New Feature: Bulk Assign Leave Policies

Happy new year! We hope that 2021 brings you new opportunities, improved performance and overall success in all your endeavours. As always, we’ll support you with an efficient and effective payroll system. We’re kicking off the new year with a brand new feature – you can now assign leave policies to employees in bulk.

SimplePay’s leave functionality allows you to set a company default leave policy for all employees that are added to the system. You can then assign a different leave policy to employees if they are not on the default policy. Being able to assign leave policies now in bulk saves you time if you have many employees who are not on the company default policy. It is also useful for companies who do not have a single company default policy, but rather separate policies per pay point or pay frequency.

Once you have created your leave policies, you can assign them in bulk as follows:

  • Go to Employees > Bulk Actions
  • Click on Entitlement Policies under the Leave heading
  • Use the filters to select only those employees that are part of a specific pay point or pay frequency
  • Use the drop-down menus to allocate the leave policies for each leave type for each employee on the page. If all employees on the page are on the same policy, use the Copy first value down option to save you time.
  • Click Save

It’s as simple as that. For more information on leave management and bulk leave actions, refer to the following pages:

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

TERS Updates for September October Applications

Update 1 December 2020: Minister Nxesi has announced that the September / October TERS period will be the last of the scheme. To read the Government Gazette, follow this link.

Hello and welcome to another TERS update blog post. Our information today is taken from the UIF’s most recent update letters, which announced a post-verification audit and highlighted an issue with some applications for the most recent application period. You can read more about the 16 September to 15 October TERS application period in this recent blog post

Post Verification Audit

The UIF has announced that audits of the TERS process will begin from 1 December 2020 and will last for an estimated period of six (6) months. The audits are to be completed by a number of named companies with expertise in this area. This is in line with the Memorandum of Agreement you signed to be able to partake in the TERS scheme.

The UIF requests that you keep at least the following information readily available in hard or electronic format in case you are contacted:

  • UIF COVID TERS application pack 
    • There should be an application pack for each period which you applied to, containing the documents which you submitted;
  • Bank statements relating to your COVID TERS application(s);
  • Each employee’s HR file;
  • *Payroll report from 1 January 2020 to July 2020;*
  • Proof of payment to your employees; and
  • Proof of any refunds to the UIF (if applicable).

*Thankfully, by using SimplePay all of your payroll information is in one centralised location! We hope that this helps you with any prospective bookkeeping which may follow.

NOTE: The information listed above contains personally sensitive information for both you and your employees. Because of this we would recommend that you verify the credentials of anyone who may contact you in this respect.

Issue with SOME September / October TERS Applications

The UIF has announced that some applications received for the 16 September to 15 October period, submitted before 10AM on Wednesday 25 November 2020 did not meet their system’s requirements. As a result, they have been rejected and if this applies to you, you will need to resubmit. The UIF won’t notify you if you fall within this set of applications, so if in any doubt you should check your application status.

This issue does not apply if you applied using SimplePay’s CSV, but if you have made applications manually, this may affect the employees for whom this was done. 

Whether you submitted via CSV or manually, we recommend you log in to your TERS profile and look for the September / October applications in the Saved Employees section. If your applications appear then your submission is deemed to be correct and you don’t need to resubmit. 

If you cannot find your applications for the September / October period, you must resubmit for your employees to receive TERS benefits for this period.

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 check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Password Protected Payslips Are Here!

Gone are the days of employees only being able to receive printed versions of their payslips. Accessing payslips is easier than ever before with our mobile app and self-service portal, and companies have the option of attaching payslips to the emails that are sent to employees when payslips are released to self-service.

We’ve recently seen an increase in requests for password protecting the payslips that are sent via email. Although an employee’s email inbox should be protected with a secure password, we understand that problems can arise where an incorrect email address is entered for an employee, or if an employee leaves their email inbox open and unattended. We took your concerns to heart and are delighted to announce that this feature is now available.

To enable passwords for payslips:

  • Go to Employees > Self-Service > Settings > General
  • Ensure that the checkbox for Attach payslips to emails on Self-Service release is selected
  • Select the Enable password protection for attached payslips (using employee identity numbers or birthdates checkbox
  • Click Save

All payslips sent via email will now be password protected. The password used will be the employee’s identity (ID) number, or where no ID number is available, their date of birth.

Please note that the password is based on the information available at the time of the email being sent. Therefore, changes to an employee’s ID number or date of birth will only impact payslips sent via email after the change and not historic ones.

We hope that this new feature gives you peace of mind over the security of payslip information.

To learn more about emailing payslips to employees, head to our help page here.

Not a SimplePay client? Surprised to hear that payslips can be accessed via a self-service portal and a mobile app? Sign up for our free 30-day trial here and see just how simple payroll can be!

Team SimplePay

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

ETI Refresher and Employer Reconciliation Recap

The calendar’s page has been turned over to November, which means that for the vast majority of you, the interim filing season is done and dusted! Our blog post today contains a refresher on ETI balances and the effect of tax periods on them, in addition to a polite reminder for any clients still to complete their filing.

Carrying Forward Unutilised ETI 

You may remember that as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19, ETI was adapted to increase both the number of eligible employees and the amount claimable per employee. Due to the scheme’s increased uptake, we thought it would be helpful to give you a brief refresher of some important points.

Under the rules that govern ETI, if your total ETI for a certain month is greater than your overall PAYE liability, you can have the balance rolled over to the following month(s). This roll-over is only allowed within any one six (6) month tax period – March to August and September to February, after which any unutilised ETI which you haven’t claimed as a payout from SARS is forfeited. As the extended COVID-19 ETI ran for the months of April to July 2020, these all fell within the last bi-annual filing period of March to August. Therefore, from August the usual roll over rules applied, meaning that any unutilised ETI is not rolled over, but should rather be claimed as a refund from SARS.

SARS has stated that despite the challenging circumstances brought about by the pandemic, these rules stand and that any ETI balance that you may have held will not be extended beyond the 31 August cut-off point. Despite this support measure no longer being available, we hope that the lesser restrictions means your business continues to regain a sure footing.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of correct and timely ETI submissions and claims, as the penalties for non-compliance can be severe. For more details, check out our ETI help pages.

Filing Reminder

Having gotten through another interim filing period, we hope that our continued endeavours to make payroll a breeze has made this filing season the smoothest yet for you! If you have not yet filed your EMP501 and IRP5 / IT3(a)s, the deadline was the end of October. We urge you to complete your filing as soon as possible, as the sooner you do this, the lesser the prospective penalty for late submission. If your EMP501 remains outstanding for several months, you could face a maximum penalty of 10% of the total amount of your employee’s tax deducted for the 2021 tax year.

If we can assist at all, please reach out to our support team who will assist you as best they can in resolving any issues you are facing with submission.

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 check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS: Updates and Clarifications

The blog post today is aimed at trying to provide some much needed clarity on the TERS process. These changes, as outlined in a recent UIF update letter, were first introduced in our blog post from 5 October. The content of this blog post is taken from and summarises the UIF’s official update letter dated 14 October, sent to all employers.

Our post today covers:

  1.  how to determine salary and remuneration paid on applications;
  2.  the finer details of the bank verification step;
  3.  an update on foreign national applications; and
  4.  a reminder of how to end service on SimplePay.

1.a – How to Determine the Correct Monthly Salary to Declare

The monthly salary column of your TERS CSV, should reflect the aggregate of the wage and fringe benefits you pay to each of your employees. As SimplePay pre-populates this column, provided your employee’s salary information is correct, there’s nothing further to worry about. It is worth noting that if this value is not accurate, the UIF has introduced a new verification step.

The UIF is cross referencing the “taxable earnings” value for your employees’ March 2020 uFiling submission, in order to ensure that salaries are not inflated. If the values differ, the lower value will be used for the calculation of TERS benefits.

This is not a retrospective change, meaning it will only be applied to applications that have been processed from 3 September onwards. The change will though apply to all applications past this date, regardless of the lockdown period to which they relate. Unfortunately, even if you had legitimate reasons for increasing an employee’s salary, there is no way to apply to receive the higher sum that this would yield. 

1.b – What is the Correct Value for Remuneration?

