TERS: Updates and Clarifications

The blog post today is aimed at trying to provide some much needed clarity on the TERS process. These changes, as outlined in a recent UIF update letter, were first introduced in our blog post from 5 October. The content of this blog post is taken from and summarises the UIF’s official update letter dated 14 October, sent to all employers.

Our post today covers:

  1.  how to determine salary and remuneration paid on applications;
  2.  the finer details of the bank verification step;
  3.  an update on foreign national applications; and
  4.  a reminder of how to end service on SimplePay.

1.a – How to Determine the Correct Monthly Salary to Declare

The monthly salary column of your TERS CSV, should reflect the aggregate of the wage and fringe benefits you pay to each of your employees. As SimplePay pre-populates this column, provided your employee’s salary information is correct, there’s nothing further to worry about. It is worth noting that if this value is not accurate, the UIF has introduced a new verification step.

The UIF is cross referencing the “taxable earnings” value for your employees’ March 2020 uFiling submission, in order to ensure that salaries are not inflated. If the values differ, the lower value will be used for the calculation of TERS benefits.

This is not a retrospective change, meaning it will only be applied to applications that have been processed from 3 September onwards. The change will though apply to all applications past this date, regardless of the lockdown period to which they relate. Unfortunately, even if you had legitimate reasons for increasing an employee’s salary, there is no way to apply to receive the higher sum that this would yield. 

1.b – What is the Correct Value for Remuneration?

To answer this question, it helps to take one step back. An employee is entitled to TERS benefits where he or she earns a reduced salary due to:

  • business closure;
  • comorbidities (an illness which puts the employee at an increased risk);
  • reduced working hours; or
  • having to take a temporary reduction of salary due to operational requirements.

Any of your employees satisfying the above can receive TERS benefits. Importantly though, where your employees receive remuneration in addition to TERS benefits for any given period, this needs to be recorded. This is because the aggregate of the TERS payment, plus the reduced remuneration paid by you cannot be greater than the amount the employee would ordinarily earn. Because of this, it’s important you know what falls under remuneration.

The UIF has clarified that all amounts / payslip components that would normally count as remuneration are included, except for loans, advances and payments related to leave taken.

2. Bank Verification

As part of the improvements to the TERS process, bank verification steps have been introduced. To help avoid delays it is important that you provide correct banking information. 

Some of the most common reasons for the failure of bank verification include:

  • The incorrect Personal ID number is used. This should be that of the bank account holder. If it is a joint account, you should ensure that it is the primary holder’s ID used.
  • If the bank account is held in a trade name, it is important that it matches the bank account’s name. 
    • If the bank account includes special characters, these should be used
    • Do not include any “t/a” sections of the bank account information
    • If the account’s name is in Afrikaans, this is how it should appear

Single Bank Account for Several UIF Entities

If you have several companies that pay into one bank account and you wish to claim TERS benefits to all the employees of the different companies, you will need to use the “Trade Name Verification” option to verify these UIF entities.

On the TERS portal, you will need to change all of your companies’ names to match the company name stated on the bank account. This will mean that you will have more than one UIF entity with the same name on the TERS portal, but also allows you to apply for benefits for all employees.

If you are at all unsure about this we would encourage you to get in touch with the UIF on 0800 030 007.

3. Foreign Nationals Update

The UIF has said that it’s currently working with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the foreign nationals. No payments will be made until the UIF has verified individuals’ identities, but it hopes it will manage this within the next fortnight.

Foreign nationals must be declared via uFiling, regardless of whether you submitted their declarations to the UIF using SimplePay.

How To Change Existing Applications

If you now realise that there’s an issue with one or more of your applications, this can be done using the UIF’s discrepancy function. Corrections can only be made once per employee, per application period so it’s crucial that you make the amendments carefully and accurately.

The discrepancy functionality is open for claims made up to and including the July / August application period, and will open in due course for the later lockdown periods.

How To End Service on SimplePay

It is important to correctly reflect your employees’ current working status on SimplePay for several reasons. Having this information allows:

  • SimplePay to provide you with accurate auto filled TERS CSVs;
  • you to make correct submissions to SARS;
  • Your employees to claim UIF where necessary; and 
  • Reduces your monthly charge to the number of active employees

To allow for SimplePay to provide you with accurate auto filled TERS CSVs, make correct submissions to SARS and reduce your monthly premium to an appropriate amount, it is important to correctly reflect your employees’ current status on SimplePay.

