President’s Speech – 14 December 2020

Last night the President addressed the nation for the second time this month on the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and how the Government plans to counter them. Some of the new rules announced are particularly important for businesses, so these are what the blog post today focuses on.

Masks and Social Distancing

The authorities are going to be more active in enforcing compliance with measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. You as managers and business owners are now responsible for ensuring that employees and customers entering your premises or vehicle are wearing masks.

Failure to enforce these rules on your employees or customers could expose you to fines or even six (6) months imprisonment.

Gatherings

Some of the key points on changes to permitted gatherings are as follows:

  • Gatherings are limited to 250 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.
  • All gatherings need to provide ventilation and hand sanitiser, as well as practice social distancing and mask wearing.
  • Certain hotspots for gatherings will be fully or partially closed across the festive season (16 December 2020 to 3 January 2021). Fully closed areas currently include the Eastern Cape and Garden Route.
  • Beaches and parks that aren’t closed will be open between 9am and 6pm.

It is important that you keep up to date with the latest news on any restrictions as rules are subject to change, dependent on increase or decrease of transmission in a region.

Hospitality and Goods

As the President suggested a second wave is possible, the focus of the Government is to try and maintain economic activity, whilst limiting the spread of the virus. This is reflected in the restrictions and rules that have been placed on the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The new rules are:

  • There is a national curfew between 11pm and 4am.
  • Restaurants and bars must close by 10pm to allow staff time to return home before curfew.
  • Alcohol can be sold in shops Monday to Thursday, between 10am and 6pm
  • Vineyards and wine tastings may resume on the weekends and may include purchases for offsite consumption. 

Although the above restrictions may limit your business, it is encouraging that emphasis is being placed on keeping the wheels of the economy turning.

You can read the President’s full speech by following this link.

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. As always, if you need to get in touch with a member of the team, you can contact us at [email protected]

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

2020 Year in Review and Price Increase Deferment

Like most individuals and companies, SimplePay entered the new decade armed with big dreams and extensive plans for the year that lay ahead. As COVID-19 swept across the world, we were forced to temporarily pause our plans and adapt to the new challenges thrown our way. But one thing has stayed constant throughout: our customers remain our top priority.

It’s with this in mind that we have decided to defer our usual annual inflation-linked price adjustment which is normally effective on 1 January each year. Inflation-linked price adjustments are unfortunately unavoidable, as our sustainability depends on us staying on top of rising costs. However, we recognise that many of you have been through undue hardships in 2020 and we hope that by delaying our price adjustment by a few months, we are able to provide additional relief during these difficult economic circumstances. We will notify you in advance of the effective date for our price adjustment.

As we look back on the year, our team pulled together like never before to ensure that you were equipped to process payroll despite the changing payroll landscape. We rapidly responded to add system functionality as the government introduced various COVID-19 relief efforts and had ever-changing requirements for these. In addition, we assigned a dedicated team to blogging and creating help site articles so that you had easy access to information as it unfolded, and we spent countless hours on phones and emails providing support. We hope that our efforts made this year a little bit easier for you.

Despite the unexpected challenges that we faced in 2020, the SimplePay team still managed to roll out some fantastic new features. Although not an exhaustive list, we’d like to highlight a few of them:

As this year draws to a close, we’d once again like to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyalty, support and understanding throughout the year. We wish you all the best over the festive season and look forward to the positive opportunities that lie ahead in 2021.

Take care and stay safe

Team SimplePay

Updated App: Version 2.0

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

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

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

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

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

Team SimplePay

UI Tweaks for Profile Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team SimplePay

PAYE vs Income Tax

You might have noticed that we’ve renamed ‘Tax’ on the system and on payslips to ‘Tax (PAYE)’. Tax is often used as a general term for the tax attached to a particular transaction. The term’s meaning therefore differs according to the context in which it is used, such as ‘sin’ tax in the tobacco industry or sugar tax in the soft drinks industry. In the context of payroll, tax refers to PAYE (Pay As You Earn). We’ve made the change to the label as a reminder that PAYE is distinctly different from income tax for individuals, even though they are related.

Income tax for individuals refers to the tax on your world-wide earnings, which can be divided into:

  • Tax on employment earnings, such as your salary, fringe benefits and allowances; and
  • Tax on non-employment earnings, such a rent income. 

PAYE is a method of collecting income tax that applies to your employment earnings. Amounts subject to PAYE are taxed at the time of payment on the payslip. Some employment earnings are not subject to PAYE and the income tax on these is only payable on assessment* e.g. subsistence allowances where the amount is above the prescribed rate. 

Non-employment earnings are collected via provisional tax payments** and on assessment*.

*Tax on assessment refers to the tax due after an individual submits their income tax return (ITR12) annually to SARS (usually via SARS eFiling). The tax due on assessment is the difference between the income tax calculated for the individual for the year and the amounts that they’ve paid throughout the year via PAYE and provisional tax**.

**Provisional tax refers to payments made directly to SARS after registering and filing for provisional tax on eFiling. You can read more about provisional tax on this SARS webpage.

All of the above can be shown illustrated as follows:

Please note that SimplePay only assists with the calculation of PAYE and not any of the other income tax collection methods. However, to reduce the amount payable on assessment, employees can opt to pay additional income tax via PAYE. This is done via the Voluntary Tax Over-deduction system item – this is only allowed if there is an agreement between the employee and the employer. More information on Voluntary Tax Over-deductions is available on our help page here.


Not a SimplePay user but want a system that easily calculates your employee’s PAYE and helps you prepare their payslip? SimplePay takes the hassle out of payroll. We offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore the system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. To find out more or to sign up for a trial, click here.

Team SimplePay

Compassionate Leave is now Family Responsibility Leave on SimplePay

Since our inception, we’ve been using the global term ‘Compassionate Leave’ to represent short-term leave taken by employees when a close family member is ill or passes away. This leave type is also referred to as Bereavement Leave in some countries, while South African legislation has called it ‘Family Responsibility Leave’ since 1997 (although Compassionate Leave and Family Responsibility Leave are often still used interchangeably in practice).

Due to increasing queries on the subject, we’re clearing up any confusion by bringing our labelling in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. After all, local is lekker. Compassionate Leave is therefore now labelled as Family Responsibility Leave. Admins can expect to see this change on the system, in reports and on payslips, while employees can expect to see the changes on payslips and in the self-service portal.

Don’t worry, this change does not impact leave balances, leave entitlement or any other aspect of how leave is calculated. As always, SimplePay takes the hassle out of system updates as all changes have automatically been applied to the system. All you need to do is sit back and remember the new lingo on the system.

If you’re an admin user and want more information on Family Responsibility Leave, head to our help article here

Not a SimplePay client but want to record Family Responsibility with ease? SimplePay takes the hassle out of payroll and leave management. We offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore the system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. To find out more or to sign up for a trial, click here

Team SimplePay

Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme

SimplePay is all about providing you with a high quality payroll solution so that paying your employees becomes a breeze. But we realise that when it comes to employee remuneration, processing payroll is only half the story – your ability to employ and pay individuals depends on the success of your business. Today’s blog post is therefore broader than payroll processing and highlights schemes and incentives to help businesses succeed, allowing them to create job opportunities in the process. 

At the Budget 31 conference in July, Productivity SA was presented with a R104 million grant by the UIF for the purposes of promoting employment growth and productivity. The bulk of the grant is being directed towards the Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme (BT & R). We should also point out though that there is more support available for companies at all stages of maturity, such as their Continuous Improvement Services. More information can be found on the Productivity SA website.

What is the Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme?

The BT & R is a programme aimed at intervening to help companies in distress. By working closely with the UIF, CCMA and TERS as strategic partners, Productivity SA aims to turn around companies’ fortunes and put them on a profitable trajectory. The programme will last approximately 9 months for the selected companies. The programme focuses on the following key areas:

  1. Assessing problem areas, managing crises and developing strategies to help turn the company around.
  2. Enhancing company performance through aiding in improvements to marketing, operations, HR and financial strategies.
  3. Educating employees on basic business principles and operations, so that they can understand how their actions impact the entire operational process.
  4. Building capacity and staff training to improve and sustain productivity, long after the intervention.

By doing this, it is hoped that the turnaround programme will:

  1. Improve productivity of company operations and in doing so promote economic and employment growth;
  2. improve operational efficiency to make businesses financially viable and competitive; and
  3. provide productivity measures so the productivity improvement of the workplace can be measured.

You can find a more detailed outline of the BT & R programme on their relevant web page.

What are the Eligibility Criteria?

For your company to be able to partake in the BT & R programme, there are some requirements which are mandatory to qualify, and others which are beneficial but not essential.

Mandatory requirements are:

  • Your company must be in distress or showing decline, as evidenced by income statements, cash flow statements and / or other documents that may prove decline / distress;
  • you must be in good standing with the UIF and SARS, as the UIF is the source of Productivity SA’s funding to run the programme; and
  • there must be a genuine potential or likelihood that intervention will result in making the business profitable.

Whilst not mandatory, it would be beneficial if your company fulfils one or more of the below:

  • Your company employs at least 20 employees.
  • Your company meets one or more of the targets laid out in the Government’s New Growth Plan, Industrial Policy Action Plan or National Infrastructure Plan. These plans are mainly aligned with the manufacturing and industrial sectors.
  • Funding your company would promote black industrialists or entrepreneurs.

How can you Apply?

If the above is of interest you can get more information directly from Productivity SA by emailing them at [email protected]. In response, they should be able to provide you with the application forms required and further details of the programme.

We hope the above information has proved useful to you. If you have any queries on any of the programmes mentioned in this blog, we would recommend that you reach out to Productivity SA. If you have any questions for us, we’d love to hear from you! You can contact us at [email protected].  

Not yet a client of SimplePay? Want to take the effort out of payroll? Why not try our 30 day free trial found on our website, or contact one of our team to find out more?

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Employee Filtering Revamp

SimplePay has always taken a user-orientated approach to payroll. It’s why we focus on two things – building an outstanding product and providing quality customer support. In a nutshell, SimplePay is all about you – our clients! So when the requests came streaming in for an easier way to filter employers, we jumped right on it. Introducing our newly revamped employee filters.

Our new employee filters functionality gives you more options for filtering employees. Depending on what page you’re on, you can filter employees according to pay point, pay frequency or active / inactive status. All pages with filters also let you select employees individually or use the convenient search bar to find specific employees by searching for their name or employee number.

Filters have been added or revamped for the following:

  • Employee list (Under Employees)
  • Employee users (Under Employees > Self-Service)
  • The leave overview calendar (Under Employees > Leave Overview)
  • All bulk action options (Under Employees > Bulk Actions)
  • Bulk finalising payslips (under Pay Runs)
  • All reports (Under Reports)

Finding an employee or selecting only the employees that you need has never been easier! Go check it out and let us know what you think.

Not a SimplePay client but want a payroll system that is all about you, the user? The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore our system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. Sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here.

Team SimplePay

New Process for Company Transfers

At SimplePay, the protection of your data and privacy is of utmost importance to us. With that in mind, we’re changing the way that we do company transfers. Our new 4-step process makes company transfers even more secure and gives you greater control over the process. 

Company transfers involve moving a company from one SimplePay profile to another. Transferring the company will change which profile owns the company on SimplePay and consequently which profile gets billed for the company.

It is important to note the following, which often causes confusion:

  • Ownership of a company on SimplePay is not necessarily related to the actual ownership of a business. When a new company is added to SimplePay, it belongs to the profile that the user was logged into when creating it. For example, a small business may be owned by an entrepreneur, but the company’s payroll is managed by an accounting firm. If the company was added to the accounting firm’s profile, the accounting firm is the owner of the company on SimplePay, even though they are not the owners of the registered business.
  • The need for company transfers must not be confused with the need for different users. If you need to give or revoke an individual’s access to a company, this can be done by adding or removing the individuals as users. (The exception being that you cannot remove the account owner i.e. the user with the email address used to create the profile that owns the company).

The following examples illustrate when company transfers are necessary:

  • A business’s payroll is managed by an accounting firm and the business now wishes to process their own payroll. The company on SimplePay would be transferred from the accounting firm’s profile to the business’s profile.
  • A business is sold. The previous owners should no longer have ownership of the company on SimplePay. The company on SimplePay would need to be transferred from the prior owner’s profile to the new owner’s profile.

If you have determined that a company transfer is necessary, you will need to follow our 4-step process for company transfers, which is outlined in the following help article:

Can I transfer a company to a different profile?

Not a SimplePay client but want to enjoy the benefits of secure payroll? Unfortunately our payroll system is only available to 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. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

Team SimplePay

Repo Rate and Employer Loans Interest Rate Cut

Update 29 July 2020: We have updated the system to reflect the changes to employer loans benefit calculations. All employer loans on payslips dated from 1 August 2020 will make use of the new interest rate. As our system is built to be intuitive, any payslips dated before 1 August 2020 will make use of the previous interest rate.

In a historic, yet somewhat expected announcement, the Monetary Policy Committee has cut the repurchase rate (repo rate) by 25 basis points. This brings the repo rate to an all-time low of 3.50% per annum, effective as from tomorrow (24 July 2020).

The official interest rate, which is used to calculate employer loan benefits, is set at 1% above the repo rate. The new official interest rate will therefore be 4.5% per annum, effective 1 August 2020. Although the change in the repo rate is effective tomorrow, income tax legislation prescribes that changes in the official interest rate only occur at the start of a new month.

Being a SimplePay client means that you’ll benefit from updates to the system without having to install these updates or make any manual changes to your settings. You simply process payroll as normal and our system will use the correct official interest rate for the period of the payslip. Our development team are busy making the necessary system updates for the latest interest rate change and we’ll let you know as soon as they’re ready. This means that you should not yet finalise payslips for August for those employees with outstanding employer loans.

For more information on employer loans, head to our help page.

Not yet a SimplePay client but want to experience seamless payroll no matter what changes in legislation or policy occur? 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. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

Team SimplePay