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

TERS for Foreign Employees and OID Comp Return of Earnings

The blog today has an update for you on the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) relief, and its annual return of earnings. Additionally, we have received a clarification for employers who applied to COVID-19 TERS for their foreign workers.

Foreign Workers: COVID-19 TERS

It has become apparent that foreign employees who have been enrolled for the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) have had their applications rejected. This appears to be due to the TERS system not being able to recognise passport numbers. If this is the case for you and your foreign employees have not received payment, you must simply submit proof to the UIF of the employee’s contributions to UIF, where they shall then process the payments on their side.

For each foreign employee who has not been counted in the scheme, you need to send:

  1. The employee’s UI 19 Form (Information on where to find this can be found on our help site page, linked here).
  2. The consolidated UI 19 Form, submitted monthly by the employer.
  3. Proof of payroll for the period between January to March 2020. This could be met by the UI 19 form mentioned in point 2, but to be safe we would recommend payslips for the employee also.

All of the above information needs to be sent to [email protected].

Return of Earnings Submission Deadline

In our previous blog on 11 March, we informed you that the deadline for completing your Return of Earnings, or W.As.8, was pushed back from 31 March to 31 May. We can now inform you that this date has been pushed back further still to 30 June 2020.

Relief Measures in Light of COVID-19

To help lessen the financial burden on employers during this period of economic uncertainty, and to encourage compliance with COIDA, the Compensation Fund has announced the following measures:

1. Normally, late payment of assessment results in penalties and interest accruing until the amount is settled. The Compensation Fund has announced an exemption from penalties and interest for a 6 month period, between 29 April and 30 September 2020. 

Note: This does not alter any amounts due, it merely exempts employers from penalties and interest for overdue payments of assessment for the period.

2. For employers partaking in an instalments arrangement, the standard requirement of an upfront 20% deposit has been lifted.

If you wish to partake in an instalment arrangement, you can do this by sending a request to [email protected]

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

CF Registration

In our last blog post, we informed you that the Compensation Fund is in the process of modernising its system, with the aim of developing an integrated online platform for clients. The first phase of the project involves developing a claims management system.

Registration

All users will need to be registered to be able to access this online platform. To register, you will first need the documents listed in the next section. You will then be able to do the following:

  • Pre-registration: You can submit all documents to [email protected] or your nearest Department of Labour office before the 25 September to pre-register for the system before it goes live. You will then have access to the system in the role that you applied for as soon as it goes live.
  • Regular registration: If you choose not to pre-register, you can register on the system after 1 October 2019. Please note that access is not immediately granted as the information supplied is first required to go through the vetting process.

Documents needed for registration

  • Company / Organisation registration document
  • ID document of the director(s) in the registration document
  • Certified ID or passport copy of the user who will be transacting
  • Approved User Application Form (provided)
  • Health Practice Registration Certificate from BHF, where the Health Provider is the primary users. It must have an ID number to prove that it belongs to Health Provider.
  • Proof of address for all primary users.
  • Power of Attorney letter for all users. It must be on the company letterhead, whose details correspond with the registration document.
  • PERSAL employee report (exempted employers)

Team SimplePay

Increased COIDA Threshold

The Minister of Labour announced in Government Gazette No. 42092 that there would be an increase in the OID earnings threshold
under Section 83 (8) of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act no. 130 of 1993).

As from 1 March 2019, the maximum amount on which an assessment of an employer shall be calculated on will be R458 520.

This change has been made effective in your OID report on SimplePay. To access this report, go to Filing > OID (Workman’s Comp) Return.

When downloading the report for the tax year ending 28-02-2019, the threshold of R430 944 for 2018/2019 will be displayed as the 2019 tax year cap, while the new threshold of R458 520 will be displayed under the 2020 tax year cap.

When downloading the report for the tax year ending 28-02-2020, both caps will be displayed as R458 520, as the cap for 2020/2021 has not yet been announced.

Team SimplePay