State of the Nation Address: 11 November 2020

On Wednesday evening (11 November 2020), our President once again took to the stage to address the nation on how the country is faring against the global pandemic. Whilst the coronavirus remains a real and present threat, the overall tone of the speech was to get the economy back up to running at full capacity. Therefore, if you have concerns about how a potential second lockdown will affect your business, this hopefully provides some reassurance.

In addition to addressing how the Government intends to proceed, there were some more specific and relevant points to pick out of the speech. Here are some of the points that we thought were worth blogging about.

TERS

We can’t remember the last working days that TERS hasn’t come up in some capacity, but the President announced that the final period that TERS will run is for 15 September to 15 October 2020. 

For all the frustration that this scheme has caused you (and us!) it has been a vital lifeline to many over the past eight (8) months. We hope that this news of its conclusion has come to you at a point where your business has sufficiently recovered.

The UIF has not communicated anything further on the opening date for applications  or whether there are any changes to the requirements, but we shall do our best to inform you as and when we know.

State of National Disaster

To be able to react to hotspots of the coronavirus, the state of national disaster has been extended once again until 15 December 2020. 

As stated in our previous blog post, there is a possibility for TERS to run as long as South Africa remains under a state of national disaster, but the President’s speech suggests that instead the relevant Minister will announce the conclusion of TERS to be 15 October 2020.

COVID-19 Social Grant

The Government’s social relief of distress grant helps individuals who are unemployed and do not receive any other type of income or grant, such as TERS or UIF benefits. This was due to conclude in October, but has now been extended until January 2021. More information on the grant can be found here.

Respect for Those Lost to Coronavirus

As a gesture of respect and solidarity to the individuals, families and friends who have lost someone to coronavirus, the Cabinet has suggested that the nation embark on 5 days of mourning for the victims of COVID-19. Between 25 and 29 November, you are encouraged to wear a black armband or similar token to signify respect for those who have departed. 

We hope that this information has been 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]

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Year in Review and Price Adjustment

As 2019 (and the decade) draws to a close, we’d like to thank you for choosing SimplePay as your payroll software provider. We really value the loyalty, ideas, feedback and love that we get from you, our clients.

We would also like to take this opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and share some important information with you. 

In January, our annual price adjustment will come into effect. As always, this will be an inflationary-related increase, which allows us to maintain the quality of our product and the service that we offer. Our current prices are available here – we will send out a notice in January to alert you of the new prices.

When looking back on 2019, it was certainly a year of growth for our team, which led to the fantastic accomplishment of being nominated as a Xero App Partner of the Year. Some of the major features and functions that we accomplished were:

  • Custom items based on system items, and the subsequent expansion of this feature
  • Custom employee fields in Basic Info
  • A new leave days report
  • Customisation of employee self-service
  • Bulk actions for once-off payslips and overriding payslip end dates
  • Leave expiration
  • QuickBooks integration upgrade
  • Automatic logout for idle accounts

In 2020, you can expect the team to continue striving to enhance your payroll experience. As always, all added features are completely free for all and do not change the monthly fee that you pay.

From all of us here at SimplePay, have a joyful festive season. We are looking forward to a great 2020 together!

Team SimplePay

Change in Tax Rules for Bargaining Council Funds

As of 1 March 2019, all contributions made by employers to funds provided by Bargaining Councils should be treated as a fringe benefit and are therefore subject to tax. These funds include, but are not limited to sick and holiday funds for employees that belong to the Bargaining Council. Note that if the fund administered by the Bargaining Council is a retirement fund, the taxation rules for retirement funds that are effective from 1 March 2016 (and that provide for a tax deduction to reduce the taxable benefit value) are applied.

In some instances, both you (the employer) and the employee contribute to the fund. The taxable fringe benefit is equal to your contribution and should now be reported on the IRP5/IT3(a) under the following new codes:

  • 4584: Employer contributions to a Bargaining Council Fund
  • 3833: Taxable benefit iro Employer contributions to a Bargaining Council Fund

Employee-paid contributions do not impact PAYE (they are not tax deductible) and therefore are not reported.

What action do you need to take?

If you set up these contributions using a Custom Employer Contribution item, you need to update this custom item on your payroll or Bargaining Council template to a Custom Benefit item.  This will ensure that the contribution is treated as a taxable fringe benefit.

A new checkbox has been added which allows you to indicate that the Custom Benefit item is a Bargaining Council Item. This ensures that the new tax codes are applied to the custom item.

If you have many companies and need to automate this process, please get in touch with our Support team to discuss possible solutions.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Team SimplePay