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

July Recap Blog

With yet another month in 2020 having come to an end, it is time to recap on the month of July and look ahead to what August has to offer!

COVID-19 TERS Extension

Update 4 August: The cut-off point for April and May TERS applications has been extended and closure will be subject to 14 day’s notice – Read more here.

As was covered in our blog on 21 July 2020, deputy Minister Moloi announced the extension of COVID-19 TERS to 15 August, aligning this with the extension to the Disaster Management Act. 

Applications for April and May close today, 31 July 2020, but we are still waiting for an announcement on the opening of applications for July.

Please also note that as previously mentioned the home page of the TERS application portal has been altered. A new message outlining urgent steps for the employer to take, in order for the UIF to be able to authorise payment of an application. Please take a look in case any action on your part is required for claims already submitted.

Use of the Reduced Working Time Category to Claim Benefits

The UIF has stated that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of applications for UIF under the reduced working time benefits code. This shows that a significant number of employees are likely receiving financial support through their accrued UIF benefits of receiving these through TERS. The UIF and Department of Labour have reiterated that TERS is the better option for employees as long as it remains in force.

In our blog about the time spans of the different COVID-19 support measures, we detailed the need to move employees across to UIF benefits upon the conclusion of the TERS scheme. With the abovementioned extension to TERS, switching employees should be delayed until at least 15 August 2020.

SARS Auto-Assessment Process

As mentioned in our previous blog from 7 July, SARS is rolling out a new, streamlined individual tax return service in August. Rather than having to manually complete your individual tax return, it may be automatically assessed if you meet SARS’ conditions. The new service will be run throughout the month of August and provided SARS has all the necessary tax information they need (IRP5 etc.) you and your employees will receive an SMS inviting you to review your statement and accept it if you are in agreement with it.

For more information on the scheme and an FAQ you can visit the SARS Auto-Assessment page.

Steps to Follow

  1. Log into eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.
  2. Click on “Tax Returns” 
  3. A pop up will appear stating “SARS has simulated a tax return for you. Click “Continue”.
  4. Once the ITR12 has loaded you can either select “Accept” or “Edit Return”.

If you have selected accept, you will be redirected to a list of your submitted ITR12s, or alternatively if you wish to edit your ITR12 you can do so.

If you have accepted the tax return SARS should issue you with an ITA34 Notice of Assessment. After you have received this that’s it, you’re done!

SARS has also provided video guides which you can find here.

Bi-Annual Tax Period

The end of August marks the halfway point through the tax year, meaning that soon after it will be time to start preparing for interim filing. Due to SimplePay’s continuing commitment to make your payroll life straightforward, we will endeavour to make sure that we have completed all necessary preparations and testing for when the interim biannual filing opens.

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: www.simplepay.co.za.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Extension of COVID-19 TERS Scheme and Other Employment Related Matters

Yesterday (21 July 2020), the Department of Employment and Labour announced a very welcome extension of the COVID-19 TERS scheme until 15 August 2020.  The Deputy Minister announced this, along with some other noteworthy points at the Budget 31 conference. Therefore, in the blog today we will be looking at these latest proposals to counteract COVID-19 and stimulate the economy.

COVID-19 TERS

Update 4 August: The cut-off point for April and May TERS applications has been extended and closure will be subject to 14 day’s notice – Read more here.

As stated above, the TERS scheme  has been extended from 31 June to 15 August, providing an extra one and a half months of crucial support to help retain employees.

In her speech, the Deputy Minister also stated that the UIF is considering closing applications for April and May at the end of July, so we would strongly encourage you to apply if you haven’t already . It should be emphasised that all valid applications made before 1 August will still be processed and evaluated; 31 July is just a cut-off point for new applications.

COIDA

The Compensation Fund has stated its commitment to consider any claim from workers who contract the virus while at work. Successful applications could receive:

  • a pay-out for temporary disablement while the worker is in quarantine, self-isolation or hospitalized;
  • a payment of medical expenses; and
  • where the illness tragically results in fatality, the Fund will pay out survivor benefits to dependents in the form of a monthly pension and funeral benefit.

We covered such applications to the Compensation Fund in our very first COVID-19 Blog and more information on how to make submissions can be found in this Government Notice.

Additionally, proposed amendments to COIDA were outlined, showing the Compensation Fund’s new direction towards a “Rehabilitation and Return to Work Programme”. We shall keep our eyes open for updates on this in the near future.

Contacting the UIF

The UIF is revamping its call centre to better meet your needs. Changes include the introduction of an App and USSD services, which are due to go live in August. These changes are based on the feedback and issues encountered during the running of the TERS scheme; hopefully this will mean that we will benefit from a sleeker and more efficient system in the future. 

Additionally, the UIF has indicated that 10% of its assets will be set aside for use in Labour Activation Programmes. These programmes will support jobs and training as dictated by the needs of the labour market.

Other Announcements

The following additional points are important to note based on the topics discussed:

  • If your business relies upon non-resident workforces, you should keep abreast of policy changes in this area. A National Employment Policy is being developed, starting with the fast-tracked creation of a Labour Migration Policy to address immediate challenges.
  • If operating back at the workplace, you must ensure your workplace has a workplace plan and is compliant (see this blog). The recruitment of an additional 500 Occupational Health and Safety Officers by the Government’s Inspection and Enforcement Services branch is likely to be completed this month. This will help ensure compliance with the Health and Safety Regulations for returning to the work-place.
  • You should check your current health and safety protocols in preparation for updates to the legislation. The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill is to be tabled for the current session of Parliament.
  • It is imperative that you are complying with the National Minimum Wage Act. The CCMA (Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) has been working closely with Government branches to help enforce compliance with the National Minimum Wage, resulting in the recovery of short pay to workers.
  • Public employment services are to start operating mobile services across all provinces to bring the services to work-seekers. Additionally, an online registration process will be put in place to help accommodate social distancing.

Although this was just a speech, the proposals outlined are encouraging as they indicate an intention to continue supporting South African Businesses and people. Hopefully they will come into force smoothly.

If you would like to read the full speech by Deputy Minister Moloi, you can find it here

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: www.simplepay.co.za.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

COVID-19 Support Measure Timeline and Switching Support Options

Update 15 July: The UIF has released a statement that in order for them to authorise the disbursement of TERS benefits, you must enter your Enterprise number or ID number of the bank account holder. Failure to do so will result in delays.

Following on from the President’s speech last Sunday, 12 July, concerns over a spike in coronavirus cases has led to an extension to level 3 of lockdown. The effect of this is that many businesses and their employees will likely have to continue relying upon support to remain operational. In the blog today we want to outline the timelines for the existing COVID-19 support measures, thus helping you in making an informed decision for the coming phase of transition.

Timeline of Support Measures

Dependent on any announcements from the Government, as of 15 July 2020, this is the current timeline for the rolling up of support measures.

1 July 2020

Update 22 July: The UIF has announced an extension of the COVID-19 TERS scheme to 15 August 2020.

COVID-19 TERS scheme ceases to operate, meaning that TERS benefits cannot be claimed for July. Despite this, the Minister announced that there has been no cut off date put forward for claims to be made for the months of April, May or June. Therefore, if you are yet to apply for these months, you should do so as soon as possible.

NB: As per the above update, the home page of the TERS application portal has been altered, with a new message outlining urgent steps for the employer to take, in order for the UIF to be able to authorise payment of applications. Please take a look in case any action on your part is required for claims already submitted.

1 August 2020

35% PAYE deferral reaches completion, meaning that repayments start to become due for the amounts  deferred over the last 4 months, These repayments will be spread equally across the 6 months after the scheme finishes. It appears SARS will calculate these repayments and add them to your Statement of Account – please see question 10 SARS’s FAQ for more detail.

Additional and Extended ETI period closes, meaning that the original ETI sums and eligibility requirements will be back in force.

1 September 2020

SDL Payment Holiday comes to a close, meaning that employers and their employees will have to resume making contributions. SimplePay will automatically start to calculate SDL contributions again come 1 September. We also anticipate SARS to update their channels to allow for these inputs again. No repayments for the months that the holiday was in force will be necessary.

Alternate Support Systems Remaining in Place

We appreciate that the above list of timelines is quite a change in the tides, but we should reiterate that some of these deadlines could be subject to change. Additionally there are still other support measures available to help you with reducing cash outgoings, whilst your business returns to normality. Below is a non-exhaustive list of examples which you may wish to look into: 

Now is a good time to start planning ahead for how to handle this next transition phase and if necessary look into additional support measures.

Moving From TERS to UIF Benefits

If your business remains closed or affected by the pandemic and you have been reliant upon TERS benefits to help support your employees, now is the time to look into switching your employees onto claiming UIF Benefits.

The Department of Employment and Labour and UIF have released the “UIF Benefits – Easy Guide for Electronic Claims” which provides guidance on how your employees can apply for UIF benefits through uFiling, as well as a list of useful contacts. 

To help make this process as hassle free as possible for you, SimplePay generates both the individual UI 19 and UI 2.7 forms, which are necessary for your employees to be able to apply for benefits in relation to reduced working hours, maternity leave or parental leave. Note that the documents required are different for employees applying for illness benefits.

Further guidance on the correct procedure for you to follow for ending employee service is given in our blog from 6 July. Doing this process correctly will help improve your chances of a smooth transition onto UIF benefits.

We hope that the information we have provided proves useful to you. Should you have any questions on how the above relates to SimplePay or where to find further information on the functionality provided please refer to our Help Site, or get in touch with us at [email protected].

Ending Service on SimplePay

One of the demands that COVID-19 has placed on businesses is the need to be flexible in the number of staff under their employ at a certain period in time. We at SimplePay appreciate this and so the blog today is aimed at informing you on what you need to do to accommodate your situation through the system to ensure accurate submissions, enable employees to claim benefits and prevent unnecessary billing.

Employees Leaving your Company

Ending Employees Service

If for any reason, one or more of your employees are no longer able to work for your business, whether only for a period of time or indefinitely, it is important to end their service on SimplePay for the following reasons:

  1. Ending employees’ service correctly provides them access to accrued unemployment insurance (UIF) benefits or TERS benefits.
  2. SimplePay’s pricing model is based on the number of active employees on the system at the start of your monthly billing cycle. Therefore, if the employee is still active on the system when your invoice is generated, you will be charged for the employee even if no payslips have been processed for that employee. 

Information on ending an employee’s service is detailed in this help article, including steps to follow, the end service checklist and which UIF status code to use.

If you have several employees whom you have to end service for, you can do this in bulk, as detailed in this blog.

If you are ending employees’ service in order to apply for TERS benefits for them, the correct UIF status code to use is given in the COVID-19 UIF Quick Reference Guide.

What Must be Provided to Employees Upon Ending Their Service

Having ended an employee’s service, there are a number of forms which you must provide them with. SimplePay generates the following forms on your behalf, saving you the added paperwork (click on the link for each for further information): 

More information on these forms can also be found in the COVID-19 UIF Quick Reference Guide. By furnishing employees with the above forms, this means that if you are not participating in the TERS scheme, employees can claim UIF benefits. For information on how to assist employees in this process, refer to this help page.

If whilst still under your employ, an ex-employee was sent invoice emails from SimplePay, the billing email list needs to be amended. To do this, click on the Profile Icon > Billing > Update Billing preferences and remove the relevant billing email(s). 

The final thing which you must check before your employees can claim UIF is that you are up to date with UIF declarations and payments. SimplePay has recently released several new features to ensure that you have all the information you could possibly need. As detailed in our blogs you can now download submissions, responses and view reasons for any error responses, allowing you to correct any issues that may have arisen. 

If you pay your and your employees’ UIF contributions directly across to SARS, SimplePay automatically details the UIF amounts owed in the generated monthly EMP201s. If adhered to, this should mean that you are not in any arrears. 

By following the above, this should result in a smooth transition and lessen the stress for all parties involved.

Shutdown of Business

Lockdown or other reasons might mean you sadly need to close your business on a temporary or permanent basis. Your intention on whether to reopen your business or not determines the appropriate actions to take.

Closing For A Period of Time

If it becomes necessary to close your business, but you intend to reopen, you should end the service for all employees and provide them with the necessary forms (as detailed above). 

As you are charged per active employee, ending the service for your workforce means that you will not be billed until they become active again.

Permanent Business Closure

In the unfortunate event that you need to close your business permanently, the following steps  need to be followed:

  1. End Service for Employees and Furnish Them with Forms – as described under “Employees Leaving Your Company” (above), the employees’ service should be ended and they should be provided with the forms to facilitate claims for UIF benefits.
  2. Deactivate Admin Users on your Account – if you have provided administrative privileges of your company to any ex-employees, we would recommend that these are deactivated upon ending their service. To do this, click on the profile in the top right corner > Manage Users >Delete. Should you wish for an ex-employee to retain access, you can leave their access rights unamended.
  3. (Optional) Remove the Company From SimplePay – If you wish you can delete your company from SimplePay. We strongly recommend against this as it will mean you no longer have access to information assimilated on SimplePay, which might come in useful e.g. should you have any documents requested from SARS. If you wish to delete the company details of how to can be found here

Closing User Account on SimplePay

It may be the case that you have come to the decision to close your account on SimplePay. If you are sure that this is the right decision for you and there is nothing we can do to change your mind, you will need to do the following:

  1. Get in touch with SimplePay at [email protected] and request they close your account. It would be greatly appreciated if in this email you include:
    1. The reason(s) for ending your SimplePay membership
    2. Method of payment used (direct debit / EFT etc.)

N.B.  SimplePay provides you with the option of freezing your account, meaning you can still access SimplePay for three months. This provides you with ample opportunity to ensure that there is not any information that you need which is still on SimplePay.  If though, you are certain that you have all the information you need, you can also opt to close your account with immediate effect.

  1. If there are any outstanding sums, these must be paid. If you are not in a position to do so, please advise us of this so that our billing team can engage with you on the best course of action.

We appreciate that this must be an extremely stressful and turbulent situation for you, with many hard decisions to make. If this is the end of your use of SimplePay, thank you for the support. We wish you well and hope that we will get the opportunity to work symbiotically with you again in the not-so-distant future. Should you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Update: June TERS Applications

Since the announced opening of TERS applications for June, mentioned in our blog, the application portal site has experienced technical difficulties. This has resulted in June applications being closed until this glitch is ironed out. 

In a media statement, Minister Maruping suggested that testing may be done by Friday, so that applications for June can be reopened over the weekend.

The full media statement can be read 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]

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: www.simplepay.co.za.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Update on TERS May Applications and June Applications Now Live

You may have noticed it’s been a while since we have had a blog with the word TERS in the title. This is a good thing! This is a reflection of how the process has been streamlined and clarified through the hard work of the UIF. This blog therefore aims to provide a consolidatory recap on some of the questions which remained outstanding since our last blog on TERS.

Application Process for May

As we’re sure you are aware, the application process for May is much the same as the process was for April, being made via the online portal at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19

The Department of Employment and Labour has released a TERS May 2020 Applications – Application Guide (Application Guide), which provides you with a step by step guide on how to Apply for May. Additionally there is an attached FAQ for common problems experienced during the process.

Applicants Reapplying in May, Having Received TERS Benefits for April

If you are reapplying for TERS benefits for your employees, having received TERS benefits for them for April, you simply need to follow the instructions laid out in the Application Guide (linked above).

One point to note is that in step 7 of the guide, if you select Yes to both questions one and two, then the system will re-submit your application for April (but with the altered date range). This can lead to errors. Even if you think the above is correct, we would advise you to submit a new application and attach a new CSV, lessening the chance of errors.

Having uploaded your new CSV, you can submit and that’s it! your application is filed!

Applicants Reapplying in May, Having Not Received TERS Benefits for April

Although the UIF has made significant inroads into the backlog of April Applications, there are still a limited number of unpaid applicants. If you have not received any payment for any of your employees for April, the last FAQ in the  Application Guide would suggest that you nonetheless can apply. Unfortunately, it is not stated what you should put in place of the proof of payment to employees, under step 6 of the Application Guide. We would imagine that, similar to entities applying for the first time in May, you can substitute proof of payment with a letter in the format prescribed in step 6. We would though recommend you verify this with the TERS call centre on 0800 030 007.

If some of your employees have received TERS benefits in April, but you are still awaiting payment for some, you can continue to apply for all of the employees for May. When the employees who are yet to receive TERS payments, do get payment, proof of payment can be sent to [email protected].

Points of Note for Applicants in Non-standard Situations

Applicants Applying in May for the First Time

Note: You will first need to register. This can be done at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/, by clicking on Register. The steps which should be followed are the same as in the Application Guide, save for what’s mentioned below.

At the opening of May Applications, employers wanting to apply for the first time in May encountered the problem that they were unable to provide proof of payment of benefits for April (Step 6 of the Application Guide).

The UIF has now put forward a solution. Employers who have not applied for April relief must attach a signed letter, on a company letterhead, confirming that they did not apply in April. This needs to be signed by the director or CFO of the company and attached in PDF format under “Signed Proof of Acceptance Letter”.

