We are extremely happy to announce that this morning the applications for the COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) for the month of May have opened! For all intents and purposes, the application process appears to be the same as that in place for the end of the April application period. This means that you can still use the SimplePay TERS CSV export, subject to the few tweaks mentioned below.
To apply, go to https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19 and log in if you already have an account, or register if you are applying for the first time.
You can then follow the application steps that are laid out on the site. An application guide, along with a post application guide, can be downloaded from the application site by clicking on:
Application info > Application Procedure > Click Here to Download Files
On the TERS application website, linked above.
Key Changes for May
There have been some key announcements made that change the picture of what COVID-19 TERS process looks like. Some of the key changes are detailed below. There is also a nice overview available in the latest media release from the UIF.
Distribution of the TERS Benefits
The UIF has announced that it will no longer be requiring employers or bargaining councils to act as conduits for the disbursement of TERS benefits to employees. Instead, the UIF shall be paying employees directly into their bank accounts.
The intention behind this change to the system is that it will hopefully result in employees getting paid faster. Employers are still expected to apply on behalf of their employees and will receive a payment breakdown from the UIF as confirmation of payment.
The options for the UIF to pay money to employers and bargaining councils remains open. However, the UIF advises selecting payment directly into the employee’s account to expedite the payment of employees.
Proof of Payment for Employers returning to Make a Second Claim
According to the UIF, employers who have claimed TERS benefits in April and are wishing to make a repeat claim for May, will be expected to submit proof that payment was made to their employees. In the above mentioned media statement, it was stated that an electronic bank statement or letter of acknowledgement between the employer and employee would suffice.
Bargaining Councils Applying on Behalf of Employers
In the main part, it is likely that applications to TERS are to be done by the employer on behalf of their employee for COVID-19 TERS benefits.
Alternatively, if you have agreed with your bargaining council and the UIF that they shall apply for TERS benefits for your employees, this agreement should be adhered to.
If you are in any doubt of whether it is you or the bargaining council who should make an application for COVID-19 TERS, we would recommend that you clarify this on the UIF hotline, on 0800 030 007.
Eligibility for Applying to COVID-19 TERS
The eligibility for applying to COVID-19 TERS has been a large subject of discussion in the past for some of our clients. The latest amendments to the Directive in May altered the wording, clarifying if an employer is eligible or not to apply on behalf of their employees.
The take home of this new wording is that any employer who closes operations, to any extent, needs to apply to TERS for its employees.
SimplePay TERS CSV Export
There are a few minor but noteworthy changes regarding to the TERS CSV export which we would like to bring to your attention:
- Date range
As this is the application for May, the columns labelled “Shutdown From” and “Shutdown to” should be completed to accommodate this. These columns will be blank on the CSV, so you will need to input the correct dates.
There has been no official guidance published on the date range to input if your business reopened part way through May. Therefore, in such cases we would recommend that you contact the UIF hotline on 0800 030 007 to confirm the correct date range for your bespoke set of circumstances.
2. Column Titles
In order to bring the SimplePay CSV export titles in line with the UIF online application table, we have changed the “Leave Income During Shutdown” column to “Remuneration During shutdown”.
This column aligns with the column labelled “Remuneration For Work Done Or Work To Be Done in May 2020 (excluding Leave Income or Payment In Advance)”, found on the online TERS application portal.
Employee Applications for TERS Benefits
Employees are able to apply for TERS benefits in very limited circumstances under this latest version of the TERS process. For an employee to be eligible to apply the employer must have refused or been unable to apply for TERS benefits, as well as other criteria being met. By and large this is not a recommended option in almost all cases.
We hope that this information proves useful for you in carrying out this month’s TERS application. For more information on TERS and other COVID-19 related subject matter, you can visit our dedicated help page.
We would like to emphasise that for applications for April, one of the key causes of delay was incorrectly inputted information. Therefore we would like to stress the importance of double or even triple checking that the information is both accurate and in the correct format, to maximise the chances of a smooth process.
If you have any questions on the information provided above and how it relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.