Lockdown Level 2

Note: This information was correct at the time of writing, being based on the Government’s related media releases.

Today (18/08/2020) is the first day that South Africa has dropped down to lockdown level 2 out of 5. But what does this actually mean? In today’s blog we shall outline the new changes and provide a summary table of what changed between each level of lockdown. 

Level 2

Travel and Accommodation

For the first time since 27 March 2020, people living in South Africa are allowed to travel between provinces for leisure purposes. This relaxation comes at the same time as the removal of the limit to the range of accommodation facilities which can be used, meaning that those of you in the hospitality sector can once again welcome nationwide guests. 

Gatherings

Under level 2, provided that you observe the Government Regulations on social distancing and health protocols, a number of gatherings are now permitted. This further expands the number of businesses that are able to operate under level 2. You can read the full list of permitted gatherings in section 55 of the Government gazette, but we have picked out a handful of the most relevant ones below:

  • Accommodation establishments and tour operators (up to 50% of available floor space, with patrons at least 1.5 metres apart)
  • Bars, taverns, shebeens and similar establishments (up to 50 people)
  • Concerts and live performances (up to 50 people)
  • Tourist attractions
  • Gyms, subject to guidelines (up to 50 people)
  • Swimming pools (up to 50 people)
  • Sports grounds and fields
  • Beaches and public parks

Sale of Alcohol and Cigarettes

The Government has relaxed its stance on the sale of alcohol, meaning that bars, restaurants and other institutions with a license to sell alcohol on-site can again do so, provided strict adherence to the 10pm curfew.

Additionally, alcohol can now be sold in shops between the hours of 9am to 5pm. Cigarettes may also now be sold in shops.

Businesses that must Remain Closed

Despite the majority of businesses, there are a number which must remain closed at this moment under level 2. These are:

  • 1. Night clubs
  • 2. International passenger air travel for leisure purposes
  • 3. Passenger ships for international leisure purposes
  • 4. Attendance of any sporting event by spectators
  • 5. International sports events
  • 6. Exclusions relating to public transport services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport

Comparative Table of Lockdown Levels

Below is a comparative table between lockdown levels 5 to 2. If changes were made within the period of a certain lockdown level, the changed position will be recorded within the table. For a more detailed evaluation of the level, you can click on the link at the head of each column.

Lockdown LevelFive (5) Four (4)Three (3)Two (2)
Effective Date27/03/202001/05/202001/06/202017/08/2020
ShoppingFood, medicine and healthcare onlyFood, medicine, healthcare and limited others Most shopping reopened, but alcohol and tobacco sales remain prohibitedMajority of shopping reopened
TravelNone, except essentialNone, except essential and for businessBusiness travel and Intra-provincial leisure travelAll Inter-provincial travel, including domestic flights
Permitted GatheringsNone, except for funeralsFunerals, workplaces and obtaining certain goods and servicesA large number of gatherings permitted, subject to conditionsA large number of gatherings permitted, including amateur sport and small social events
Public SpacesClosedLimited number open, e.g. exercise permitted between 6 – 9amLimited number open for activities e.g. exercise between 6:00 – 18:00Open, subject to the Minister announcing closure and adherence with health protocols
Workplaces  Open for the provision of Food, medicine and healthcare onlyOpen for the provision of Infrastructure, manufacturing and food, as well as some other services.Majority reopened, except for some accommodation establishments and nightclubsMajority reopened
LeisureNoneNoneLarge number of services reopened within provinces, minus gyms, sports facilities, beaches and othersMajority of services reopened, minus nightclubs, spectating live sport and limited others

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

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, you can get a formal quote, sign up for our 30-day free trial or learn how to get set up on SimplePay. Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our amazing support team at [email protected] 

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Easing of Tourism Industry Restrictions Under Level 3

On 30 July 2020, the Minister for Tourism gave a speech on the relaxation of certain lockdown measures affecting the tourism industry. Subsequently, these announced changes have been released in a Government gazette, meaning that you are now allowed to do the actions referred to in the speech. In the blog today we will be picking out the key aspects of the speech and explaining what exactly you can now do under level 3 of lockdown.

Restaurants

The nine o’clock curfew has had a greater adverse impact on the restaurant industry in comparison to most others. This restriction has had the effect of limiting the number of prospective customers at one of the busiest periods for restaurants. 

Responding to this, the Government has extended curfews to 10pm, thus accommodating later dinner services.

Leisure Accommodation

Restrictions to domestic and leisure travel have resulted in a large, if not total, shrinkage in business for accommodation establishments.

As of 1 August,  if you are an accommodation establishment, you will be able to welcome customers from within your own province. We must emphasise that this easing is only for intra-provincial travel, i.e. no travel between provinces for leisure purposes. There are also the following two provisos:

  1. No more than two people per room is allowed (except for parents staying in a room with their children).
  2. Short term home rentals and home sharing remains closed.

Safari Tour Operators

Prior to the new Regulations, only self-driven safari tours were permitted under level 3. The changes mean that if you are a tour operator, you can carry out open air guided tours, subject to certain directions.  

COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme

Use of the newly revised COVID-19 Loan Guarantee scheme was encouraged by the Minister in her speech. The new revisions aim to make it easier for companies in all sectors to access loans for operational costs, on preferential terms.  You can now also apply for business restart loans to assist you in the costs of reopening your business.

More information on the scheme and the changes in requirements can be found in this official guide.

Tourism Sector Recovery Plan

On 1 August, a draft of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan was released for public comment. Subject to amendments, this provides you with a roadmap for how the Department for Tourism aims to navigate through the coming months.

Reading the draft recovery plan should give you a better understanding of the Department for Tourism’s strategy for rejuvenating the tourism sector is. If you want to give any input on the recovery plan, this must be sent to [email protected] by 15 August 2020.

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

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Gross Remuneration Override for UI-19

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked swiftly to bring you solutions to new payroll challenges that arose. One of these was the introduction of the pre-populated individual UI-19 form (announced here), saving you the inconvenience of having to fill out these forms manually. We’ve now introduced an override option for the Total (Gross) Per Month field, so you can further tailor the form to your employees’ circumstances, if necessary.

The Total (Gross) Per Month should contain the value of the employee’s regular remuneration subject to UIF, and as such, the field is pre-populated with the gross remuneration earned by the employee in the month prior to the month of termination. This is because remuneration from the month of termination is often distorted, due to pro-rata earnings, leave paid out, severance pay and other transactions that arise as a result of termination. The prior month’s earnings therefore have a higher probability of accurately reflecting the employee’s regular earnings. 

To cater for employees whose earnings fluctuate frequently or whose month prior to termination was abnormal, the new override option gives you the flexibility to enter the gross remuneration that best reflects the average earnings of the employee. You can make use of the payslip items on the Transaction History Report generated by SimplePay or the Income Subject to UIF in the UIF Trace (outlined under the UIF Contributions heading here) when determining this figure. Alternatively, you can contact the UIF if you are uncertain.

To make use of the override option, follow these steps:

  • Click on Manage End of Service for an employee whose service has already been terminated on the system
  • Under Service Period History, click on Termination Certificate Inputs
  • Enter the monthly remuneration amount into the Override Gross Remuneration (UI-19) field
  • Click Save

It’s that simple! The individual UI-19 form will now reflect the gross remuneration that you entered.

For more information on terminations, the following help articles are available:

If these help articles do not solve your query and you need further assistance, please reach out to our support team.

Not a SimplePay client? All of the forms and functionality covered in this blog post and on our help site are only available to SimplePay clients. The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial and sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here. Come and experience the joy of stress-free payroll.

Team SimplePay

Ending Service on SimplePay

One of the demands that COVID-19 has placed on businesses is the need to be flexible in the number of staff under their employ at a certain period in time. We at SimplePay appreciate this and so the blog today is aimed at informing you on what you need to do to accommodate your situation through the system to ensure accurate submissions, enable employees to claim benefits and prevent unnecessary billing.

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

Recap for June

Welcome to the second half of 2020! The year so far has been a bumpy ride and while we realise that the journey is not yet over, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank you for your support during these first six months. Over this period we have strived for continued excellence in meeting your payroll needs despite the challenge of ever-changing regulations and processes, and thank you for your patience and understanding during periods of high support queries.

As we move forward into the latter half of 2020, here’s a quick recap of the new features and pertinent information from the last month:

NEW FEATURES

Amongst other smaller or less visible improvements and updates, our fantastic development team managed to introduce the following new features in June:

Web View for Payslips

The web view for payslips allows you to see the payslip items that do not impact nett pay directly without having to open the PDF version of the payslip. This view also gives you access to additional traces, such as UIF. Read more.

UIF, SDL, and Retirement Deduction Traces

The web view for a payslip now allows you to see traces for how UIF, SDL and retirement deductions are calculated. Read more.

ETI Breakdown and ETI Trace

A new web view for EMP201s was introduced, with an ETI breakdown and ETI trace, allowing you to see exactly how the ETI on an EMP201 is calculated. Read more.

Download UIF Files and Responses

The introduction of TERS lead to an increased importance being placed on the UIF DecIaration and its timely, monthly submission. In response, we expanded our functionality to include downloads of the actual file submitted to the UIF, as the responses for the UIF submission. Read more.

Deleting Leave Requests

We expanded our functionality for deleting leave to provide a breakdown of leave that cannot be deleted as they are part of a finalised payslip. We also allow the option of deleting leave requests superficially or its entirety. Read more.

End Service Checklist

The End Service Checklist reminds you about positive leave balances, savings and employer loans when ending an employee’s service from their profile. Read more.

Wow! All of that in one month! Pretty cool, right? 