In step 7 you should select No to both questions and the shutdown date range should reflect the date range your operations were totally or partially closed for this period. After clicking PROCEED, you can fill in the staff for which you wish to claim. SimplePay provides a TERS CSV download, saving you the arduous task of inputting all employees manually. More information can be found on our related help page, linked here.

Extra Info

Advance Payments – Setting Off 

Due to the quantity of applications and number of possible reasons for delay, it is likely that TERS benefits are not always released to employees in timely, periodic instalments. This can clearly create all manner of difficulties for your employees.

To address this issue, if employers are able, they can advance money less than or equal to the TERS benefit amount to their employees, then set off this money when the TERS benefits are disbursed. The same principle applies for if it was agreed between the employer and employee that they would take annual leave, the sums the employer paid can be set off, provided the employee regains their leave entitlement.

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].

TERS Applications for the Month of June

The UIF has announced that TERS applications for June are now open. To date there have been no new documents released for June applications, so we assume that the information provided above for May is also relevant to June applications. If you wish to verify this, we would recommend contacting the COVID-19 TERS hotline on 0800 030 007.

Keep well and stay safe,

Team SimplePay

Reminder of ETI Minimum Wage Changes for May to July 2020

This is an important reminder that ETI should only be claimed if your employees earn at least the higher of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) applicable to them, or the wage specified by a wage regulating measure (e.g. a sectoral determination), if applicable.

During this time of crisis, more employers than ever are availing of the ETI scheme to help their finances. It is important to get it right, because the penalties can be steep.

You should only enable ETI for employees if you are sure they meet the higher of your sector’s wage regulating measure or the NMW. If your employees are working fewer hours than normal, but still meet the requirement per hour, it’s fine to claim ETI. If they are now earning less per hour than the minimum wage, ETI should not be claimed. Alternatively, if there is a single minimum wage applicable to all your employees, entering it under ETI settings will enable the system to automatically calculate 0 ETI for employees who do not qualify.

If you have not yet done so, you can update your ETI settings as described in this this section of our ETI help article. You can also find more on the COVID-19 ETI in this help article.

Please note that May’s payslips need to be unfinalised in order to effect the minimum wage change for May (if you had not already done so). We generally do not recommend unfinalising payslips as this can cause significant variances if regular items have been changed. Therefore, it is recommended that you take caution when doing this – ensure that you have saved a copy of all payslips, as well as the transaction history report for the period before unfinalising the payslips. You will then need to reconcile your new finalised payslips against the saved payslips used to pay employees.

It is important to note that there were minimum wage changes on 1 March 2020, as mentioned in this blog post.

If you have successfully applied for exemption from the NMW, and also do not have a minimum specified by a wage regulating measure, a minimum wage of R2000 per month could previously be used. However, effective 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020, such employers no longer qualify for ETI at all.

Additional COVID-19 ETI Changes

In a previous blog post, we informed you of additional ETI as a COVID-19 relief measure. The revised Disaster Management Tax Relief bills have given rise to some changes:

  • The ETI claimable for those in the R0 – R1 999.99 bracket has changed, retrospectively effective from 1 April 2020.
  • Employees with an appointment date before 1 October 2013 are now eligible for the Additional ETI, retrospectively effective from 1 April 2020.
  • As with normal ETI, remuneration should be grossed up and additional ETI for April should be grossed down proportionately if an employee is employed for less than 160 hours per month. This grossing up of remuneration and grossing down of ETI no longer applies, effective 1 May 2020.
*The ETI amount changed for this bracket
** The employee’s wage must not be less than the higher of the minimum wage specified by a wage regulating measure and by the National Minimum Wage Act. This will need to be configured under Settings > Payroll Calculations > ETI.

SimplePay has implemented these changes to the system and automatically applied it to all payslips for April (even finalised ones). Therefore, all you need to do is:

  • Finalise the new EMP201 that is automatically generated by the system
  • Submit the new EMP201 information to SARS

Please also note:

  • The additional ETI is applicable until 31 July 2020
  • To qualify for the additional ETI, the employer must have been registered for PAYE after 25 March 2020
  • Employers that are not subject to a wage regulating measure AND that are exempt from the National Minimum Wage Act are not eligible from the additional ETI benefits for May – July 2020.

For more information, head to our help pages:

If you need further assistance, please contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Week Recap and Level 3 of Lockdown – Effect on Business

Closing off the month of May and level 4 of lockdown in style, this blog will give a brief overview of what’s been covered this week in our blogs, before turning to what businesses can expect under level 3 in June.

Week Recap

REMINDER – The deadline for the Annual Employer Reconciliation Period is this Sunday, 31 May, as detailed in our previous blog.

Upcoming ETI changes for the May EMP201 blog contents:

  • Revisions to the COVID-19 ETI legislation is being completed in time for May payroll submissions
  • Please delay in submitting for May, we shall ensure the changes are ready for 7 June and shall inform you when the changes are complete

TERS Applications for May Open blog contents:

  • Details of the application process for COVID-19 TERS applications.
  • Key changes between the TERS process for May in comparison to April

TERS: Foreign Workers Update blog contents: 

  • Details surrounding the issue(s) in making a claim for TERS benefits on behalf of foreign employees
  • Possible means of remedying the issue and prospective changes for May applications

New Functionality: Download Responses to Electronic UIF Submissions blog contents:

  • Users can now download responses from the UIF in relation to their monthly UI-19 submissions

Level 3 of Lockdown – Effect on Business

On Sunday 24 May, the President announced that the whole country will move to level 3 of lockdown on 1 June. We thought it would be handy to provide you with a blog on what this actually means for your business. Below we have summarised some of the most relevant points to note for life under level 3.

Which Businesses can now Open?

According to President Ramaphosa, as of 1 June all manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, professional and business services, wholesalers, retailers, media services and ICT businesses can reopen.

Retailers can be fully reopened, including stores, spaza shops and informal traders. Additionally, airlines will be allowed to reopen, initially for domestic business purposes, with more air travel being phased in on announced dates.

Industries which were open under levels 4 and 5, such as agriculture, medical services and food production, will remain fully open.

In the President’s speech, he stated that the reopening will be contingent on each business creating a workplace plan. This plan must be aligned with the Government’s guidance (discussed below), as well as any protocols released by the relevant sector (if any are released). 

You can read the Government’s notice on lockdown level 3 here. The most relevant sections to this blog are sections 46 and 47. Below are a few key points from subsections of  section 46:

  • Businesses and other institutions with over 100 employees must implement measures to minimise the number of employees in the workplace at one time. Examples given include shift patterns and remote working.
  • Relevant health protocols and social distancing measures must be adhered to, including the screening of employees.
  • Construction, manufacturing, business and financial services firms with more than 500 employees must finalise appropriate sector or workplace arrangements addressing transport, staggering employee working and screening, whilst also documenting these actions.

Under section 47 of the above notice found in the PDF linked below, each business needs to designate a “COVID-19 compliance officer”. The compliance officer needs to implement the aforementioned workplace plan, as well as oversee the adherence to hygiene measures. 

Further details of the requirements of the workplace plan and compliance officer can be found in section 47, on page 14 of this linked document.

Which Businesses must Remain Closed?

Under level 3, a number of businesses must remain closed, these include:

  • Professional Care services e.g. hairdressers, beauty treatments and beauty salons
  • Restaurants, except for the provision of takeaways, drive through services and collection
  • Bars, taverns, shebeens, nightclubs and casinos
  • Hotels, lodges and other accommodation facilities (except for certain permitted guests)
  • Gyms and sports facilities
  • Exhibit and conference centres
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Museums
  • Flea Markets and bazaars

If we are made aware of any developments for the above mentioned businesses, we shall update you.

Recommendations from Government

For this new list of businesses that can return to work, the President advised that where possible, employees should work from home. Where this is not practicable workplace plans should be in place. Additionally, those deemed especially vulnerable, such as employees over 60 years old and those who suffer from underlying conditions, should ideally work from home. Failing this, the employer needs to ensure that these vulnerable employees have a safe return to work, which may include the use of special measures.

A potential problem which was identified from the reopening of the economy is the use of public transport. It was stated that all commuters must wear masks and wash their hands before and after travelling, as well as avoiding touching their faces with unwashed hands.

The full transcript of the President’s speech can be read by following this link and an infographic summarising level 3 is linked here.

Closing on a positive, to relieve the stress provided by business operations and TERS applications, you now have the opportunity to release that tension by exercising between 6am and 6pm! And on that happy note, we wish you a pleasant and relaxing  weekend.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay