Ending Service on SimplePay

One of the many tragic results of the COVID-19 pandemic is the adverse effect that it has had on businesses, resulting in the need to reduce staff complements, close divisions or cease trading entirely. We realise the importance of receiving clear guidelines during such difficult and confusing times. This blog post, therefore, aims to provide clarity on how to manage your SimplePay account should you find yourself in one of these unfortunate circumstances.

Employees Leaving your Company

Ending Employees Service

If for any reason, one or more of your employees are no longer able to work for your business, whether only for a period of time or indefinitely, it is important to end their service on SimplePay for the following reasons:

  1. Ending employees’ service correctly provides them access to accrued unemployment insurance (UIF) benefits or TERS benefits.
  2. SimplePay’s pricing model is based on the number of active employees on the system at the start of your monthly billing cycle. Therefore, if the employee is still active on the system when your invoice is generated, you will be charged for the employee even if no payslips have been processed for that employee. 

Information on ending an employee’s service is detailed in this help article, including steps to follow, the end service checklist and which UIF status code to use.

If you have several employees whom you have to end service for, you can do this in bulk, as detailed in this blog.

If you are ending employees’ service in order to apply for TERS benefits for them, the correct UIF status code to use is given in the COVID-19 UIF Quick Reference Guide.

What Must be Provided to Employees Upon Ending Their Service

Having ended an employee’s service, there are a number of forms which you must provide them with. SimplePay generates the following forms on your behalf, saving you the added paperwork (click on the link for each for further information): 

More information on these forms can also be found in the COVID-19 UIF Quick Reference Guide. By furnishing employees with the above forms, this means that if you are not participating in the TERS scheme, employees can claim UIF benefits. For information on how to assist employees in this process, refer to this help page.

If whilst still under your employ, an ex-employee was sent invoice emails from SimplePay, the billing email list needs to be amended. To do this, click on the Profile Icon > Billing > Update Billing preferences and remove the relevant billing email(s). 

The final thing which you must check before your employees can claim UIF is that you are up to date with UIF declarations and payments. SimplePay has recently released several new features to ensure that you have all the information you could possibly need. As detailed in our blogs you can now download submissions, responses and view reasons for any error responses, allowing you to correct any issues that may have arisen. 

If you pay your and your employees’ UIF contributions directly across to SARS, SimplePay automatically details the UIF amounts owed in the generated monthly EMP201s. If adhered to, this should mean that you are not in any arrears. 

By following the above, this should result in a smooth transition and lessen the stress for all parties involved.

Shutdown of Business

Lockdown or other reasons might mean you sadly need to close your business on a temporary or permanent basis. Your intention on whether to reopen your business or not determines the appropriate actions to take.

Closing For A Period of Time

If it becomes necessary to close your business, but you intend to reopen, you should end the service for all employees and provide them with the necessary forms (as detailed above). 

As you are charged per active employee, ending the service for your workforce means that you will not be billed until they become active again.

Permanent Business Closure

In the unfortunate event that you need to close your business permanently, the following steps  need to be followed:

  1. End Service for Employees and Furnish Them with Forms – as described under “Employees Leaving Your Company” (above), the employees’ service should be ended and they should be provided with the forms to facilitate claims for UIF benefits.
  2. Deactivate Admin Users on your Account – if you have provided administrative privileges of your company to any ex-employees, we would recommend that these are deactivated upon ending their service. To do this, click on the profile in the top right corner > Manage Users >Delete. Should you wish for an ex-employee to retain access, you can leave their access rights unamended.
  3. (Optional) Remove the Company From SimplePay – If you wish you can delete your company from SimplePay. We strongly recommend against this as it will mean you no longer have access to information assimilated on SimplePay, which might come in useful e.g. should you have any documents requested from SARS. If you wish to delete the company details of how to can be found here

Closing User Account on SimplePay

It may be the case that you have come to the decision to close your account on SimplePay. If you are sure that this is the right decision for you and there is nothing we can do to change your mind, you will need to do the following:

  1. Get in touch with SimplePay at [email protected] and request they close your account. It would be greatly appreciated if in this email you include:
    1. The reason(s) for ending your SimplePay membership
    2. Method of payment used (direct debit / EFT etc.)

N.B.  SimplePay provides you with the option of freezing your account, meaning you can still access SimplePay for three months. This provides you with ample opportunity to ensure that there is not any information that you need which is still on SimplePay.  If though, you are certain that you have all the information you need, you can also opt to close your account with immediate effect.

  1. If there are any outstanding sums, these must be paid. If you are not in a position to do so, please advise us of this so that our billing team can engage with you on the best course of action.

We appreciate that this must be an extremely stressful and turbulent situation for you, with many hard decisions to make. If this is the end of your use of SimplePay, thank you for the support. We wish you well and hope that we will get the opportunity to work symbiotically with you again in the not-so-distant future. Should you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Update on TERS May Applications and June Applications Now Live

You may have noticed it’s been a while since we have had a blog with the word TERS in the title. This is a good thing! This is a reflection of how the process has been streamlined and clarified through the hard work of the UIF. This blog therefore aims to provide a consolidatory recap on some of the questions which remained outstanding since our last blog on TERS.

Application Process for May

As we’re sure you are aware, the application process for May is much the same as the process was for April, being made via the online portal at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19

The Department of Employment and Labour has released a TERS May 2020 Applications – Application Guide (Application Guide), which provides you with a step by step guide on how to Apply for May. Additionally there is an attached FAQ for common problems experienced during the process.

Applicants Reapplying in May, Having Received TERS Benefits for April

If you are reapplying for TERS benefits for your employees, having received TERS benefits for them for April, you simply need to follow the instructions laid out in the Application Guide (linked above).

One point to note is that in step 7 of the guide, if you select Yes to both questions one and two, then the system will re-submit your application for April (but with the altered date range). This can lead to errors. Even if you think the above is correct, we would advise you to submit a new application and attach a new CSV, lessening the chance of errors.

Having uploaded your new CSV, you can submit and that’s it! your application is filed!

Applicants Reapplying in May, Having Not Received TERS Benefits for April

Although the UIF has made significant inroads into the backlog of April Applications, there are still a limited number of unpaid applicants. If you have not received any payment for any of your employees for April, the last FAQ in the  Application Guide would suggest that you nonetheless can apply. Unfortunately, it is not stated what you should put in place of the proof of payment to employees, under step 6 of the Application Guide. We would imagine that, similar to entities applying for the first time in May, you can substitute proof of payment with a letter in the format prescribed in step 6. We would though recommend you verify this with the TERS call centre on 0800 030 007.

If some of your employees have received TERS benefits in April, but you are still awaiting payment for some, you can continue to apply for all of the employees for May. When the employees who are yet to receive TERS payments, do get payment, proof of payment can be sent to [email protected].

Points of Note for Applicants in Non-standard Situations

Applicants Applying in May for the First Time

Note: You will first need to register. This can be done at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/, by clicking on Register. The steps which should be followed are the same as in the Application Guide, save for what’s mentioned below.

At the opening of May Applications, employers wanting to apply for the first time in May encountered the problem that they were unable to provide proof of payment of benefits for April (Step 6 of the Application Guide).

The UIF has now put forward a solution. Employers who have not applied for April relief must attach a signed letter, on a company letterhead, confirming that they did not apply in April. This needs to be signed by the director or CFO of the company and attached in PDF format under “Signed Proof of Acceptance Letter”.

In step 7 you should select No to both questions and the shutdown date range should reflect the date range your operations were totally or partially closed for this period. After clicking PROCEED, you can fill in the staff for which you wish to claim. SimplePay provides a TERS CSV download, saving you the arduous task of inputting all employees manually. More information can be found on our related help page, linked here.

Extra Info

Advance Payments – Setting Off 

Due to the quantity of applications and number of possible reasons for delay, it is likely that TERS benefits are not always released to employees in timely, periodic instalments. This can clearly create all manner of difficulties for your employees.

To address this issue, if employers are able, they can advance money less than or equal to the TERS benefit amount to their employees, then set off this money when the TERS benefits are disbursed. The same principle applies for if it was agreed between the employer and employee that they would take annual leave, the sums the employer paid can be set off, provided the employee regains their leave entitlement.

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].

TERS Applications for the Month of June

The UIF has announced that TERS applications for June are now open. To date there have been no new documents released for June applications, so we assume that the information provided above for May is also relevant to June applications. If you wish to verify this, we would recommend contacting the COVID-19 TERS hotline on 0800 030 007.

Keep well and stay safe,

Team SimplePay

Support for the Tourism and Industrial Sectors

Update 14 April: Further information on the application process for the Tourism Relief Fund

Support for Tourism Industry

Please note: The information provided in this blog is correct at the time of writing, but as this is an unprecedented and ever-changing situation, we will do our best to ensure we keep ourselves and our clients up to date. Please check back regularly for updates – we may also notify you of these by email and system notifications.

In light of the constraints put upon the tourism and hospitality sectors in order to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19, the Department for Tourism has been granted an additional R200 million to assist Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) in these sectors. This relief is provided in addition to the other support opportunities that non tourism specific SMMEs can take advantage of. Details of general SMME relief schemes can be found in our previous blog on Support for Businesses.

The Tourism Relief Fund will be allocated to SMMEs across all 9 provinces and various tourism sub-sectors, providing a once off grant of up to R50,000 per company. To be considered, an application must be submitted by 31 May 2020. A degree of preference will be given in favour of rural areas, townships, women, young people and people with disabilities.

Funding will be balanced between both businesses which are supported by programs, such as the tourism incentive program, and businesses that are not benefiting from any programs. This will be done via the prospective application process.

Businesses can apply if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Accommodation: Hotels; Resort properties and Bed and Breakfast (B&B’s)
  • Hospitality and Related Services: Restaurants (not attached to hotels); Conference (not attached to hotels), Professional catering; Attractions
  • Travel and Related Services: Tour operators; Travel agents; Tourist guides; Car rental companies; and Coach Operators.

Qualifying Criteria

In order to be eligible to apply for funding, the following criteria must be met:

  • Formally registered business with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
  • Turnover must be below R2.5 million per year.
  • Have a valid tax clearance certificate or PIN.
  • Proof of minimum wage compliance.
  • Provide proof of UIF registration for employees employed by the business.
  • Be an existing tourism-specific establishment as outlined in the scope of application; this being falling within the sub-sectors of Accommodation Establishments, Hospitality and Travel Related services, as mentioned above (suppliers and intermediaries are not eligible).
  • Must be in existence for at least one business financial year.
  • Prove that the relief is required as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
  • Must submit statements of financial position; this can be done via balance sheet, income statements, cash flow statements.
  • 6 months’ bank statements need to be submitted.
  • Indicate the intended use of the grant.

How to Apply

The application process can be done by following the following steps:

  1. Go to www.tourism.gov.za
  2. Either complete the application form on the website, or download the application form and complete it. *Every section of the application form must be completed in order to be considered.
  3. If you have completed the application online, you must provide send the supporting documents via email; or alternatively if you have downloaded the application form, send this along with the specified documents to [email protected]
  4. You will receive an automated response

Required Documentation

Alongside the application form, here is a list from 14 April of documents required:

  • Registrations certificate issued by CIPC
  • Certified ID copies of the Directors/Members
  • 6 months banks statements
  • Latest annual financial statements – income, cash flow and financial position
  • Business profile, being 2-5 pages maximum
  • Relevant industry certification – depending on business focus area
  • Latest UIF/U-filing contribution certificate
  • Tax clearance certificate or pin
  • Proof of compliance with minimum wage requirements
  • Grading certificate or proof of application to be graded
  • Certificate of B-BEE or Affidavit
  • Proof of UIF registration for employees employed by the business
  • Medical certificate for persons with disabilities where applicable

Upon submission, the Department of Tourism aims to process each application within 30 working days and successful applications should receive funds within 7 working days after approval. This relief is only available to South African citizens. 

Should you have any further queries there is a dedicated line provided by the Tourism Services call centre on 0860 868747. Additional information can also be found on the Department for Tourism web page, or the South African Tourism site.

Support for Industrial Sector Businesses

IDC COVID-19 Essential Supplies Intervention

In Ebrahim Patel’s speech on behalf of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, he mentioned a package of more than R3 million to help aid the industrial sector. This package, put together by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is aimed at addressing the situation of vulnerable firms and to fast-track financing for companies critical to the efforts to fight the virus and its economic impact.

If your company has been effected in one of the following ways, you could apply for funding:

  • Supply chain interruptions ​
  • Access to raw materials – cost and quality ​
  • Access to markets – perishable products lost in transit due to longer delivery periods​
  • Working capital disruptions – longer lead times ​
  • Market loss – e.g. export markets constrained by logistics or replaced by production
  • Surge of imports to address the spike in demand​
  • Underperforming budgets – impact of extended downtime ​
  • Reduced Productivity – employees wellbeing: physical and psychological ​

Applications can be made on the IDC website and the qualifying criteria and documents required can be found within this document.

Working Capital Support

R700 million has been earmarked to suppliers of identified critical goods that are affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. Funding will be provided to companies for the acquisition and/or manufacturing of essential supplies on an urgent basis. A list of the relevant supplies to date is listed here for ease of reference:

  • Bulk supplies of disinfectants and sanitizers;
  • Accredited masks;
  • Accredited test-kits;
  • Medical Gloves;
  • Packaging (bottles, caps, pumps, sachets etc);
  • Sanitisers (hand or industrial);
  • Toilet Paper, Wipes, Tissue Paper, Sanitary Pads;
  • Cleaning materials;
  • Chemicals;
  • Approved drugs;
  • Ventilators and filters;
  • Nebulisers and nebulising agents;
  • Hospital beds;
  • Oxygen;
  • Aprons;
  • Safety Visors;
  • Raw materials to manufacture essential products;
  • Urgent regulatory and compliance testing of products or treatments if required.
  • Products for care of babies and toddlers;
  •   Personal toiletries, including haircare, body and face wash, roll-ons, deodorants, toothpaste

Even if the items your company produces is not on the list, it may be in the future as the list is constantly being updated. Alternatively, if your company has a track record of making comparable products, then you may still be able to secure funding, provided that your company is capable of delivering on the contract in terms of capacity, resources and experience.

As above, the application can be made on the IDC website and the Qualifying criteria and documents required can be found within this document.

A useful page for sector specific support, post investment support and the IDC’s corporate social investments can be found here

What Funding is Available?

There are various forms of funding available under the scheme, but each is limited to a 3 month term. Examples of the instruments available include:

  • Short term loan for once off- contract or import funding
  • Revolving Credit Facility
  • Guarantees to banks for banking facilities, imports, ordering requirements

IDC loans are made at a rate of prime +1% and Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Program (MCEP) loans are available at prime +2.5%. Guarantees are made at a flat rate of 2%.

To reiterate, applications can be made on the IDC website, here.

NOTE: You may find it useful to reach out to the incentives you believe may be relevant to you, as listed in this document. They will likely be able to give further guidance on your applicability for the various schemes available.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

COVID-19 Lockdown – Support For Business

Update 3 April:A resource which may be of use to you is the “Disaster Management Tax Relief FAQ’s”, created by SARS. Contents of note within this document are:

  • An outline of the requirements to be able to claim employee’s tax relief
  • An outline of the expansions made to the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)
  • A worked example of how the 20% PAYE tax deferral will work

Please note that there is also information on provisional tax deferral. We regret to inform you that this is beyond our scope of services and so we are not able to assist with this scheme.

Please note: The information provided in this blog is correct at the time of writing, but as this is an unprecedented and ever-changing situation, we will do our best to ensure we keep ourselves and our clients up to date. Please check back regularly for updates – we will also notify you of these by email and system notifications.

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]

Update 31 March: Link added to the COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme.

As mentioned in our previous blog, which outlined the various support options for employers with respect to their employees, there are also a number of Government initiatives being implemented to help support businesses through the lockdown period.

In this blog, we will provide a brief overview on schemes that could provide support to businesses in general, but also for businesses working in specific sectors.

Opportunities for Businesses to Claim Tax Relief

During the address by Ministers in the Economic Cluster on 24 March, a number of pledges were made to help support businesses over the coming period.

One such measure permits tax compliant businesses with a turnover of less than R50 Million to delay 20% of their EMP-201 liability over the next 4 months. We are awaiting guidance on how this is to be administered, so we will update you as to whether any changes are needed when we know more.

Additionally, a portion of corporate income tax can be delayed for 6 months, with both the EMP-201 and corporate schemes having no penalties or interest accrue over their respective periods. 

We’d like to remind and encourage all qualifying employers to avail themselves of the existing relief in the form of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI). There is a draft proposal to expand this relief via a R500 per month subsidy. It has been proposed that this additional relief will be available for employers who were registered with SARS as at 1 March 2020 and will run between 1 April and 31 July 2020.

Additionally, there are prospects for the temporary reductions of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Skills Development Levy (SDL) contributions.

We are awaiting announcements on the measures mentioned in this paragraph and will update you as soon as we know more.

Opportunities for Businesses to be Supported by the COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS)

COVID-19 TERS is a scheme which is aimed at providing support to businesses that are in distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If a company has their funding approved, the UIF will fund companies which are directly affected by COVID-19 in the form of a TERS allowance. The default length of funding is for 3 months.

Please find the link to the COVID-19 TERS Blog here.

Support for Small, Medium and microsized Enterprises (SMMEs)

In her speech on the 24 March, Ms Khumbudzo, Minister for Small Business Development laid out plans to support SMMEs during the lockdown period. R2 billion was donated by the Rupert & Oppenheimer families, solely to support small businesses and their employees. This is intended to be done in multiple ways, through the Business Growth and Resilience Facility, as well as the SMME Debt Relief Finance Scheme.

In order to qualify for the schemes, Ms Khumbudzo laid out qualifying criteria, namely the SMME, self employed individual or small company must:

  1. Have been registered with CIPC by at least 28 February 2020
  2. Be 100% SA owned
  3. Employ at least 70% South African citizens
  4. Be SARS & UIF registered and compliant.
    • (Non-compliant SMMEs can still apply, but they will only be considered when they are fully compliant.)
  5. Be registered on the national SMME database (www.smmesa.gov.za).
  6. Be able to show that it was negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses owned by women, the youth demographic and people with disabilities will be given preferential treatment for funding. If your company does not meet all of the above criteria, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) can assist you in becoming compliant.

The application forms for the schemes detailed below are to be released on 2 April, so it is advisable to ensure that your company is registered on the SMME database and you have inspected your SARS & UIF compliance to see where you stand.

Debt Relief Finance Scheme

The aim of this scheme is to fund working capital for self employed and informal workers and is the “safety net” the president referred to in his lockdown speech on 23 March. The intention is to run the scheme for 6 months, with working capital being loaned at a rate of prime less 5%. The size of the facility available to each SMME will be determined by comparison of their cashflow before and after COVID-19.

Additionally, Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) funded SMMEs will be able to take advantage of a payment holiday, removing loan obligations for 6 months. The deferment of the loans will not be capitalised, meaning that you will not pay any interest for the 6 month period. SEFA SMMEs will also be able to benefit from an audit to determine whether the client could benefit from a debt restructuring, with options such as converting to longer loans and additional funding to be explored.

The specific requirements for the Debt Relief Finance Scheme are found here.

Business Growth and Resilience Facility

In this scheme businesses geared to take advantage of the supply opportunities and shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to partake in the scheme.

Working capital will be funded, but only for those that are directly linked to the direct cost of the business. The amount of funding will be based on the individual needs of the business, with loans being made at prime less 5%. In an attempt to dissuade any abuse of the scheme, if any entity is found to abuse this beneficial rate, they will be forced to repay the loan in full at prime plus 10%.

The page relating to the requirements can be found here.

SMMEs are encouraged to make use of the alternative support email and hotline number in preparation for the release of the application forms on 2 April. The contact details are [email protected] & 0860 633 7867.

Solidarity Fund

In the president’s speech on 23 March, there was mention that seed capital will be provided for the Solidarity Fund. The fund will be administered by a team made up of financial institutions, accounting firms and the Government.

The aim of the fund is to alleviate the suffering and distress the virus inflicts on the country through: preventive measures to flatten the curve; more widespread testing to help detect new cases; caring for those who have contracted the disease; and supporting families affected. If you are in the position to be able to donate to the solidarity fund, you can do so at www.solidarityfund.co.za.

As always, we’re here to help where we can. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with any of the above on SimplePay.

Take care, stay home, stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]

COVID-19 Lockdown – 27 March to 16 April 2020

Update 21 April: The Department of Employment and Labour has opened a dedicated UIF toll free hotline, running 8am – 10pm Monday to Friday. The number is 0800 030 007.

Please note: The information provided in this blog is correct at the time of writing, but as this is an unprecedented and ever-changing situation, we will do our best to ensure we keep ourselves and our clients up to date. Please check back regularly for updates – we will also notify you of these by email and system notifications.

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]

A Note on UIF Forms: Our existing functionality allows you to submit the monthly consolidated UI-19 for all employees each month directly to the UIF from the SimplePay website. We’re glad to inform you that the new functionality providing UI-19 forms for individuals is now live. This is needed for employees to claim.

Queries about UIF payments being delayed should be directed to the UIF. Unfortunately we won’t be able to provide much insight or assistance with this. Contact details for the UIF processing centre can be found in this the Easy Aid Guide for Employers.

7 April 2020: Closure of the labour offices for in person applications. Rechannelling  of applications to interactive methods.

30 March 2020: Information on the option for employers to complete the UIF application on behalf of their employees. Further UIF code 10 is unpacked, related to employees who fall ill.

27 March 2020: 

  • Greater detail on the process required to submit both types of UIF applications has been added, including who is responsible for each part of the process.
  • More information on what is required when handling employees with reduced hours, to enable them to claim a benefit.
  • Clarification on the different codes required when ending your employee’s service in different situations.
  • Brief update on the progress of TERS at the foot of the blog.

26 March 2020: Updated the requirements for form UI 2.8 to be accompanied by a bank statement, stamped by the bank.

On Monday 23 March, President Ramaphosa announced a 21 day lockdown from 23:59 on Thursday 26 March. Many South Africans welcomed this but are also uncertain as to what this means for their employees and businesses. Over the past few days, the respective Governmental Departments have released information regarding plans to support companies and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The aim of this blog is to provide guidance to employers on the options available to them around paying employees, putting them on paid and unpaid leave and UIF benefits.

Earlier in the week we let you know that our team has gone fully remote and are pleased to be able to support our clients and employees in this way. In some sectors, this mode of working can be adopted relatively easily and many have already done so; however, for a lot of sectors and employees this is unfortunately not an option. For those employers who have to scale back or suspend regular activities, the following options exist:

Options for Healthy Employees Impacted by Reduced Hours or Temporary Closure 

Where employees are healthy and able to work, but are prevented from doing so due to the lockdown, employers and employees can agree that annual leave be used to cover some or all of the lockdown period on full pay. You are also always able to extend extra paid leave days to all employees should you so wish.

Where none of the paid leave types are an option, employees can be put on unpaid leave. Employees impacted in this way are able to claim Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits as a result of either reduced hours or closure. To do this on SimplePay, you will need to provide a code when ending your employee’s service. Please use code 17 for temporary closure or reduced hours, i.e use this code if employees are expected to return to work on 17 April 2020. It is important to note that you must end the employee’s service on SimplePay. If you simply record unpaid leave on the calendar, UIF will not be claimable by employees.

The government intends to extend UIF benefits for these employees for up to three months. Employees who receive no income will be entitled to full UIF benefits.

If you’re paying your employees reduced pay, a partial UIF benefit will be available. For this benefit to be available, there must be an agreement between the employer and their employees to reduce hours as an alternative to retrenchment.

Procedure for Healthy Employees Impacted by Reduced Hours or Temporary Closure to Claim UIF benefits

To claim UIF for a reduction in hours or temporary closure, the following must be completed:

  1. Contact and inform the relevant provincial department representative of your temporary closure/reduction in hours. The contact details for each of the offices can be found on page 3 of the Easy Aid Guide for Employers.
  2. The following forms and documents need to be completed for each employee:
    1. UI 2.1 (application form)
    2. UI19 (Submitted monthly by the employer) and UI 2.7 (completed by Employer)
    3. UI 2.8 (accompanied by a bank statement, stamped by the bank)
    4. A letter from the Employer confirming company shutdown or employee’s “temporary lay-off” ( or reduced work time ) is due to the Corona Virus 
    5. Copy of Employee’s ID document
  3. Once completed, these forms need to be submitted to the UIF. Claims can be done online once the employee has registered, or via email or fax, details listed on page 7 of the Easy Aid Guide. The UIF processing centres are now closed over lockdown and cannot be used. If an employer wishes to do this on behalf of their employee, provided they have all the necessary information, this is possible by emailing the relevant processing centre with the required documents. ( n.b. Form UI2.8 could prove difficult for the employer to obtain now that lockdown is in force).
  4. To ensure the employee can claim, the must ensure they have:
    • A copy of 13-digit bar-coded identity document
    • A copy of your last six payslips
    • UI-19 supplied by your employer
    • A service certificate from the employer (point 2.4, provided by the employer)
    • Proof of registration as a work seeker
    • A fully completed registration form

This may appear a daunting number of forms, but it is worth noting that the provincial departments, listed in the Easy Aid Guide, will provide the necessary assistance with the application and payment of this benefit type. SimplePay is also in the process of making these forms available through our system, lessening the burden on you and reducing the chance of human error.

Additionally, if your business employs 50 or more employees, who may be subject to temporary lay offs, rapid response teams have been formed to aid you with this process. In respect to this you need to get into contact with your provincial office, as listed in the Easy Aid Guide.

Options for Employees who are suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19

The requirement that an employee suspected of, or is diagnosed with COVID-19, must self isolate for 14 days remains in place. This period can be covered using an employee’s sick leave as with any other instance of illness. If the employee has no sick leave, you can agree to have them use annual leave otherwise they may be placed on unpaid leave. As above, the option to grant additional paid leave is also available. For all of these, record leave on SimplePay as usual.

Where the employee has had to be placed on unpaid leave as a result of contracting COVID-19, the following options to receive some income exist:

  1. Apply for an illness benefit through UIF 
    1. This covers the 14 day isolation and requires several documents, including a letter of agreement signed by employer and employee. 
    2. This period can be extended if required. 
    3. Full details on documents required and the application process can be found at the end of this post.
  2. Apply for compensation for Occupationally Acquired COVID-19 Disease, through the recently amended Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA)
    1. This is available if the employee contracted COVID-19 in their place of work or on a business trip to another country or area.
    2. More details can be found in this Government Notice and the process to claim is outlined at the end of this post.

Procedure for Employees who are Suspected or Diagnosed with COVID-19 to Claim UIF benefits

To claim UIF for an illness benefit, the following must be completed:

  1. Fill in the following forms:
    1. A confirmation letter from both the employer and employee, stating that they have agreed to 14 days of “special leave”, due to COVID-19.
    2. UI 2.2 (medical portion to be ignored, as this is substituted by the above letter. This is because the employee will already be in quarantine).
    3. UI 19 (which can be completed through SimplePay) and UI 2.7 (completed by Employer)
    4. UI 2.8 (accompanied by a bank statement, stamped by the bank)
    5. Copy of employee’s ID document.
  2. On SimplePay, when completing the employee’s End Service, please use UIF code 10 – Illness leave.
  3. Once completed, these forms need to be submitted to lodge the claim. An application can be lodged in one of the following ways:
    1. Online at www.ufiling.co.za 
    2. Email or fax the nearest UIF processing centre. (information found on page 7 of this link). If an employer wishes to do this on behalf of their employee, provided they have all the necessary information, this is possible by emailing the relevant processing centre with the required documents. ( n.b. Form UI2.8 could prove difficult for the employer to obtain now that lockdown is in force).
  4. To ensure the employee can claim, alongside the other documents they must ensure they have:
    • A copy of 13-digit bar-coded identity document
    • A copy of your last six payslips
    • A service certificate from the employer
    • A fully completed registration form

Unlike temporary closure, there is no bespoke assistance for the filing of this application. It is likely though that there are fewer employees that qualify for this benefit, lessening the administrative load. If you do experience any difficulties, we would encourage you to touch base with your nearest UIF processing centre for guidance.

At the end of the 14 day period a UI3 form needs to be completed, for the payment to be executed into the employee’s bank account. This should either be done on the ufiling website, or by emailing or faxing your closest UIF Processing centre, as listed in the aid guide. If the employee remains ill beyond the 14 day period, they must obtain a medical certificate from a medical practitioner and submit a further UI3 in order to be able to continue to claim the benefit.

Options for Healthy Employees Impacted by a Permanent Closure  of Business

Unfortunately, in some cases the strains on your business may be too great, resulting in your company ceasing to operate permanently. If this is true for yourself, you should use code 14, denoting permanent closures, i.e use this code if, upon the completion of the 21-day lockdown, the employee shall not continue their employment. Same as for the temporary closure process above, you must end the employee’s service on SimplePay in order for the employee to be able to claim UIF.

In this scenario, the normal process for claiming UIF will likely need to be followed. Therefore, the 3 months extended period of UIF benefit will probably not be applicable.

Procedure for Claiming under COIDA

There are a few key components to being able to claim under this system. The following are required elements:

  • The employee must test positive for the COVID-19 virus (as defined in COIDA).
  • The contraction of the virus must arise out of and happen in the course of employment.
  • There must be a realistic and logical explanation for the exposure to COVID-19, which occurred in the course of employment.

If the above statements apply to an employee, they could be entitled to claim under COIDA. More detail on the requirements can be found here

WATCH THIS SPACE: Temporary Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) and other Relief Measures for Employers

In an effort to avoid retrenchment, the Government is also in consultation to pay wages of employees in struggling companies through the Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme. To gain an insight into the sheme, the process required to participate and to see some templates of the required forms, please send an email to “[email protected]”. You will receive an automated response with all this information. We will also be providing more information on this and other relief measures in our next blog post next week.

As always, we’re here to help where we can. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with any of the above on SimplePay.

Team SimplePay

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]