EMP501 Reconciliation to Reflect 2020 SDL Holiday

Background

As part of the government’s efforts to assist the cash flow of employers during the initial 2020 Covid-19 lockdown months, provisions were added to the Disaster Management Tax Act to relax payment of SDL to SARS for the period of 1 May 2020 to 31 August 2020 (the “affected months”).

SimplePay followed the guidelines from government, which stated that the correct way to record this payment holiday would be by replacing the 1% percentage in the SDL calculation by 0% on the monthly EMP201’s as a temporary change for the 4-month period. We also followed this change through to our bi-annual filing documents (EMP501 and tax certificates).

Declaration to Reflect SDL Holiday

With filing season open, SARS have identified that some employers are submitting EMP501’s and tax certificates with SDL recorded for the relief period, when it should be nil. As a result, the reconciliation process automatically flags SDL as payable for those months and thus overdue, which then results in interest and late payment penalties being incorrectly levied against the employer.

Last week, we notified you that SARS has flagged this issue and has requested that employers double check their SDL figures when completing the reconciliation. Although we were confident that this would not be an issue for most of our customers, we chose to pass the notice on, to cater for any customers who do not make use of the filing documents generated by SimplePay (e.g. those who outsource submissions).

We apologise for any concern that this notification may have caused. Our development team have run additional tests on customer data and we would like to assure you that the SDL is recorded correctly on the EMP501 and tax certificates generated by SimplePay.

You can confirm this by opening the PDF version of your EMP501, where you’ll see the SDL values for May to August as zero under the SDL heading.

Credit for Payments Made

If, despite the correct declaration of 0%, you in fact paid the SDL to SARS for the affected months, the SDL amount paid will be indicated as an unallocated credit on your statement of account. The SDL for this period will again be declared as 0% on your 2021 EMP501 reconciliation as well as the IRP5/IT3(a) certificates.


If you have any questions on any of the information provided in this blog and how it further relates to SimplePay, you can contact us at [email protected] 

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS Phase 2: Non-Sectoral Claim Applications

In our previous blog post covering the COVID-19 TERS initiative, we introduced Phase 2 of the initiative and discussed the requirements for making an application for relief on behalf of an employee for the first period, under Claim Code 1. In today’s blog post, we will cover the process relating to claims under the remaining codes (2, 3 and 4), for which applications officially opens on 13 April 2021.

One of the notable highlights of the State of the Nation address earlier this year was the announcement of the extension of the COVID-19 TERS relief scheme from 16 October 2020 to 15 March 2021. This ‘Phase 2’ of the COVID-19 TERS relief scheme is split into two payment iterations which will focus on claims based on loss of income during two specific periods. 

  • The first period is between 16 October to 31 December 2020; and
  • The second period is between 1 January to 15 March 2021. 

Only claims for the first period are currently being accepted by the UIF and claims relating to the second period will be dealt with at a later date.

New Verification Requirements Added

In order to claim for an employee falling under Claim Code 2, 3 or 4 the TERS online portal will require you to complete a new two step verification process. A detailed explanation of each of these codes can be found here.

The verification process revolves around the requirements set out in the guideline on the submission of COVID-19 related health data from workplaces to the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH), which places the legal obligation on all employers to collect and report data on certain categories of employees to the NIOH. The UIF have decided to use the registration and submission of this data to the NIOH by the employer as a means of verification for the processing of non-sector based claims.

Employers who are not registered with the NIOH will be unable to proceed with a claim under Claim Code 2, 3 or 4..

To register with the NIOH you are directed to visit their website to complete the registration and employee declaration. At least 4 days should be allowed between receipt of your Business ID, upon successful registration, and returning to the TERS portal to lodge a claim.

Claim Process

  1. All claims will be lodged via the UIF online portal and, irrespective of claim code, you will be required to upload the following documents:
  • Signed approval / acceptance letter;
  • Bank Confirmation Letter (current);
  • Proof of payment to employees for previous benefits claimed & received for the prior period (e.g. EFT, payroll report, pay recon);
  • Refund to the UIF (if applicable); and
  • Letter of authority

(these are the same documents required for previous TERS applications)

  1. If you intend making a claim on behalf of an employee falling under Claim Code 2, 3 or 4 you will be required to complete the two step verification process:

Step 1: Verification of Employer Registration with NIOH

You will be asked to confirm (via dropdown) your registration with the NIOH and also that you have declared your affected employees.

Step 2: Verification of Employee Declaration with NIOH

You will be required to individually capture the details of each affected employee, whose ID/Passport/Asylum seeker number will be verified against those in the NIOH database.

Important Areas to Note When Applying

Lockdown Period

Benefits will be calculated by the amount of days claimed within the designated lockdown period, which is from 16 October 2020 to 31 December 2020. Any dates which do not fall within this range will not be accepted.

Monthly Salary

Regardless of the lockdown period being claimed (even if for the full two-and-a-half months’ lockdown period) you must only enter the normal monthly salary for the employee. DO NOT alter/extrapolate this value to meet the cumulative lockdown period.

Remuneration earned for hours worked (excluding leave income and advance)

Unlike monthly salary, this column must reflect the full lockdown period’s cumulative remuneration. The remuneration earned for the entire period must be stated but all advances, ex gratia payments, or income related to annual or other leave must be excluded.


Although Phase 2 of the COVID-19 TERS initiative is seen as an extension of the previous relief program, it is important to note the key differences in Phase 2 relating to who the benefit is actually aimed at. Each specified Claim Code has its own identifying factors and criteria which must be strictly adhered to. This undoubtedly limits the applicability of the initiative this time around and greatly reduces the potential beneficiaries of the relief.  

The UIF can be contacted directly on 0800 030 007 for general queries on this issue as well as the lodging of disputes relating to an application. Greater detail on the process can also be found in the UIF’s correspondence sent to employers. 

If you have any questions on how the information provided in this blog relates to SimplePay, you can contact us at [email protected] 

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

COVID-19 TERS Phase 2 Claim Process

Update 19 March 2021: The UIF has released a Frequently Asked Questions Document on the two extended periods. To view it, click here.

Today’s blog post highlights the salient points from the UIF’s correspondence with employers on 3 March 2021 regarding the two new extension periods for Covid-19 TERS: 16 October to 31 December 2020, and 1 January to 31 March 2021. 

Who Can Claim?

Subject to falling within one of the relevant claim codes, the TERS benefit for the extended periods is available for any employees who are registered with the UIF as a contributor and who have not been able to work normally. Each of these elements are broken down below:

Registered with the UIF

This requirement stipulates that only employees who are registered to contribute to UIF are eligible for Covid-19 TERS payments. 

Have not been able to work normally

To be able to claim the benefits for the two extended periods, employees need to fall into one of the following four categories:

CategoryDescription
Claim Code 1Employees (on temporary lay-off or reduced working time) within those sectors that have not been able to operate due to regulatory restrictions as per directives issued. A list of these sectors is detailed in the table below – to verify your company’s eligibility, the UIF will require you to provide the relevant Sector Industry Class (SIC) for your business.
Claim Code 2Employees aged 60 and above, and who cannot be reasonably accommodated at work.
Claim Code 3Employees in isolation and quarantine to prevent the spread of Covid19.
Claim Code 4Employees with co-morbidities and who cannot be reasonably accommodated at work.

Additional Info: Eligible Sectors for Claim Code 1

A list of the eligible sectors in Claim Code 1 is provided in the UIF’s correspondence on 3 March 2021, but is tabled below for your convenience:

  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Casinos
  • Museums, galleries, libraries and archives
  • Gyms and fitness centres
  • Restaurants
  • Venues hosting auctions
  • Venues hosting professional sports
  • Night clubs
  • Swimming pools
  • Bars, taverns and shebeens
  • Public parks
  • Domestic and international air travel
  • Rail, bus services and taxi services
  • E-hailing services
  • Sale, dispensing and distributions, and transportation of liquor
  • Beaches, dams, rivers and lakes
  • Passenger ships
  • Venues where social events are held
  • Venues hosting concerts and live performances
  • Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses
  • Conferencing, dining, entertainment and bar facilities
  • International sports, arts and cultural events
  • Professional services (cleaning and security) within regulated restricted sectors (e.g. hospitality)
  • Other services and activities within regulated restricted sectors (e.g. hospitality)

When to Apply

Applications for the 16 October to 31 December 2020 period are open for employees eligible for TERS under the first category (Claim Code 1). The UIF is still tweaking their system to accommodate applications for employees eligible for TERS under categories 2, 3 and 4; they will communicate as soon as the system is ready to accept these applications.

The UIF is not yet accepting TERS applications for the 1 January to 31 March 2021 period; the opening date for these applications will be announced in due course.

How To Claim

The application process remains the same as the first extension period.  Your applications need to be accompanied by the following documentation:

  • Signed approval / acceptance letter (i.e. the Memorandum of Agreement or application, pre-signed by and for the UIF)
  • Bank Confirmation Letter (current)
  • Proof of payment to employees for previous benefits claimed and received for the prior period (e.g. EFT, payroll report, pay recon)
  • Refund to the UIF (if applicable)
  • Letter of authority

The claim for eligible employees can be captured either on the TERS online portal itself or by completing the spreadsheet template attached to the UIF’s email (also available to download here).

Unfortunately the CSV upload facility is not currently available for these applications, so it is of utmost importance that you ensure that the relevant information is captured correctly in the online portal or spreadsheet. 

To complete the application correctly, the UIF highlights the following critical data fields in particular:

FieldImportant Notes from the UIF
Monthly SalaryThis needs to be the employee’s regular monthly salary and should not be increased in line with the full application period
Remuneration Earned for Hours Worked (Yellow Column on Spreadsheet)This amount must reflect the full lockdown period’s cumulative remuneration, i.e. the amount you have paid your employee between 16 October and 31 December 2020 for the work they’ve done across this full lockdown period but not  payment of advances, leave entitlements or gifts.

Should you have any questions on any of the above, you can contact the UIF on 0800 030 007. Greater detail can also be found in the UIF’s correspondence sent to employers. 

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information provided relates to SimplePay, you can contact us at [email protected] 

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

February Adjusted Level 3 Amendments

Last night (1 Feb 2021) President Ramaphosa once again took to the TV screen to update South Africans on the coronavirus pandemic. The arrival of the first set of vaccines and a reduction in cases has allowed the Government to announce some relaxations to adjusted level 3 regulations, which were previously covered in this blog post from 14 January. 

From 1 February, the rules relating to Adjusted level 3 are as follows:

Hotspot & Non-Hotspot Areas
Curfew23:00 – 04:00 daily
Business closing timesNon-essential stores close at 22:00*
GatheringsAll uncontrolled social gatherings are prohibited. Gatherings at businesses and faith-based institutions are permitted, in line with occupancy limitations, health protocols and social distancing. Remote working is still encouraged where possible.
Beaches, dams, lakes and riversOpen, subject to health protocols and social distancing.
Businesses that must remain closedNight clubs
Sale and distribution of alcoholOffsite consumption
Mon – Thurs: Permitted 10:00-18:00
Fri – Sun: Not permitted**

Onsite consumption
Mon – Sun: Permitted 10:00-22:00 for licensed premises.

*List of establishments which must close by 22:00: Cinemas; theatres; casinos; museums, galleries and archives; gyms and fitness centres; restaurants; venues hosting auctions; bars taverns; shebeens and venues hosting professional sport.

**wineries, wine farms, microbreweries and microdistilleries exception: these institutions may provide alcohol for on and off-site consumption throughout the week under adjusted level 3, provided they adhere to the curfew (22:00), health protocols and social distancing measures.

From the table above you can see that the current adjusted level 3 removes the restrictions on hotspots. It also allows the vast majority of businesses that were forced to close under adjusted level 3 to reopen their doors.

We hope that you have found this information useful and that these relaxations give you a boost for the start of February. If you have any questions for us, you can contact us at [email protected].

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

UIF Payment Process Relaxed

At the end of last month, the UIF announced that it will be cutting away some of the red tape to help prevent labour centre queues spreading COVID-19.

The UIF now intends to deal directly with employers, who’ll need to collect retrenched employees’ benefit applications and supporting documents for the UIF. While the Department of Labour refines the new processes that they’ll use, you can expect to receive follow-ups to your submission.

To help reduce the number of people going to labour centres, the UIF has implemented the following measures:

  • Individuals enrolled for UIF benefits will not need to go to the department for a monthly continuation form. This will instead be calculated from the previous month’s statistics.
  • Application status updates will be provided to individuals by SMS, removing the need to follow up in person.
  • The UIF is setting up a USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) service, to facilitate faster access to information.

You can read the UIF’s media statement here.

We hope that this information has proved helpful to you. If you have any questions for us, you can contact us at [email protected]

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS Update Blog: 22 December 2020

Our blog post today draws your attention to our new FAQ, based on the UIF’s TERS update letters from 15 and 18 December 2020. As TERS draws to a close, these letters, and therefore our FAQs, provide information relevant to the 16 September to 15 October application period. They also cover information on correcting earlier periods’ applications, yet to be accepted and / or processed.

You can find our FAQs on this help site page. The FAQs are:

We hope that the FAQ proves useful. If you have any questions on how the above information relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

President’s Speech – 14 December 2020

Last night the President addressed the nation for the second time this month on the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and how the Government plans to counter them. Some of the new rules announced are particularly important for businesses, so these are what the blog post today focuses on.

Masks and Social Distancing

The authorities are going to be more active in enforcing compliance with measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. You as managers and business owners are now responsible for ensuring that employees and customers entering your premises or vehicle are wearing masks.

Failure to enforce these rules on your employees or customers could expose you to fines or even six (6) months imprisonment.

Gatherings

Some of the key points on changes to permitted gatherings are as follows:

  • Gatherings are limited to 250 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.
  • All gatherings need to provide ventilation and hand sanitiser, as well as practice social distancing and mask wearing.
  • Certain hotspots for gatherings will be fully or partially closed across the festive season (16 December 2020 to 3 January 2021). Fully closed areas currently include the Eastern Cape and Garden Route.
  • Beaches and parks that aren’t closed will be open between 9am and 6pm.

It is important that you keep up to date with the latest news on any restrictions as rules are subject to change, dependent on increase or decrease of transmission in a region.

Hospitality and Goods

As the President suggested a second wave is possible, the focus of the Government is to try and maintain economic activity, whilst limiting the spread of the virus. This is reflected in the restrictions and rules that have been placed on the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The new rules are:

  • There is a national curfew between 11pm and 4am.
  • Restaurants and bars must close by 10pm to allow staff time to return home before curfew.
  • Alcohol can be sold in shops Monday to Thursday, between 10am and 6pm
  • Vineyards and wine tastings may resume on the weekends and may include purchases for offsite consumption. 

Although the above restrictions may limit your business, it is encouraging that emphasis is being placed on keeping the wheels of the economy turning.

You can read the President’s full speech by following this link.

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. As always, if you need to get in touch with a member of the team, you can contact us at [email protected]

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS Updates for September October Applications

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

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

Post Verification Audit

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

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

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

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

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

Issue with SOME September / October TERS Applications

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

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

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

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

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS Application Period for September / October Open

We are happy to start the blog today with news that applications for TERS benefits for the period of 16 September to 15 October are now open. We mentioned this previously in our blog post on the President’s national address, but we can now provide you with more details.

The application period opened yesterday, 23 November and runs until 31 December 2020. The eligibility criteria remain the same as for the 16 August to 15 September period, with more information available on this here. As always, you need to make the claim via the TERS portal and upload the relevant documents along with your application.

First Time Applicants

It is still possible for you to apply for TERS for the first time, but it should be noted that you will only be able to apply for the 16 September to 15 October period. If you wish to claim, you’ll need to activate your profile online as soon as possible on the TERS portal, following the instructions to sign the Memorandum of Association and Letter of Undertaking.

If you experience any difficulty you can call the UIF on 0800 030 007. They will provide you with a reference number, which can be used as evidence of your efforts to comply if your submission is late. 

Bank Verification

Our last blog post on TERS covered in detail many of the problems that have arisen through the bank verification steps. If you are continuing to experience any issues with bank verification, that post may provide a useful port of call. 

As the bank verification process is fully automated, the details you provide have to exactly match those that the bank has. If in any doubt, please contact your bank to make sure that the details you input are correct.

Digital UI-19

The UIF has stated that It is ceasing to process manual UI-19 submissions. In its place, the UIF has introduced an online equivalent called Digital UI19. The aim of this is to streamline their operations and reduce the amount of manual inputting on their side.

SimplePay users, no need to be alarmed! With the exception of foreign employees, who have to be submitted separately for TERS, if you are a part of SimplePay we enable you to generate and send  your UIF submissions from the SimplePay site. Easy, we know. This in turn means you don’t have to manually input data and can avoid the dreaded typo!

Because of this, you can read the following explanation on Digital UI19 safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to get to grips with new software. 

So… Digital UI19, what is it?

Digital UI19 provides a way for employers to fill in an online spreadsheet with the relevant information, download it and then send it to the UIF, where it will be automatically processed. To us this sounds like a lot of extra typing. You could nonetheless do this and brush up on your touch typing (yawn)…

… or you could start / continue using SimplePay, make payroll a breeze and treat yourself with all that time you’ve saved!

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] 

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

State of the Nation Address: 11 November 2020

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

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

TERS

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

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

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

State of National Disaster

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

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

COVID-19 Social Grant

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

Respect for Those Lost to Coronavirus

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

We hope that this information has been useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay