UIF Payment Process Relaxed

At the end of last month, the UIF announced that it will be cutting away some of the red tape to help prevent labour centre queues spreading COVID-19.

The UIF now intends to deal directly with employers, who’ll need to collect retrenched employees’ benefit applications and supporting documents for the UIF. While the Department of Labour refines the new processes that they’ll use, you can expect to receive follow-ups to your submission.

To help reduce the number of people going to labour centres, the UIF has implemented the following measures:

  • Individuals enrolled for UIF benefits will not need to go to the department for a monthly continuation form. This will instead be calculated from the previous month’s statistics.
  • Application status updates will be provided to individuals by SMS, removing the need to follow up in person.
  • The UIF is setting up a USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) service, to facilitate faster access to information.

You can read the UIF’s media statement here.

We hope that this information has proved helpful to you. If you have any questions for us, you can contact us at [email protected]

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Filing Reminder and TERS Update

In the blog today we are writing to remind you about both the interim employer reconciliation and the individual income tax return deadlines, in addition to an update on COVID-19 TERS. Both of the filing submission periods are now open and we recommend that you complete your submissions in good time to avoid any complications.

Employer Interim Filing Season

This year the employer interim reconciliation submission period will run between 14 September and 31 October 2020. Within this period you will need to submit your EMP501 return and your employees’ IRP5 / IT3(a)s to consolidate the period between 1 March and 31 August.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, SimplePay automatically generates these forms from your previous submissions, with all the latest legislative changes taken account of. All you need to do is log onto [email protected] or eFiling and submit the required forms. It really is that easy!

Manual Individual Income Tax Return 

If you have already completed SARS new auto assessment process in August, as covered in this blog post, then you have already met your obligations and don’t need to do anything further. This reminder applies to you if you rejected or did not receive an auto assessment from SARS, but need to complete an individual income tax return.

If this is you, the submission period for individual income tax returns is between 1 September and 16 November 2020 if you are filing online. You can log into eFiling or the SARS Mobi App to complete your manual return.

COVID-19 TERS Update

The past few weeks have been challenging for the UIF with respect to COVID-19 TERS. The audit carried out showed a number of shortcomings in the validation steps for applications, which led to various misallocations of funds. As a result payments were halted on 11 September and access to the TERS portal was down over the past weekend to maintain and improve the process’s safeguards. The resumption of the payouts is yet to be announced, but we shall endeavour to let you know when this happens.

An additional point of note is that for those that meet the application requirements, TERS benefits have been extended to 15 September. The application deadline for this period is 30 October, after which no new applications will be accepted.

For all other application periods i.e. March to 15 August, the deadline for new applications is 17 September.

Update 16 September: The closing dates for new have been changed  as follows:

 New applications for March to end of May the deadline is now 25 September 2020. 

New applications for June the deadline is now 15 October 2020.

New Applications for July to 15 September the deadline is now 30 October 2020.

The media statements on the audit findings can be found here and the announcement of an extension to COVID-19 TERS can be found 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, 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

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

New: Foreign Employees Notification

In our blog post on 27 May 2020 we informed you that the Department of Labour and UIF now recommend that declarations for foreign employees be captured on uFiling. SimplePay has now introduced a new notification for foreign employees. When clicking on Submit for a finalised UIF Declaration, the confirmation screen will include an alert for the number of foreign employees included in the UIF Declaration being submitted. You can then log into uFiling and complete the declaration for those foreign employees.

For more information on UIF Declarations, head to our help page here.

If you require further assistance, feel free to contact us.

Team SimplePay

Submitted Files of UIF Declaration Now Available

One of the benefits of being a SimplePay user is that you can submit your UIF Declarations (UI-19 forms) directly to the Department of Labour with the click of a button. This allows you to completely bypass uFiling, making the filing process more convenient and less time consuming.

The data in the UIF Declaration is submitted to the Department of Labour in the required file format. For readability and user-friendliness purposes, SimplePay provides you with PDF and Excel versions of these UIF Declarations. We have now expanded our UIF functionality for successful submissions to include a download of the submitted file. While the format of these files may not be as useful for payroll administration, they do serve as a record of the actual file submitted, should there be any queries or disputes with the Department of Labour.

To download this file:

  1. Go to Filing
  2. Navigate to the relevant month
  3. Under the Electronic Status heading in the UIF Declaration section, the status should be “confirmed” (Note: the file is only available for successful submissions)
  4. Click on the icon next to “confirmed” to download the file

Please note: Should you need to open these files, you will need to rename the file to include “.csv” at the end (and remove the abbreviation for the current file format). This will allow you to view the file in Excel, Google Sheets or another spreadsheet application.

For more information about monthly submissions, head to our help page here.

If you require any assistance regarding this functionality, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

UIF Submissions Update: 18/05/2020

Last week we posted a blog update covering electronic UIF submissions turnaround times. Thankfully it seems that in the interim they have started clearing the backlog and are processing newer submissions more quickly. With this in mind, we wanted to provide an update on the current state of UIF submissions in relation to TERS claims.

We are currently doing everything we can to ease the burden on UIF and ensure that they receive all the necessary submissions for the processing of TERS. We’ve limited immediate submissions to the past six (6)  months because we’ve been advised that as long as the UIF has submission information for Jan to March 2020, TERS applications will be processed. At this stage, it appears that the majority of clients experiencing issues with UIF submissions have encountered them during the TERS application process.

Unfortunately, because of the sheer volumes of data and the massive backlog at the UIF, we are not currently processing resubmissions further back than Nov 2019. This is to ensure that we do not overwhelm their electronic submissions channel and prevent the processing of newer declarations needed for TERS claims. Once the dust settles, we will begin resubmitting these backlogged, older declarations. If you need to urgently resubmit declarations for periods prior to November 2019, we would recommend use of another channel such as email or uFiling, simply because this means of electronic submission appears to be overloaded and struggling due to increased volumes from the lockdown.

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

UIF Submission Update

Over the past few weeks, we’ve provided several updates on the increasingly slow turnaround times for acknowledgement of electronic UIF submissions through SimplePay. This seems to be an unfortunate consequence of the large number of employers filing their UIF submissions due to the pandemic. We are working with members of the UIF’s technical division to help reduce the strain on their system and improve the reliability and turnaround times on these electronic submissions. At this stage, it’s difficult to provide an estimate timeline but we are hopeful that things will start to speed up from early next week.

In the meantime, for any urgent submissions or resubmissions (e.g. where necessary to process TERS or UIF benefit claims), you may want to try using the uFiling portal as a temporary measure. We realise that this additional manual work is not ideal and likely provides unnecessary extra stress in an already stressful period but feel it is the most responsible course of action to be transparent around our issues with the UIF and provide you with a hopefully more reliable interim solution. Please see the following links for more

We apologise for any inconvenience that this causes; the situation is unfortunately out of our hands but, as mentioned above, we are actively engaged and working with them to provide you with the convenience and peace of mind to which you’ve been accustomed as a SImplePay client.

As always, thank you for your patience, understanding and ongoing support.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Lockdown Update: 8 May

In today’s blog we have an important update on how best to interpret employee TERS benefit entitlements and the effect of additional payments by employers to employees participating under the scheme. We shall also touch base on tracking of UIF applications, updates from SARS and cast our eyes forward with respect to ETI.

TERS Payouts

Please note: This information is a reiteration of information provided by the Department of Labour on 30 April. It is provided for informational purposes only and is to the best of our knowledge correct at the time of publication.

Our previous blog based on information posted by SAICA on 29 April, suggested that employer contributions may greatly reduce the amount employees receive from the TERS benefit, as well as underestimating TERS benefit amount. The Department of Labour has since published its own FAQ document (linked below), which has shown that this was not correct. We unreservedly apologise for any inconvenience and angst this has caused you.

The following information is based on the Department of Labour FAQ (referenced as the DoL FAQ going forward), published 30 April 2020.

The amount that will be provided to each employee ranges between a minimum of R3 500.00 and a maximum of R6 638.40. This is further explained at the top of page 5 of the DoL FAQ.

Calculating an Employee’s TERS Payout

On pages 5-7 of the DoL FAQ, they explain how to calculate the TERS payout amount for an employee, before taking into account employer additions.

Benefit amount = Daily income x Income Replacement Rate (IRR)

To calculate the benefit amount, the above formula must be used. How to calculate the daily income for your employee and their own IRR, are shown on pages 5* and 6 of the DoL FAQ above. However, note that, if your employee is paid R17 712 or more, then there is no need to follow this calculation, as the entitlement will be R6 638.40.

*At the base of page 5, the term “Yi” may lead to confusion as it is a different format to the worked examples found on page 6. If at all confused, we would recommend following the method shown on page 6, using the daily income for both the amount put into the IRR formula, and for the value which you multiply with the IRR.

Effect of Additional Payments from the Employer

According to the above DoL FAQ, the correct interpretation of employer contributions is that they will not affect the employee’s benefit amount, unless the reduced salary and the TERS benefit amount would result in the employee receiving more than their normal remuneration if there were no lockdown.

For further explanation of this please refer to Page 7 of the DoL FAQ. 

Submissions of Electronic UIF Declarations

Since the lockdown came into force, there has been an influx of applications to the UIF, which has caused a delay on their end.

To help inform you on the progress of your application when using the SimplePay UIF Declaration function, we have updated our system to give you an expected time period for reply from the UIF when:

  1. You make the submission on the SimplePay Website.
  2. When your submission appears in the UIF list as awaiting_response.

When you go to your submission, under the “Electronic Status” heading, you will see a question mark in a blue circle. Hover your cursor over the question mark to show the expected response time, based on the up to date average processing times.

SARS Updates

For all the latest information from SARS, we would suggest following them on twitter (@sarstax). They are releasing nice bite-sized tweets on the various COVID-19 support measures, providing seemingly straightforward guidance for employers.

Annual Employer Reconciliation Period

SARS has not announced an extension to the annual employer filing period, meaning currently the deadline remains at 31 May. We are happy to announce that all of the necessary arrangements have been made on our end for you to proceed with your annual filing on the SimplePay site.

ETI Updates

The system has now been updated to cater for the expanded ETI, in effect from 1 April 2020 and covered in this post from 6 May. We would like to thank all of you who held off on doing April EMP201 submissions while we made the necessary updates.

The new draft Disaster Management Bills propose a further widening of ETI by relaxing the requirement that employees have an employment date before 1 October 2013. As this is still in draft form, we will not be making further system changes yet – as soon as there is confirmation of it passing into law, we will communicate this and make the necessary updates to the system – please keep an eye on our blog and in-system notifications.

We hope that this information gives clarity on the TERS payout and helps you in understanding what is a very complex subject, as well as keeping you in the loop on UIF and SARS. Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected].

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Lockdown Update – 24 April

Since yesterday’s blog, we have a few updates on the distribution of TERS funds and a means to track applications.

Additionally, changes have been made so that some employers who were previously unable to apply for TERS, are now eligible.

TERS – Employee Fund Distribution

Update 7 May: The Department for Employment and Labour has not yet started accepting TERS applications for the month of May. They have requested that applicants continue to revisit the website until applications for May become live.

As of last week, TERS payments have started to be distributed to employers to support their employees, however there has been no accompanying instruction on how this is to be distributed. This has made it impossible for the employer to correctly pay their employees the amounts due.

We have been informed that, for employers who have already received the funding, TERS will either issue, or make available a reconciliation report to instruct the employers on how to distribute the funds to their employees. For those still awaiting payment, a reconciliation report will be provided alongside payment, allowing for the correct amounts to be paid to employees.

TERS Access to Employers not Registered for UIF Benefit

Many employers are registered with SARS for UIF payment purposes, but have never signed up with the UIF. As TERS benefit claims require a UI Registration number, some employers have been unable to apply for TERS benefits. SARS is now assisting the UIF with registering all SARS-registered employers with the UIF. 

Once this is completed, the newly registered employer can submit back-dated declarations as far as possible, facilitating them in claiming the TERS benefit.

TERS Application Tracker

A useful tool to look out for if you are waiting to hear back from a submitted TERS application, is the new tracking functionality on the Department of Employment and Labour website. 

To track your application, you need to login at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/.

EMP201 Tax Liability Deferrals

To reiterate a point made in our Lockdown Recap #2 Blog, to claim the 35% deferment correctly, you must submit your EMP201 to SARS with the full liability recorded. SARS themselves will deduct the relevant amount to provide you with the amount due. You do not need to do anything on your end to benefit from the deferment.

TERS Benefit Payout

We are happy to announce that we have created a new system item to accommodate the payment of the TERS benefit to employees. More information can be found on our blog here.

Today, we had hoped to bring you more from the relevant Ministers of the subjects laid out in the President’s speech this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Government delayed the release of the speech by Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni. We shall bring this information to you next week.

If you have any questions about this above blog, please feel free to get into contact with us at [email protected].

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Individual UI 19 Forms

Update 21 April: The Department of Employment and Labour has opened a dedicated UIF toll free hotline, running 8am – 10pm Monday to Friday. The number is 0800 030 007.

In an effort to continue to simplify the world of payroll and employment, during this COVID-19 crisis and beyond, we have added individual UI 19 PDFs to the system.

These forms need to be submitted by employees when claiming their UIF benefits and can be downloaded for each employee once you have ended their service.

Before ending the employee’s service and downloading the form though, you will need to complete some additional information on the Employer Filing Details page.

Additionally, if you are ending an employee’s service using codes 9, 10 or 17, please also immediately capture a reinstatement date (the date you expect them to resume work) in order to ensure all required dates are populated.

For more information on this new functionality and the required inputs, please take a look at the following help articles:

As always, if you have any questions, please contact our support team.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay