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

Lockdown Recap and FAQ #1

Update 23 April: We have received confirmation that the TERS benefit paid by employers to their employees will not be subject to PAYE, SDL or UIF. You may pay this amount off-system if you choose, but we recommend waiting until we have updated our system to include a new TERS benefit item. We will send out a notification when the system has been updated.

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.

Update 8 April: FAQ related to the implementation of the 20% tax relief updated.

Update 7 April: Closure of Labour offices for in person UIF applications. Updates made to the FAQ’s, UIF & TERS in Particular. 

It’s the end of day 8 of the Lockdown in South Africa and the end of our first full week working under the new conditions, circumstances and regulations. We have all been overwhelmed and humbled by the responses we have received to our blogs and customer support, thank you! 

We unfortunately don’t have capacity to respond to every comment individually so instead we have reviewed them all and grouped them in order to address the most common queries here in the inaugural Weekly Lockdown Recap and FAQ.

We have uploaded the FAQ into this blog, making it more accessible for you. Further to this, we shall be implementing formatting to make it easier to search for your related question.

Frequently Asked Questions

What relief measures exist for businesses and their employees?

Measures for Businesses

The Government has announced several relief schemes and initiatives in an attempt to support South African businesses through the Lockdown period. We briefly discussed these in our COVID-19 Lockdown – Support For Business post on 30 March. In a nutshell, the following options exist at the time of writing:

  • Expansion of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI);
  • The COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS);
  • Deferred tax liabilities for certain businesses on which SARS has published a Disaster Management Tax Relief FAQs document
    • Contents of note within this document are:
      • An outline of the requirements to be able to claim employee’s tax relief 
      • An outline of the expansions made to the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)
      • A worked example of how the employees’ 20% tax deferral will work
    • Please note that there is also information on provisional tax deferral. We regret to inform you that this is beyond our scope of services and so we are not able to assist with this scheme.
  • Various financial support and relief measures for SMMEs, including;
    • Debt Relief Finance Scheme; and
    • Business Growth and Resilience Facility.

Measures for Employees

The options available for employees were discussed in our first COVID-19 Lockdown Blog, published on 26 March, as well as being outlined in the email we sent out on the same date. To recap:

  • Healthy employees may be put on annual leave or have their service ended with code 17 if the time off must be unpaid. 
  • Employees who are ill with COVID-19 are entitled to 14-day UIF Illness Benefit and should have their service ended with code 10.
  • Employees who are ill with anything other than COVID-19 are treated as usual, i.e. they must be put on sick leave, or annual or unpaid if there’s no sick leave left.
  • Employers are also always able to grant employees additional paid leave should they wish to do so.

You can find a handy overview of the forms and contact details required for the various UIF claims in our COVID-19 UIF Quick Reference Guide.

 As an employer, how do I know whether to apply for UIF or TERS?

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.

Update 16 April: The email application is now obsolete. A new online application is now available. Read more here.

With Labour centres across the country being closed during the lockdown, the UIF’s capacity to process individual employee claims is under severe pressure. With this in mind, we’ve been advised that all employers who are able to apply for the COVID-19 TERS benefit, rather than having employees claim UIF, are urged to go the TERS route instead.

This will effectively allow for consolidated claims rather than many thousands of claims from individual employees, which will hopefully reduce strain on the UIF and allow for some measure of effectiveness in paying out benefits.

The TERS benefit (Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme) is to be submitted by the employer via an application process that is conducted via email. This involves signing the MOA, submitting relevant payroll information and setting up a dedicated bank account for these benefits, or clearing an existing bank account for this purpose. The monies are then paid into the employer’s account to be distributed to the employees. These submissions are done via email or fax, and the employer may assist employees in processing these claims. In this case though, payments are made directly to the employees, and not through the company.

For any queries more detailed than this, we still recommend contacting the UIF free hotline on 0800 030 007 or TERS phone line on 012 337 1997.

You can read more on our interpretation of the general rules around UIF and TERS in the following blogs:

Please note that all of the above is intended for informational use only. It merely represents our interpretation of the options based on our own reading and consultation with labour experts. We ourselves are not labour experts and, as such, cannot offer advice for specific businesses’ situations.  Additionally, as with everything at the moment, these things appear to change and get updated daily so we would strongly advise that you contact the UIF or TERS hotlines and / or a labour lawyer or other labour practitioner.

My business is closing temporarily during lockdown, what UIF code should I use?

It is possible to claim UIF for employees for  temporary closure of your business, however this requires that each employee has an individual application completed.

To the best of our knowledge and based on advice we’ve received, it seems that wherever possible, employers are encouraged to apply for TERS rather than having employees go through UIF. The employer will then distribute the allowance to their employees.