To answer this question, it helps to take one step back. An employee is entitled to TERS benefits where he or she earns a reduced salary due to:

  • business closure;
  • comorbidities (an illness which puts the employee at an increased risk);
  • reduced working hours; or
  • having to take a temporary reduction of salary due to operational requirements.

Any of your employees satisfying the above can receive TERS benefits. Importantly though, where your employees receive remuneration in addition to TERS benefits for any given period, this needs to be recorded. This is because the aggregate of the TERS payment, plus the reduced remuneration paid by you cannot be greater than the amount the employee would ordinarily earn. Because of this, it’s important you know what falls under remuneration.

The UIF has clarified that all amounts / payslip components that would normally count as remuneration are included, except for loans, advances and payments related to leave taken.

2. Bank Verification

As part of the improvements to the TERS process, bank verification steps have been introduced. To help avoid delays it is important that you provide correct banking information. 

Some of the most common reasons for the failure of bank verification include:

  • The incorrect Personal ID number is used. This should be that of the bank account holder. If it is a joint account, you should ensure that it is the primary holder’s ID used.
  • If the bank account is held in a trade name, it is important that it matches the bank account’s name. 
    • If the bank account includes special characters, these should be used
    • Do not include any “t/a” sections of the bank account information
    • If the account’s name is in Afrikaans, this is how it should appear

Single Bank Account for Several UIF Entities

If you have several companies that pay into one bank account and you wish to claim TERS benefits to all the employees of the different companies, you will need to use the “Trade Name Verification” option to verify these UIF entities.

On the TERS portal, you will need to change all of your companies’ names to match the company name stated on the bank account. This will mean that you will have more than one UIF entity with the same name on the TERS portal, but also allows you to apply for benefits for all employees.

If you are at all unsure about this we would encourage you to get in touch with the UIF on 0800 030 007.

3. Foreign Nationals Update

The UIF has said that it’s currently working with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the foreign nationals. No payments will be made until the UIF has verified individuals’ identities, but it hopes it will manage this within the next fortnight.

Foreign nationals must be declared via uFiling, regardless of whether you submitted their declarations to the UIF using SimplePay.

How To Change Existing Applications

If you now realise that there’s an issue with one or more of your applications, this can be done using the UIF’s discrepancy function. Corrections can only be made once per employee, per application period so it’s crucial that you make the amendments carefully and accurately.

The discrepancy functionality is open for claims made up to and including the July / August application period, and will open in due course for the later lockdown periods.

How To End Service on SimplePay

It is important to correctly reflect your employees’ current working status on SimplePay for several reasons. Having this information allows:

  • SimplePay to provide you with accurate auto filled TERS CSVs;
  • you to make correct submissions to SARS;
  • Your employees to claim UIF where necessary; and 
  • Reduces your monthly charge to the number of active employees

To allow for SimplePay to provide you with accurate auto filled TERS CSVs, make correct submissions to SARS and reduce your monthly premium to an appropriate amount, it is important to correctly reflect your employees’ current status on SimplePay.

For a reminder of how to end an employee’s service on SimplePay, you can read this previous blog post.

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 free? 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 try 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

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

Claims Request Expanded to Include Employee Hours Worked

Last month we brought you a new feature that allows employees to submit certain claims via the self-service portal (refer to our 6 August blog post). We have now expanded this functionality to include Basic Salary inputs for hourly paid employees.

Hourly paid employees can now submit their hours worked for the month*, which will then need to be approved by the approver for claims. Once approved, it will automatically be added to the next draft payslip for the employee.

As with all types of requests, employees and approvers can attach supporting documentation (in this instance, it may be a signed time sheet) or leave comments.

*Note: Payroll administrators will first need to allow Basic Salary inputs via self-service before this option is available to employees.

For more information on this functionality, refer to the following help article:

Employee Claim Requests

Not a SimplePay client? Our self-service portal allows employees to view payslips and tax certificates, update their personal information and submit leave and claims for payslip items. It’s one of the many features that makes payroll with SimplePay so easy. Not convinced? We offer a free 30 day trial that lets you try out our system to see if it suits your payroll needs. You can sign up for the trial here.

Team SimplePay