Upcoming ETI changes for the May EMP201

The Second Revised Draft Disaster Management Bill was issued by the National Treasury on 19 May 2020. Although the bill provided a large amount of clarity, there were still a few parts that were unclear, which we were only able to finalise early this week. The revised bill made several important changes to the Employment Tax Incentive Act, which provides for further tax relief in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The SimplePay team is hard at work implementing these changes to our system. If you are claiming ETI for May, please do not finalise or submit your EMP201s yet. We will ensure that these changes are made in time for the 7 June EMP201 submission deadline and we will keep you updated when these changes are live.

We are also seeking clarity on how, if at all, these changes will affect the EMP201 submissions made in April.

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].

Team SimplePay

TERS Applications for May Open

We are extremely happy to announce that this morning the applications for the COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) for the month of May have opened! For all intents and purposes, the application process appears to be the same as that in place for the end of the April application period. This means that you can still use the SimplePay TERS CSV export, subject to the few tweaks mentioned below.

To apply, go to https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19 and log in if you already have an account, or register if you are applying for the first time.

You can then follow the application steps that are laid out on the site. An application guide, along with a post application guide, can be downloaded from the application site by clicking on:

 Application info > Application Procedure > Click Here to Download Files

On the TERS application website, linked above.

Key Changes for May

There have been some key announcements made that change the picture of what COVID-19 TERS process looks like. Some of the key changes are detailed below. There is also a nice overview available in the latest media release from the UIF.

Distribution of the TERS Benefits

The UIF has announced that it will no longer be requiring employers or bargaining councils to act as conduits for the disbursement of TERS benefits to employees. Instead, the UIF shall be paying employees directly into their bank accounts.

The intention behind this change to the system is that it will hopefully result in employees getting paid faster. Employers are still expected to apply on behalf of their employees and will receive a payment breakdown from the UIF as confirmation of payment.

The options for the UIF to pay money to employers and bargaining councils remains open. However, the UIF advises selecting payment directly into the employee’s account to expedite the payment of employees.

Proof of Payment for Employers returning to Make a Second Claim

According to the UIF, employers who have claimed TERS benefits in April and are wishing to make a repeat claim for May, will be expected to submit proof that  payment was made to their employees. In the above mentioned media statement, it was stated that an electronic bank statement or letter of acknowledgement between the employer and employee would suffice. 

Bargaining Councils Applying on Behalf of Employers

In the main part, it is likely that applications to TERS are to be done by the employer on behalf of their employee for COVID-19 TERS benefits.

Alternatively, if you have agreed with your bargaining council and the UIF that they shall apply for TERS benefits for your employees, this agreement should be adhered to.

If you are in any doubt of whether it is you or the bargaining council who should make an application for COVID-19 TERS, we would recommend that you clarify this on the UIF hotline, on 0800 030 007.

Eligibility for Applying to COVID-19 TERS

The eligibility for applying to COVID-19 TERS has been a large subject of discussion in the past for some of our clients. The latest amendments to the Directive in May altered the wording, clarifying if an employer is eligible or not to apply on behalf of their employees. 

The take home of this new wording is that any employer who closes operations, to any extent, needs to apply to TERS for its employees. 

SimplePay TERS CSV Export

There are a few minor but noteworthy changes regarding to the TERS CSV export which we would like to bring to your attention:

  1. Date range

As this is the application for May, the columns labelled “Shutdown From” and “Shutdown to” should be completed to accommodate this. These columns will be blank on the CSV, so you will need to input the correct dates.

There has been no official guidance published on the date range to input if your business reopened part way through May. Therefore, in such cases we would recommend that you contact the UIF hotline on 0800 030 007 to confirm the correct date range for your bespoke set of circumstances.

2. Column Titles

In order to bring the SimplePay CSV export titles in line with the UIF online application table, we have changed the “Leave Income During Shutdown” column to “Remuneration During shutdown”

This column aligns with the column labelled “Remuneration For Work Done Or Work To Be Done in May 2020 (excluding Leave Income or Payment In Advance)”, found on the online TERS application portal. 

Employee Applications for TERS Benefits

Employees are able to apply for TERS benefits in very limited circumstances under this latest version of the TERS process. For an employee to be eligible to apply the employer must have refused or been unable to apply for TERS benefits, as well as other criteria being met. By and large this is not a recommended option in almost all cases.

We hope that this information proves useful for you in carrying out this month’s TERS application. For more information on TERS and other COVID-19 related subject matter, you can visit our dedicated help page.

We would like to emphasise that for applications for April, one of the key causes of delay was incorrectly inputted information. Therefore we would like to stress the importance of double or even triple checking that the information is both accurate and in the correct format, to maximise the chances of a smooth process.

If you have any questions on the information provided above and how it relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS: Foreign Workers Update

Update 27 May: the UIF has announced a delay in the opening of COVID-19 TERS applications for May due to a break in the communications link between the UIF’s office and the State Informations and Technology Agency (SITA). Read the media statement here

The following information is taken from a Q&A Webinar with the UIF, presented by the UIF’s Directors for provincial support and stakeholding.

As mentioned in our previous blog, linked here, it has become apparent that there are some issues for foreign employees in receiving their TERS benefits. We have now gained further information from the UIF on the most reliable way forward for UIF to process TERS applications for foreign employees, as we shall explain below.

The Likely Problem

Through the information garnered from the above mentioned webinar, as well as our own investigations, which included several phone calls with the UIF, it seems that the problem with these claims stemmed from a mismatch between the various systems used by the UIF to receive and process information. In order to validate if an employee is eligible for TERS benefits, the UIF needs to link the employee’s UIF contributions to the claim made. In the application process, this phase could have failed for a number of reasons, with some possibilities being:

  • The employer had registered for the payment of UIF with SARS, but not with the UIF itself.
    • In order to be compliant, employers need to ensure they submit their monthly declarations to the UIF, as well as make payment of UIF contributions to SARS when submitting their EMP201.
  • The UIF Reference numbers were inputted incorrectly.
  • An initial incorrect application for TERS was submitted and rejected, but the UIF reference numbers of the employees were captured. This means if a second application is made, it will automatically be rejected as the UIF numbers are already on the UIF Claims system (this is a safeguard put in place to avoid double payment).

To try and widen the resources from which to validate TERS applications, the UIF requested SARS cross check applications against their records of contributions to the UIF. In order for this step to be passed, the submitted application had to be a perfect match with respect to the UIF number, PAYE number and ID number on the SARS system, otherwise payment would not be processed. These increased validation measures resulted in fewer than expected applications being validated, in particular those by foreign employees.

Throughout the above processes, it is possible that the use of a passport number as opposed to 

a South African ID number was problematic. We have been informed by the UIF that for May applications, they believe that they have addressed the underlying cause(s) of the issues encountered with foreign employee’s TERS applications.

Suggested Way Forward

The latest from the Department of Labour and UIF is that for foreign workers, declarations should be made through uFiling to increase the probability of successful submissions. We appreciate that this is an added administrative load for you and does result in you needing to manually input information, in comparison to the SimplePay direct submission from our site. Nonetheless, the UIF recommends you record these foreign workers on uFiling for this period, as it will hopefully make the claim process faster.

You will continue to be able to submit your UIF declarations directly to the UIF on SimplePay for your foreign workers, as this is still an accepted method. This means that if you are not able to submit declarations via uFiling, your foreign employees’ declarations should still be sent successfully through SimplePay. The uncertainty comes in at the point where the UIF needs to match contributions to applications and this is apparently where using uFiling increases the likelihood of successful claims.

When registering or signing in on uFiling, it is possible that you will already have some or all of your foreign employees listed. If this is the case you must search for any omissions or errors in information. It is equally possible that none of the employees have been pulled through from the direct submission due to the strain put on uFiling over this period. If this is the case, please input the foreign employees in question.

When TERS applications for May do open, it is worth noting that the TERS CSV export from SimplePay will remain with the foreign employees listed. We are awaiting confirmation on when May applications will open and what the final process will be. We anticipate that you can continue to use our CSV but will confirm as soon as we know for sure. During the Q&A sessions the UIF representatives indicated that significant work has been done on the TERS system to resolve the issues experienced with claims for foreign employees. We sincerely hope that this is the case and that May’s applications will go far more smoothly for you.

If you are already registered, it is important that you check that your foreign employees are registered under your company, as this will then allow the employees to be matched to the TERS claim, thus triggering payment.

You can register or log into uFiling by clicking on the relevant link at https://www.ufiling.co.za/uif/.

It is possible that for May it will not be necessary to carry out this step as the UIF system will have been updated to accommodate foreign employees. However, having your foreign employees registered on uFiling still sounds like the most reliable way forward at this stage.

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

Interest Rate Change for Employer Loans

In an effort to manage the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on the economy, the Reserve Bank has announced a further historic cut to the repurchase rate (repo rate). The repo rate will be cut by 50 basis points, from 4.25% to 3.75%, effective 22 May 2020.

The change in repo rate impacts the “official rate” used to calculate the fringe benefit on employer loans. The official rate is set at an interest rate of 100 basis points above the repo rate and any changes in the repo rate will only affect the official rate from the beginning of the next month. The official interest rate for employer loans will therefore change from 5.25% to 4.75% effective 1 June.

As always, you do not need to take any action to implement the new interest rate. We have already updated the system to reflect these changes. All employer loans on payslips dated from 1 June 2020 will make use of the new interest rate. As our system is built to be intuitive, any payslips dated before 1 June 2020 will make use of the previous interest rate.

You can find more information on employer loans on our help page here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

COVID-19 TERS Update

With many employers having now managed to traverse the process of applying for COVID-19 TERS, the questions following this often amount to: when will I hear back?; why have I received the amount I have?; how do I distribute the benefit?; or even, why has my application been declined?

In an attempt to answer these questions and support employers in correcting their applications, the Department of Employment and Labour has created an “After Application Support: COVID-19 TERS” guide.

n.b. The pdf, which can also be found on the Department of Labour website, duplicates page 1. A simple way to avoid confusion is follow the page numbers in red, located bottom middle on each page of the PDF.

Inside this guide, you can find information on the following:

  • How to log into your profile after submitting an application
  • How to check your payment status
  • How to get a report on payments made or declined (this includes where only some staff members have been declined)
  • How to complete and send the declaration and proof that you have distributed funds to your employees
  • When you might need to repay the UIF and how to do this (end of page 4)

Also found within the guide is a set of Frequently asked questions, on the following topics:

  • What if one or a number of employees are not present on either the successful or the rejected lists?
  • How much do I pay to each employee from the amount paid into my account?
  • I didn’t get paid as much as I was expecting, why might this be, and can I receive the full amount if I made an error in my submission?
  • I need to add more of my employees to my claim, how do I do this?
  • I have received confirmation that my CSV was uploaded correctly, but when I came back to my profile I see an error?
  • What happens if Lockdown is extended?

Employers Who are Still yet to Apply for TERS

Straight off, we should state that it is still possible to claim for and receive benefits from the COVID-19 TERS scheme. The scheme shall be running for up to 3 months, only being brought to an end by way of official notice. Whilst lockdown is still affecting jobs, this is unlikely to be imminent.

Where employers have not yet made an application and have tried to apply at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/, they have been faced with a notification that applications for May are not yet open. The reason for this notice is that the Unemployment Insurance authorities need time to work through the backlog of earlier applications, as well as discuss and make changes to the TERS system, to hopefully allow it to run more smoothly. 

Unfortunately, there is no knowing when the application process will reopen, so we advise you to keep checking in on the page. As soon as we become aware that applications are reopened, we shall communicate this with you, along with any changes which hopefully make the process less cumbersome.

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

New SARS Code and System Item for Disaster Relief Funds

There are several organisations outside of government, such as the South African Future Trust (SAFT), providing COVID-19 relief funds for employers to keep paying their employees. The relief is usually offered in the form of a loan to employers and is paid directly to employees. To assist with the special tax treatment and reporting requirements for these payments (see below), SimplePay has created a new system item: COVID-19 Disaster Relief.

Tax Treatment

As outlined by the Disaster Tax Relief Bill, these payments are not included in remuneration for PAYE, SDL and UIF and therefore are not subject to tax. Although these payments are not included in remuneration for PAYE, SDL and UIF, they are included in remuneration for the purposes of calculating ETI.

Reporting on Tax Certificates

SARS has created a new tax code, 3724, for reporting these payments on IRP5s/IT3(a)s. This is outlined on the SARS website here.

Using the COVID-19 Disaster Relief System Item

To make use of the new system item created by SimplePay:

  1. Go to an employee’s profile
  2. Click on Add next to Payslip Inputs
  3. Under Other, select COVID-19 Disaster Relief
  4. Enter the Amount of the relief paid to the employee
  5. Click Save

You will notice that the payment is listed on the payslip as a Benefit and does not impact the Nett pay payable to employees. This is because the relief payments are made directly to employees by the organisation. The system item is simply used for satisfying the tax and reporting requirements and not to facilitate payments.

These details are also outlined in our help page here.

Should you need further assistance, please contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Lockdown Recap Blog #4

Friday has come around again meaning, it is time for our blog rounding up the week’s events.

The contents of the blog today includes a summary of this month’s blogs to date, as well as some reiterations of key points that were made within these blogs throughout the week.

May’s Blog Posts to Date

Below you will find a list of the most recent blogs and their content, just in case you missed them!

8 May Update blog contents:

  • Clarification on COVID-19 TERS payout amounts, as well as the effect of additional payments made by the employer on the benefit amount.
  • UIF electronic submissions: new progress notification functionality to update you on your submissions.
  • SARS Updates: Note on the annual employer reconciliation period, as well as means to get updates directly from SARS.
  • ETI: Explanation as to how our system will be altered when the latest draft Disaster Management Tax Relief and Tax Administration Bills pass into law.

COVID-19 ETI relief blog contents:

  • Update on the amount of ETI an employer will receive for each ETI qualifying employee, during the period of 1 April to 31 July 2020.

Draft Disaster Management Bills summary blog contents:

  • Summary of the proposed amendment’s effects on ETI entitlements, SDL payment holiday and employer PAYE deferment.
  • Outline of the workplace requirements for employers reopening under lockdown level 4.

Summaries of the contents for the end of April’s blogs, as well as a COVID-19 TERS specific section can be found in our Lockdown Recap #3 blog

Alternatively, if you would like to see the full list of our blogs, including information about UIF claims, these can be found on our website.

Take Homes from the Week

Additions to the SimplePay Help Site

In order to help ease some of the confusion and concern around the lockdown, we have been very active in producing blog content dealing with the various measures to support businesses and employees. We have also created a dedicated COVID-19 Help section, which will be updated as quickly as possible as new information and requirements are made available.

If you have a query relating to COVID-19, we’d like to request that you consult one or more of the following posts and / or help articles (accessible from the two links above) as they contain the most up to date info we have and will hopefully resolve your query.

Annual Employer Reconciliation Period

SARS has not announced any extensions to the employer filing deadline of 31 May. We have made all the necessary arrangements on our end, so you can proceed with annual filing whenever you’re ready!

When can the Disaster Management Bills be relied upon?

As mentioned in previous blogs, the latest draft Bills are open to public comment until 15 May 2020. It therefore follows that soon after this date, they shall pass into law, possibly with minor changes made. 

A good indication of the progress of certain subject matter within the Bills can be gleaned from Government body websites and media platforms. An example of this being SARS’ twitter handle (@sarstax) today tweeted, that employer SDL contributions shall be defaulted to zero on their EMP201s, for the months of May to August. This therefore provides a strong indication of what will pass into law in the near future.

Calculation of the COVID-19 TERS Benefit 

COVID-19 TERS is a subject which has caused much confusion and media attention, not only in how to apply for this aid, but also how to distribute it to employers correctly.

As discussed in the 8 May Lockdown blog post, the Department of Labour has released an FAQ document, hopefully providing clarity on many of the questions you may still have around the subject.

Returning to Work – Lockdown Level 4

Coming to the end of the first week back for many businesses, it is important to know where your responsibilities stand to your employees and otherwise under lockdown level 4.

Our blog from 5 May helps outline what you as an employer need to do to remain compliant when reopening your workplace.

We hope that this information proves useful to you, and that the first 5-day working week in a while has been kind 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

Lockdown Update: 8 May

In today’s blog we have an important update on how best to interpret employee TERS benefit entitlements and the effect of additional payments by employers to employees participating under the scheme. We shall also touch base on tracking of UIF applications, updates from SARS and cast our eyes forward with respect to ETI.

TERS Payouts

Please note: This information is a reiteration of information provided by the Department of Labour on 30 April. It is provided for informational purposes only and is to the best of our knowledge correct at the time of publication.

Our previous blog based on information posted by SAICA on 29 April, suggested that employer contributions may greatly reduce the amount employees receive from the TERS benefit, as well as underestimating TERS benefit amount. The Department of Labour has since published its own FAQ document (linked below), which has shown that this was not correct. We unreservedly apologise for any inconvenience and angst this has caused you.

The following information is based on the Department of Labour FAQ (referenced as the DoL FAQ going forward), published 30 April 2020.

The amount that will be provided to each employee ranges between a minimum of R3 500.00 and a maximum of R6 638.40. This is further explained at the top of page 5 of the DoL FAQ.

Calculating an Employee’s TERS Payout

On pages 5-7 of the DoL FAQ, they explain how to calculate the TERS payout amount for an employee, before taking into account employer additions.

Benefit amount = Daily income x Income Replacement Rate (IRR)

To calculate the benefit amount, the above formula must be used. How to calculate the daily income for your employee and their own IRR, are shown on pages 5* and 6 of the DoL FAQ above. However, note that, if your employee is paid R17 712 or more, then there is no need to follow this calculation, as the entitlement will be R6 638.40.

*At the base of page 5, the term “Yi” may lead to confusion as it is a different format to the worked examples found on page 6. If at all confused, we would recommend following the method shown on page 6, using the daily income for both the amount put into the IRR formula, and for the value which you multiply with the IRR.

Effect of Additional Payments from the Employer

According to the above DoL FAQ, the correct interpretation of employer contributions is that they will not affect the employee’s benefit amount, unless the reduced salary and the TERS benefit amount would result in the employee receiving more than their normal remuneration if there were no lockdown.

For further explanation of this please refer to Page 7 of the DoL FAQ. 

Submissions of Electronic UIF Declarations

Since the lockdown came into force, there has been an influx of applications to the UIF, which has caused a delay on their end.

To help inform you on the progress of your application when using the SimplePay UIF Declaration function, we have updated our system to give you an expected time period for reply from the UIF when:

  1. You make the submission on the SimplePay Website.
  2. When your submission appears in the UIF list as awaiting_response.

When you go to your submission, under the “Electronic Status” heading, you will see a question mark in a blue circle. Hover your cursor over the question mark to show the expected response time, based on the up to date average processing times.

SARS Updates

For all the latest information from SARS, we would suggest following them on twitter (@sarstax). They are releasing nice bite-sized tweets on the various COVID-19 support measures, providing seemingly straightforward guidance for employers.

Annual Employer Reconciliation Period

SARS has not announced an extension to the annual employer filing period, meaning currently the deadline remains at 31 May. We are happy to announce that all of the necessary arrangements have been made on our end for you to proceed with your annual filing on the SimplePay site.

ETI Updates

The system has now been updated to cater for the expanded ETI, in effect from 1 April 2020 and covered in this post from 6 May. We would like to thank all of you who held off on doing April EMP201 submissions while we made the necessary updates.

The new draft Disaster Management Bills propose a further widening of ETI by relaxing the requirement that employees have an employment date before 1 October 2013. As this is still in draft form, we will not be making further system changes yet – as soon as there is confirmation of it passing into law, we will communicate this and make the necessary updates to the system – please keep an eye on our blog and in-system notifications.

We hope that this information gives clarity on the TERS payout and helps you in understanding what is a very complex subject, as well as keeping you in the loop on UIF and SARS. Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected].

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Amended Disaster Management Bills and Level 4 of Lockdown – 5 May

As a new week under lockdown commences, we have plenty to update you on! Firstly, as promised in our last blog, found here, we have an update on what new information has come to light following the release of the Government’s latest draft bills. Following this, we have provided you with a summary of what you need to do to be compliant when reopening your business under level 4 of the lockdown.

Latest Disaster Management Bills’ Effect on Payroll

The Disaster Management Tax Relief and Tax Administration bills were released over the weekend, providing the detail needed from the Minister for Finance’s speech on 23 April (linked here). They will be open to scrutiny up to 15 May, after which point the finer details of the law shall crystallise. Nonetheless, the following measures are operational already due to the nature of the Disaster Management Act 2002.

ETI Update

Update 6 May: We are pleased to announce that the necessary changes to the system have been made, meaning that you can now submit/resubmit your EMP201s for April to receive the full additional ETI entitlement for qualifying employees.

Under the latest draft bill, as suggested in last week’s recap blog, the amount of additional ETI per employee under the new scheme has been increased from R500 to R750. 

At this moment in time, this incentive is still to be run between 1 April and 31 July. We are working on our system for you to be able to claim this additional ETI, including this revised amount of R750 per employee, as soon as possible.

We shall release a further blog and notification as soon as we have done the above to give you as much time as possible to resubmit.

Skills Development Levy (SDL) Payment Holiday

It has been reiterated that no contributions towards the SDL are necessary for the months of May to August. As it is a suspension, this means that you will not have to pay these month’s contributions at a later date.

We shall make the necessary amendments so that these changes are reflected in May’s EMP201 submissions.

35% PAYE Deferment

The draft bills have reinforced many of the points from previous blogs and are reiterated here:

  • Increase in the amount of PAYE which can be deferred from 20% to 35% (this is calculated automatically for you by SARS, see our recap blog here).
  • Increase in the annual turnover threshold of tax compliant small to medium sized businesses from R50 million to R100 million.
  • The deferment is effective from 1 April to 31 July (4 months).
  • Repayments shall be spread equally across the 6 months following the deferment period.

There have also been some proposed amendments on passive income. These are as follows:

  • The passive income (e.g. rent) percentage which could make businesses ineligible for the scheme has been increased from 10% to 20%.
  • The categories passive income shall be extended to include currency derived from royalties and annuities.
  • This rule on passive income excludes persons whose main trading activity is the letting of fixed property.

As per our previous blogs, you do not need to carry out any steps in order to receive the benefit of the deferment. The calculations will be done by SARS, reducing the amount of PAYE which is due for the month in question.

Workplace Requirements – Lockdown Level 4

With a number of employees set to return to work under level 4 of lockdown, the Department for Labour has set out minimum guidelines to ensure the safety of workplaces.

Below we have summarised all of the requirements that need to be met.

General

  • Employers must provide employees, at least two cloth masks, free of charge.
  • Employees and members of the public must wear masks when commuting or entering the premises.
  • Employees with symptoms must not be at work and employers must either grant paid sick leave, or apply for the COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) on their behalf.
  • Employers must appoint a manager to address the concerns of employees.

Social Distancing

  • Workplaces must be arranged to allow for at least a 1.5 metre gap between employees. Employers were also encouraged by Minister Thulas Nxesi to minimise the number of workers present at one time through shift patterns to achieve social distancing.
  • If the 1.5 metre gap is not possible, barriers must be erected, and PPE provided free of charge.
  • All common areas, such as canteens, must practice social distancing.

Screening 

  • Employers must screen employees for symptoms at the time that they report for work. 
  • Employees must immediately inform their employer if they experience any symptoms while at work.
  • Workers with symptoms must be placed in isolation and arrangements made for transit to medical examination or self isolation.
  • Employees who recover from COVID-19 may return to work following a medical evaluation, and subject to ongoing monitoring.

Sanitisers and Disinfectant

  • Employers must provide a sufficient amount of hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol content.
  • Communal and shared equipment must be regularly cleaned.

Enforcement by Labour inspectors

  • Labour inspectors are empowered to promote, monitor and enforce compliance.
  • Failure to comply could result in the closure of the business.

Minister Nxesi emphasised that all of the above needs to be in place for when employees return to work, and failure to comply could result in the closure of that business. The department is looking to employ a further 500 inspectors to help regulate these new directives and ensure that everyone returning to work remains safe.

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

Lockdown Recap Blog #3

Despite a shortened week caused by not one, but two public holidays, it has been yet another busy period. In this blog we shall recap and link you to the important news and updates from the past days.

Recent Blogs and their Content

To help address confusion surrounding everything to do with lockdown, we have been creating several blogs to both inform you on updates to support measures and let you know how SimplePay is making your life easier to access these. 

It is worth noting that the more recent the blog, the more up to date the information is, so it is advisable to work back from the most recent when looking for information. Equally though, the previous blogs are extremely useful for providing context and building a broad base of knowledge.

Below you will find a list of the most recent blogs and their content, just in case you missed them!

29 April Update Blog Contents:

  • Clarification on how the TERS Payout functions and the impact of employer additional payments; 
  • Expansion of applicability for the 35% PAYE deferment scheme; 
  • Delay to Tourism Relief Fund Payout; and 
  • Information on updates to annuity funds.

