Self-Service Employee Claim Requests

We love innovating to make payroll simpler and our new self-service employee claims feature does just that.

Our employee self-service option was built to ease the administration burden that comes with payroll:

  • Employees can access historic payslips and tax certificates at any time without having to ask you to send it to them. 
  • Leave requests allow employees to request leave and upload supporting documentation (such as medical certificates), saving you the hassle of having to remember to record leave or follow up with employees for their supporting documentation.
  • Info update requests allow employees to request changes to their basic information, ensuring that you have up-to-date and accurate information for employees.

Our new feature expands self-service to allow employees to submit inputs for the following payslip items:

  • Expense claims
  • Travel allowance
  • Custom items, with the Input Type as “Once-off for specified payslips”, “Different on every payslip”, “Hourly rate * factor * hours” and “Custom rate * quantity”

Employees can enter the amounts that they wish to claim and upload supporting documentation. An approver simply needs to approve the request. It will then be added to the employee’s next draft payslip without the payroll administrator needing to capture any of these payslip amounts. In addition to saving the payroll administrator processing time, it also takes the hassle out of verifying claims, since a separate approver (such as a direct line manager) can be set up for this purpose.

Note: As this is an opt-in feature (for now), you need to request it from our support team, at no additional charge. More information on how this feature works can be found on our help page here.

Not a SimplePay client but want to use our self-service feature? Unfortunately this feature is 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. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

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

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

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

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 Feature: EMP201 Breakdowns and Variances

If you’re managing a business or department, you know the importance of tracking variances and maintaining an audit trail. Similarly, if you manage the submissions to SARS, it is important to be able to track any changes to your payroll which impact your submission and resubmit if necessary. What if there was a way to make these easier? Well now there is! Introducing the expanded EMP201 web view.

In a previous blog post, we introduced the ETI breakdown, accessible from the EMP201 web view. We have now applied the same concept to other areas of the EMP201, with breakdowns available for PAYE, SDL and UIF. 

Each breakdown shows a list of your employees and the total PAYE, SDL or UIF calculated for each employee. 

Remember, you can view the PAYE, SDL and UIF trace for each employee by going to their profile (announced in this blog post).

We have also created a variance feature for months where more than one EMP201 has been generated. Remember, if you make changes to your payslips after your EMP201 is finalised, a new EMP201 is generated so that you have a clear audit trail for resubmitting to SARS if needed. The breakdowns for any updated EMP201s now also show the differences between the PAYE, SDL, UIF and SDL in the updated EMP201 compared to the previous EMP201. The differences are shown per employee and the total difference is shown at the bottom of the breakdown.

We hope you love this new functionality and the benefits that it provides.

Need more information? The following help articles may be useful:

Not a SimplePay client? The EMP201 form and all functionality covered in this blog post and on our help site 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. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

Team SimplePay

Gross Remuneration Override for UI-19

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked swiftly to bring you solutions to new payroll challenges that arose. One of these was the introduction of the pre-populated individual UI-19 form (announced here), saving you the inconvenience of having to fill out these forms manually. We’ve now introduced an override option for the Total (Gross) Per Month field, so you can further tailor the form to your employees’ circumstances, if necessary.

The Total (Gross) Per Month should contain the value of the employee’s regular remuneration subject to UIF, and as such, the field is pre-populated with the gross remuneration earned by the employee in the month prior to the month of termination. This is because remuneration from the month of termination is often distorted, due to pro-rata earnings, leave paid out, severance pay and other transactions that arise as a result of termination. The prior month’s earnings therefore have a higher probability of accurately reflecting the employee’s regular earnings. 

To cater for employees whose earnings fluctuate frequently or whose month prior to termination was abnormal, the new override option gives you the flexibility to enter the gross remuneration that best reflects the average earnings of the employee. You can make use of the payslip items on the Transaction History Report generated by SimplePay or the Income Subject to UIF in the UIF Trace (outlined under the UIF Contributions heading here) when determining this figure. Alternatively, you can contact the UIF if you are uncertain.

To make use of the override option, follow these steps:

  • Click on Manage End of Service for an employee whose service has already been terminated on the system
  • Under Service Period History, click on Termination Certificate Inputs
  • Enter the monthly remuneration amount into the Override Gross Remuneration (UI-19) field
  • Click Save

It’s that simple! The individual UI-19 form will now reflect the gross remuneration that you entered.

For more information on terminations, the following help articles are available:

If these help articles do not solve your query and you need further assistance, please reach out to our support team.

Not a SimplePay client? All of the forms and functionality covered in this blog post and on our help site 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. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

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].