This will effectively allow for consolidated claims rather than many thousands of claims from individual employees, which will hopefully reduce strain on the UIF and allow for some measure of effectiveness in paying out benefits.

For any queries more detailed than this, we still recommend contacting the UIF or TERS phone lines.

My employees will be working reduced hours and need to claim UIF, which code do I use?

It is possible to claim UIF for employees due to temporary closure of your business, however this requires that each employee has an individual application completed.

To the best of our knowledge and based on advice we’ve received, it seems that wherever possible, employers are encouraged to apply for TERS rather than having employees go through UIF. The employer will then distribute the allowance to their employees.

This will effectively allow for consolidated claims rather than many thousands of claims from individual employees, which will hopefully reduce strain on the UIF and allow for some measure of effectiveness in paying out benefits.

For any queries more detailed than this, we still recommend contacting the UIF or TERS phone lines.

I have employees who are ill as a result of COVID-19 and need to claim UIF, which code should I use?

Employees who are ill due to COVID-19 are entitled to claim a special illness benefit through the UIF. When ending their service, please use code 10.

For details on ending an employee’s service on SimplePay, please see our help site. Please remember to also capture the anticipated reinstatement date at the same time so that we can generate a complete individual UI 19 for each employee.

More information on UIF codes is available in our COVID-19 UIF Quick Reference Guide.

My business is having to close down completely and will not reopen after lockdown. Which UIF code should I use for my employees?

In cases where your business unfortunately has to cease trading entirely and will not reopen after lockdown, you should use code 14 when ending employees’ service.

For details on ending an employee’s service on SimplePay, please see our help site. Please remember to also capture the anticipated reinstatement date at the same time so that we can generate a complete individual UI 19 for each employee.

More information on UIF codes is available in our COVID-19 UIF Quick Reference Guide.

I don’t know which UIF code to use – please help!

If none of the above FAQs on UIF codes fit your situation or prove helpful, or if you’re still even just slightly unsure, please get in touch with your provincial UIF office or the general UIF hotline. Alternatively, you can seek advice from a qualified labour practitioner.

As much as we would love to be able to spare everyone a call to the UIF, we unfortunately cannot provide specific advice as we are not labour experts. In our dealings with them during the crisis though, they have been very helpful and efficient throughout. The contact details can be found further down in this post.

I am an employee, will I be able to claim UIF because of COVID-19?

In terms of legislation and all the guidance provided by Government so far, the UIF appears to be the main source of relief for employees. However, your eligibility to claim will depend on a few things related to your employer’s compliance with UIF requirements. Your employer will also first have to ensure that they have generated the necessary forms to enable you to claim. 

As we simply provide software to employers, we are unfortunately not able to assist employees with their claims. Please contact your employer directly for any queries in this regard.

The UIF requires certain forms to be completed by or stamped by the bank – how do I do this during lockdown?

Banks have been classed as essential services so they are open during the lockdown. We would however strongly recommend that you call or email your bank instead of going into a branch to see if they can assist. Many banks offer stamped bank statements through online banking and should hopefully be able to assist with forms and statements via email. 

We have also been advised that the UIF will likely accept statements that are not stamped as long as stamped versions can be provided at a later date.

As with most of the information we’re providing at the moment, we would encourage everyone to get in touch with the relevant organisations (in this case your bank and the UIF) to confirm processes and requirements before trying to submit claims.

The Department of Labour has stated that I, the employer, can complete the application on my employee’s behalf; How do I do this?

Once all the relevant documents have been completed for the employee, rather than transferring them to the employee, you must email all the required documents to the nearest UIF Processing centre to you. This can be found on page 7 of the UIF Easy Aid Guide.

How do I calculate the benefit I / my employees will receive from the UIF?

Unfortunately, this isn’t something we’re able to provide a clear answer on. The UIF calculates benefits based on a formula, which, amongst other things uses a sliding scale based on an employee’s income bracket.

Here again, we unfortunately have to advise that you contact the UIF directly to try and get an estimate or the exact formula for the calculation. As mentioned in other FAQs, they have generally been efficient and helpful in our phone interactions with them. Alternatively, you could consult a labour practitioner who will likely have more insight into this than we do.

Who do I contact for assistance with UIF and / or TERS?

There are a few different options for contacting the relevant people at the Department of Labour:

Does the type of business or the sector we’re in affect its eligibility for TERS?

From the requirements given for TERS applications – provided in detail in our Support for Business – COVID-19 TERS blog from 31 March – the type of business or sector doesn’t appear to be relevant. 

To be eligible for TERS, employers must be compliant with UIF requirements and require the relief as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More detail on TERS, as well as the process and requirements for applications can be found in our Support for Business – COVID-19 TERS blog post.

How do I apply for TERS? 

Update 16 April: The email application is now obsolete. A new online application is now available. Read more here.

The first step is to send an email inquiry to  [email protected], after which you should receive an automated reply containing the required documentation and the process to be followed.

 A number of clients have informed us that they haven’t received a response yet though (“I sent an email to [email protected] but have not had a reply!?) – this is likely due to the overwhelming number of queries they are undoubtedly dealing with. Despite this, we recommend that you persevere and don’t complete an application without the email, as the contents of it has been amended multiple times since lockdown. Below ais a list of some of the key information that was provided in the automated response on 7 April:

  • A list of the documents required
  • A copy of the “COVID-19 TERS Easy Aid Guide” 
  • A draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which needs to be filled in with the relevant information and signed 
  • A template listing critical information required to be filled in by the employer on their employees
  • A second template to be filled in by the employer, listing the details of the account intended for the sole use of COVID-19 TERS employee payments
  • A guide of how to convert excel spreadsheets to CSV files

Once all of the above information is complete in the prescribed format, applications are to be sent to [email protected]. After the fund has signed off the employer can expect payment as laid out in the MOA.

All of the above and more information on TERS can also be found in our Support for Business – COVID-19 TERS blog post.

One of the requirements for a TERS claim is a CSV file of employee and employer information – where do I get this?

Update 16 April: The email application is now obsolete. A new online application is now available. Read more here.

The email you should have received in response to your initial inquiry to [email protected] contains a specification for creating this file if you are comfortable with Excel.

Alternatively, you can use our TERS CSV export function once we have updated it to meet the new criteria. This is a priority for us and we shall inform you as soon as it’s completed. For more information on this, please see our new blog post here. If you’re at all unsure about attempting the file yourself, we would strongly advise that you wait for our amazing team to deliver this functionality and save yourself unnecessary stress.

Part of the TERS application is proof of income for the employees – how do I provide this from SimplePay?

From our understanding of the requirements, proof of payroll is required and 3 month’s payslips should be sufficient here. You can download all of your employees’ payslips for a particular month (or pay period) from the Pay Runs tab in SimplePay. Please take a look at this help article for more information.

If you would like to see this information in report form, you can download our Transaction History Report. This is likely not sufficient to qualify as proof of income but may be useful for your own checks and records. More information on using our reports can be found in this help article.

One of the requirements in the TERS application is that I need to specify our sector minimum wage – how do I find this? What if I don’t know what sector my business falls under?

In answer to both of these questions, we would recommend that you contact the TERS hotline or Department of Labour for assistance. Additionally, in the updated automated response email (7 April) a number of the minimum wages are listed.

We did also briefly cover certain aspects of minimum wage and business sectors in our 26 February blog on National Minimum Wage Increases. This information may be useful in conjunction with your contacting the TERS hotline or Department of Labour. 

We will also endeavour to create more detailed resources on sectors and minimum wages and will update all of our clients when this is available.

How do I calculate the benefit I will receive as part of TERS?

Unfortunately, as with normal UIF benefits, this isn’t something we’re able to provide a clear answer on. The UIF calculates benefits based on a formula, which, amongst other things uses a sliding scale based on an employee’s income bracket.

Here again, we unfortunately have to advise that you contact the TERS hotline to try and get an estimate or the exact formula for the calculation. As mentioned in other FAQs, they have generally been efficient and helpful in our phone interactions with them. Alternatively, you could consult a labour practitioner who will likely have more insight into this than we do.

Where can I find the forms for business relief other than TERS?

A great source of the forms needed, and where we have often gone if scrambling to find a form, is the resource centre page for the department of labour, linked here. It should also be noted that our blogs often contain links to the required files or websites likely to contain them.

How will the 20% deferment of EMP201 liability work? Has SimplePay been updated for this?

A worked example can be found in question 8 on page 2 of SARS’s Disaster Management Tax Relief FAQs.

Employers are required to capture their EMP201 return as normal, declaring the full PAYE liability for the month in question. When SARS processes this, their system will determine the 20% tax relief for PAYE and formulate a credit transaction on the employer’s PAYE account.

A statement of account will then be issued to the employer, stating the amount due. The period which employers can defer 20% EMP201 contributions started on 1 April and will run for 4 months through to August. Therefore the first payment will not be due until 7 May 2020.

I am not a SimplePay client, is it still possible to use your forms for UIF and TERS?

All of the forms and functionality covered in this and our other COVID-19 blogs are 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. That way you can generate the relevant forms for your COVID-19 relief now and then continue to experience the joy of stress free payroll and SARS filing for years to come 🙂

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay