed to a darker colour to make it clear that you are working on the profile as a whole and not on a specific company.
  • The sidebar menu for the company that you were working in no longer appears. To return to the company, click on the link that says “Go back to <company name>” that appears in the top left corner next to the G-reference number of page name.

We hope you enjoy this small, but useful change to your user experience.

Not a SimplePay client but want a payroll software provider that cares about your experience? SimplePay offers a free 30-day trial that allows you to see just how easy your payroll experience can be. You can sign up here.

Team SimplePay