28 April Update Blog Contents:

  • Summary of the Minister for Finance’s speech on 23 April, notably listing prospective financial support measures

24 April Update Blog Contents:

  • Information on how TERS benefit is to be distributed to employees;
  • Increase in the amount of employers able to apply to TERS; and
  • TERS application tracker.

23 April Update Blog Contents:

  • Nature of TERS payouts;
  • Clarification on the dates for TERS CSV export; and
  • A summary of poignant parts of President Ramaphosa’s speech from 21 April. 

Blogs which predate the ones listed are linked in our previous two lockdown recap blogs (below). 

Lockdown Recap #2 Content:

  • PAYE tax deferment, TERS, ETI, Tourism and Industrial support, Interest Rate reduction, filing.
  • Details of changes that occurred between 6 and 14 April (+retrospective additions);

Recap Blog #1 Contents:

  • List of Governmental body contact numbers, FAQ’s on a variety of topics and an explanation of the options open to employers and their employees.
  • Details of changes that occurred between 27 March and 14 April.

Dedicated TERS Blogs

Update 7 May: The Department for Employment and Labour has not yet started accepting TERS applications for the month of May. They have requested that applicants continue to revisit the website until applications for May become live.

8 May Update blog: clarification on the manner in which you calculate TERS benefit payouts, as well as the effect of employer contributions on the TERS benefit amount.

New System Item: TERS Benefit Payout Contents:

  • Details of how you can record employee’s TERS payout on the payslip using SimplePay.

Update to TERS Application Channel Content:

  • New mandatory online application method (CSV Export is still utilised).

COVID-19 TERS CSV Export Content:

  • Details surrounding the TERS CSV export required when applying, which can be exported from Simplepay.

A full list of COVID-19 related posts, including information on UIF claims can alternatively be found on our website. 

Additional Updates

30 April: Lockdown Level 4

Following President Ramaphosa’s speech on 21 April, tomorrow South Africa will enter into lockdown level 4. This reduces the strictness of the measures that have been in place over the last 6 weeks, and provides opportunities for some businesses to reopen their doors.

The Government website provides information on what the changes that will come into place tomorrow are. A page on these measures can be found here.

Status of Changes from the Finance Minister’s Speech – 28 April

There was mention of an increase in the COVID-19 Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) amount from R500 to R750; When does this come into effect?

The increase in the amount of ETI will be given legal effect when the changes to the Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and the Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill are passed into law. These were meant to have been released today, 30 April, but unfortunately appear to have been delayed.

If you have any questions on ETI in the meantime, a useful source is the SARS Question and Answer page, found here.

We are making good progress on finishing the necessary adjustments to our system for you with respect to ETI, in time for the 7 May deadline. If it does turn out that this increase of R750 per employee is retrospective to 1 April, and you have already completed your EMP201 submissions we shall endeavor to ensure that the ETI carries over to the next month. If this is not possible for whatever reason, we shall get in contact with you to request that you resubmit your EMP201s.

How will the Skills Development Levy Holiday Function?

As above with ETI, we are still waiting for the release of the Bills to know how this is going to function. 

This is a less pressing matter though as the initial drafts from SARS do not have the commencement of the payment holiday until 1 May, or in other words until your next pay run. We shall therefore get back to you as soon as we know more about this.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I track the progress of my TERS application?

In our blog on 24 April, we mentioned the new TERS application tracker. This is likely the fastest way to follow the progress of any applications which you have. 

Alternatively, you can call the TERS hotline on 012 337 1997.

Something has gone wrong during my online application to TERS – HELP! 

Sadly we cannot express any special knowledge as to what may have happened during an online application to TERS. Therefore we would recommend that you persevere with trying to contact the TERS hotline on 012 337 1997. We understand that this is an incredibly stressful and frustrating situation and will continue in our endeavors to obtain and provide any additional information we can.

I have submitted a UIF application through SimplePay, but have not received a response yet; what should I do?

Having submitted an application for UIF using SimplePay, first you will receive a status reading “awaiting response”, which will then change to “confirmed”. 

At this moment in time it is taking a minimum of seven (7) days for a response to come back from UIF. Therefore, we would request that you wait a minimum of seven (7) days before contacting us with a query on this. If, after this period, your submission has still seen no progress please feel free to get in touch with our customer service team on [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