Besides cool features, we also brought you important information updates. This is covered in the next section. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Additional COVID-19 ETI

The rules for the additional ETI as a relief measure were amended by the government. Our system has been updated to factor these new rules in, so that it’s one less thing for you to worry about. Read more

Advance TERS Payments

We clarified how to deal with situations where you wish to provide advances to employees for TERS payments that are delayed or still being processed by the UIF. Read more.

TERS May and June Applications

The June applications for TERS opened and then subsequently were halted due to technical issues. They are likely to reopen over the weekend or early next week. The May application remains open. Read more..

POPI

The Protection of Personal Information Act came into force and became law on 1 July. Due to our stringent security measures, SimplePay has been compliant with these regulations long before they even came into effect. Read more.

We hope that the second half of the year marks a turning point and sees things improving and normalising. Whatever the coming months hold, we’ll continue to be here to support you and remain committed to providing you with high quality support, informational updates and maybe even a few more features.

If you require assistance, please head over to our extensive help site, which we are regularly updating. If your query cannot be answered using the help site, please reach out to our support team.

Not a SimplePay client but interested in the functionality mentioned in this blog post? 

The good news is that we offer a 30 day free trial and sign up is a breeze! You can find out more and sign up for a trial here. Join now and experience the joy of stress free payroll and SARS filing for years to come 🙂

Team SimplePay

Update: June TERS Applications

Since the announced opening of TERS applications for June, mentioned in our blog, the application portal site has experienced technical difficulties. This has resulted in June applications being closed until this glitch is ironed out. 

In a media statement, Minister Maruping suggested that testing may be done by Friday, so that applications for June can be reopened over the weekend.

The full media statement can be read here.

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, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.co.za.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

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

Reminder of ETI Minimum Wage Changes for May to July 2020

This is an important reminder that ETI should only be claimed if your employees earn at least the higher of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) applicable to them, or the wage specified by a wage regulating measure (e.g. a sectoral determination), if applicable.

During this time of crisis, more employers than ever are availing of the ETI scheme to help their finances. It is important to get it right, because the penalties can be steep.

You should only enable ETI for employees if you are sure they meet the higher of your sector’s wage regulating measure or the NMW. If your employees are working fewer hours than normal, but still meet the requirement per hour, it’s fine to claim ETI. If they are now earning less per hour than the minimum wage, ETI should not be claimed. Alternatively, if there is a single minimum wage applicable to all your employees, entering it under ETI settings will enable the system to automatically calculate 0 ETI for employees who do not qualify.

If you have not yet done so, you can update your ETI settings as described in this this section of our ETI help article. You can also find more on the COVID-19 ETI in this help article.

Please note that May’s payslips need to be unfinalised in order to effect the minimum wage change for May (if you had not already done so). We generally do not recommend unfinalising payslips as this can cause significant variances if regular items have been changed. Therefore, it is recommended that you take caution when doing this – ensure that you have saved a copy of all payslips, as well as the transaction history report for the period before unfinalising the payslips. You will then need to reconcile your new finalised payslips against the saved payslips used to pay employees.

It is important to note that there were minimum wage changes on 1 March 2020, as mentioned in this blog post.

If you have successfully applied for exemption from the NMW, and also do not have a minimum specified by a wage regulating measure, a minimum wage of R2000 per month could previously be used. However, effective 1 May 2020 to 31 July 2020, such employers no longer qualify for ETI at all.

Additional COVID-19 ETI Changes

In a previous blog post, we informed you of additional ETI as a COVID-19 relief measure. The revised Disaster Management Tax Relief bills have given rise to some changes:

  • The ETI claimable for those in the R0 – R1 999.99 bracket has changed, retrospectively effective from 1 April 2020.
  • Employees with an appointment date before 1 October 2013 are now eligible for the Additional ETI, retrospectively effective from 1 April 2020.
  • As with normal ETI, remuneration should be grossed up and additional ETI for April should be grossed down proportionately if an employee is employed for less than 160 hours per month. This grossing up of remuneration and grossing down of ETI no longer applies, effective 1 May 2020.
*The ETI amount changed for this bracket
** The employee’s wage must not be less than the higher of the minimum wage specified by a wage regulating measure and by the National Minimum Wage Act. This will need to be configured under Settings > Payroll Calculations > ETI.

SimplePay has implemented these changes to the system and automatically applied it to all payslips for April (even finalised ones). Therefore, all you need to do is:

  • Finalise the new EMP201 that is automatically generated by the system
  • Submit the new EMP201 information to SARS

Please also note:

  • The additional ETI is applicable until 31 July 2020
  • To qualify for the additional ETI, the employer must have been registered for PAYE after 25 March 2020
  • Employers that are not subject to a wage regulating measure AND that are exempt from the National Minimum Wage Act are not eligible from the additional ETI benefits for May – July 2020.

For more information, head to our help pages:

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

Team SimplePay

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