For a reminder of how to end an employee’s service on SimplePay, you can read this previous blog post.

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 try out our service free? You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here, get to grips with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or try our free online course. Concerned about cost? Don’t be; we’ve simplified that too – check out our pricing page. Alternatively, you can request a formal quote if you need one here.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS Update and September Recap

Another month has passed by meaning that it is time to reflect on September’s events, as well as see what October has to offer. September has been an eventful month, with the country entering level 1 of lockdown and so triggering a number of changes. This is a good thing, providing more freedom for businesses to reopen and recover. 

In our blog today we will be giving you updates on some of  the changes brought about by level 1 of lockdown, as well as updates on the TERS process after its recent rehaul.

TERS Update

Update 5 October: Due to a water leak, the office running TERS operations is experiencing some downtime. They expect the issue to be resolved by the end of today.

Since our last blog covering the TERS process on 15 September, the UIF has significantly updated its safeguards. The process had to be halted in order for the UIF, now headed by acting commissioner Marsha Bronkhurst, to address the findings of the auditor general. 

On 21 September, after a two week pause, the UIF restarted its newer and better constituted TERS process. A key change is better bank verification, where you can opt to use your company’s CIPC / CK number, RSA ID number or the trade name which is linked to the account. 

You should be careful to ensure that the information you enter exactly matches the bank’s records. The UIF has advised that the verification steps won’t take place till you’re next due to receive payment, meaning that unless instructed otherwise by a notification on your TERS profile, any amendments you’ve made are either still to be checked or are correct.

Applications for 16 August to 15 September

Applications for TERS benefits between 16 August and 15 September opened last Thursday (1 October 2020). Before applying you must ensure that your employees were still eligible for TERS benefits during this period, i.e. 16 August to 15 September.

For more information on the application period and eligibility requirements, you can read this Department of Employment and Labour media statement.

Duration of the TERS scheme

The COVID-19 TERS Direction from 7 September 2020 gave us some clarity on how long this support will last. In summary, based off this Direction, TERS will come to a conclusion either:

  • When South Africa is no longer under a national state of disaster (currently due to end on 15 October); or
  • When the Minister announces its conclusion on an earlier date.

Level 1 – Effect on Businesses

The key effect of level 1 is that it allows almost all normal commercial activity to resume. Below we have summarised some of the key changes that affect economic activity.

Gatherings

Provided that the safety measures are followed, gatherings are now permitted up to 50% of a venue’s capacity. This is up to a maximum of 250 people for an indoor venue, or 500 people for an outdoor venue. 

An owner or operator of a venue where gatherings are held must display a certificate of occupancy, listing the maximum number of people permitted. The certificates are provided by your local municipality, meaning that you should be able to find out how to get one from their website.

Travel

Level 1 brings extremely positive news if you operate in the hospitality and travel industries. From 1 October, international travel is permitted, both into and from South Africa for business and leisure. We hope that this will provide a boost in business after what must have been an extremely trying time.

For travel by air, this is subject to the travellers country of origin not being on the red list, in addition to other safety measures such as the traveller providing a negative test upon arrival which is less than 72 hours old.

All 18 land borders are now open, subject to safety requirements and border post limitations. All docks are now also open, but passenger liners for luxury travel are still prohibited to disembark.

We hope that the timing of this change has been a good one and that October will mark a revival in your business.

You can find more information about travel restrictions on this Government page, under Alert level 1.

Economic Activity

Providing that all the relevant health protocols, social distancing measures, occupational health and safety direction and sector-specific health protocols are met, businesses can carry out economic activity. We hope that this is a positive and meaningful change for your business, that will help speed your recovery over the coming months.

Unfortunately the return to business is not universal. The  following list of activities are still not permitted at the date of writing:

  • Night vigils
  • Night clubs.
  • The 35 land borders that remain closed.
  • Initiation practices.
  • Passenger ships for international leisure purposes.
  • Attendance of any sporting event by spectators.
  • International sports events.
  • Exclusions relating to public transport services as set out in the directions issued by the Cabinet member responsible for transport.
  • Exclusions relating to education services as set out in the directions

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 try out our service on the house? You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. Get to grips with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or trying our free online course. Concerned about cost? Don’t be; we’ve simplified that too – check out our pricing page. Alternatively, you can request a formal quote if you need one here.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Filing Reminder and TERS Update

In the blog today we are writing to remind you about both the interim employer reconciliation and the individual income tax return deadlines, in addition to an update on COVID-19 TERS. Both of the filing submission periods are now open and we recommend that you complete your submissions in good time to avoid any complications.

Employer Interim Filing Season

This year the employer interim reconciliation submission period will run between 14 September and 31 October 2020. Within this period you will need to submit your EMP501 return and your employees’ IRP5 / IT3(a)s to consolidate the period between 1 March and 31 August.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, SimplePay automatically generates these forms from your previous submissions, with all the latest legislative changes taken account of. All you need to do is log onto [email protected] or eFiling and submit the required forms. It really is that easy!

Manual Individual Income Tax Return 

If you have already completed SARS new auto assessment process in August, as covered in this blog post, then you have already met your obligations and don’t need to do anything further. This reminder applies to you if you rejected or did not receive an auto assessment from SARS, but need to complete an individual income tax return.

If this is you, the submission period for individual income tax returns is between 1 September and 16 November 2020 if you are filing online. You can log into eFiling or the SARS Mobi App to complete your manual return.

COVID-19 TERS Update

The past few weeks have been challenging for the UIF with respect to COVID-19 TERS. The audit carried out showed a number of shortcomings in the validation steps for applications, which led to various misallocations of funds. As a result payments were halted on 11 September and access to the TERS portal was down over the past weekend to maintain and improve the process’s safeguards. The resumption of the payouts is yet to be announced, but we shall endeavour to let you know when this happens.

An additional point of note is that for those that meet the application requirements, TERS benefits have been extended to 15 September. The application deadline for this period is 30 October, after which no new applications will be accepted.

For all other application periods i.e. March to 15 August, the deadline for new applications is 17 September.

Update 16 September: The closing dates for new have been changed  as follows:

 New applications for March to end of May the deadline is now 25 September 2020. 

New applications for June the deadline is now 15 October 2020.

New Applications for July to 15 September the deadline is now 30 October 2020.

The media statements on the audit findings can be found here and the announcement of an extension to COVID-19 TERS can be found 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, why not try out our service on the house? You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. Get to grips with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or trying our free online course. Concerned about cost? Don’t be; we’ve simplified that too – check out our pricing page. Alternatively, you can request a formal quote if you need one here.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

End of Week Blog: 14 August

As we approach the halfway point for the month of August, today’s blog post will be looking at recent  COVID-19 TERS announcements, updates from SARS and a recap of some of our recent blog posts.

TERS Update

On 12 August, the Department of Employment and Labour announced that the opening of TERS applications for July / August will be on Monday, 17 August. This followed the Minister signing a Directive on the application of TERS for these months.

The Directive states that for the July / August period, applications can be made for employees whose employers are:

  1. not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations; 
  2. unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable works, (e.g. working from home or taking special measures); or are
  3. unable to make use of their employees’ services, due to restrictions to the permitted active workforce, caused by compliance with Directions and Regulations, such as staggered working.

The application process should be the same as for the previous months, with proof of disbursements to employees being required if you are selected to act as a conduit, in addition to the bank verification process.

To read the Directive, its explanatory memorandum, or an updated set of FAQ’s for the upcoming application process, you can visit this Department of Labour webpage

Reminder: Employer Interim Reconciliation Submission

The interim employer reconciliation period which runs between March and August ends this month, meaning that you will need to submit your EMP 501 and IRP5s / IT3(a)s next month. The submission period opens on 15 September and concludes on 31 October.

[email protected] BETA Testing

SARS is currently running final tests on the latest version of [email protected] in time for Employer Interim Reconciliation in mid-September.

Enhancements will include:

  • New source codes on the IRP5 to incorporate the legislative changes 
  • New letters regarding Remittance of Penalties and Interest, Notice of Non-Compliance Penalty 
  • Amended letters regarding excessive liability changes on the Employer Reconciliation, Employment Tax Validation, Notice of Assessment 
  • Amendment of PAYE dashboard 
  • Upgrade of the BETA Testing site 
  • Resubmission of rejected EMP501 reconciliation 
  • Time out while downloading a new version of [email protected] Employer 
  • New summary report of all certificates included in the EMP501 Reconciliation 
  • Synchronisation of eFiling and [email protected] Employer logons 

We are incorporating all the new codes and tax rules to our system, meaning that come September you can automatically generate the IRP5s / IT3(a)s and EMP501 needed, and submit them to SARS. Easy as that!

NEW FEATURES AND UPDATES

PAYE vs Income Tax

We have changed the labelling of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) on payslips from “Tax” to “Tax (PAYE)”. If you’d like to know more about our reasons for us doing this and the differences between the various forms of income tax, take a read through our blog.

Family Responsibility Leave

We have updated the name of Compassionate Leave to Family Responsibility Leave on SimplePay, to align our site more strongly with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. You can read more about this in our blog post.

Self-Service Employee Claim Request

We’ve expanded our self-service features to allow employees to claim expenses, travel allowances and custom items of various input types.

If you’d like to opt-in for these new and expanded features, you can find out how and read more about them here.

Employee Filtering Revamp

Having had requests to switch up how you’d like to be able to filter employees on SimplePay, we’ve listened and made some changes. You can read about our newly introduced and adapted filters in our blog post from 4 August.

RECAP

Easing of Tourism Restrictions

On 30 July, we updated you on the new rules for the tourism industry under level 3 of lockdown. You can read more about these relaxations here.

Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme

The Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme is aimed at intervening to help companies in distress or decline to re-strategise and put their business back on to a profitable trajectory.

If this sounds an interesting prospect, you can read more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply in our blog post.

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

Extension of COVID-19 TERS Scheme and Other Employment Related Matters

Yesterday (21 July 2020), the Department of Employment and Labour announced a very welcome extension of the COVID-19 TERS scheme until 15 August 2020.  The Deputy Minister announced this, along with some other noteworthy points at the Budget 31 conference. Therefore, in the blog today we will be looking at these latest proposals to counteract COVID-19 and stimulate the economy.

COVID-19 TERS

Update 4 August: The cut-off point for April and May TERS applications has been extended and closure will be subject to 14 day’s notice – Read more here.

As stated above, the TERS scheme  has been extended from 31 June to 15 August, providing an extra one and a half months of crucial support to help retain employees.

In her speech, the Deputy Minister also stated that the UIF is considering closing applications for April and May at the end of July, so we would strongly encourage you to apply if you haven’t already . It should be emphasised that all valid applications made before 1 August will still be processed and evaluated; 31 July is just a cut-off point for new applications.

COIDA

The Compensation Fund has stated its commitment to consider any claim from workers who contract the virus while at work. Successful applications could receive:

  • a pay-out for temporary disablement while the worker is in quarantine, self-isolation or hospitalized;
  • a payment of medical expenses; and
  • where the illness tragically results in fatality, the Fund will pay out survivor benefits to dependents in the form of a monthly pension and funeral benefit.

We covered such applications to the Compensation Fund in our very first COVID-19 Blog and more information on how to make submissions can be found in this Government Notice.

Additionally, proposed amendments to COIDA were outlined, showing the Compensation Fund’s new direction towards a “Rehabilitation and Return to Work Programme”. We shall keep our eyes open for updates on this in the near future.

Contacting the UIF

The UIF is revamping its call centre to better meet your needs. Changes include the introduction of an App and USSD services, which are due to go live in August. These changes are based on the feedback and issues encountered during the running of the TERS scheme; hopefully this will mean that we will benefit from a sleeker and more efficient system in the future. 

Additionally, the UIF has indicated that 10% of its assets will be set aside for use in Labour Activation Programmes. These programmes will support jobs and training as dictated by the needs of the labour market.

Other Announcements

The following additional points are important to note based on the topics discussed:

  • If your business relies upon non-resident workforces, you should keep abreast of policy changes in this area. A National Employment Policy is being developed, starting with the fast-tracked creation of a Labour Migration Policy to address immediate challenges.
  • If operating back at the workplace, you must ensure your workplace has a workplace plan and is compliant (see this blog). The recruitment of an additional 500 Occupational Health and Safety Officers by the Government’s Inspection and Enforcement Services branch is likely to be completed this month. This will help ensure compliance with the Health and Safety Regulations for returning to the work-place.
  • You should check your current health and safety protocols in preparation for updates to the legislation. The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill is to be tabled for the current session of Parliament.
  • It is imperative that you are complying with the National Minimum Wage Act. The CCMA (Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) has been working closely with Government branches to help enforce compliance with the National Minimum Wage, resulting in the recovery of short pay to workers.
  • Public employment services are to start operating mobile services across all provinces to bring the services to work-seekers. Additionally, an online registration process will be put in place to help accommodate social distancing.

Although this was just a speech, the proposals outlined are encouraging as they indicate an intention to continue supporting South African Businesses and people. Hopefully they will come into force smoothly.

If you would like to read the full speech by Deputy Minister Moloi, you can find it here

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

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

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

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

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

TERS for Foreign Employees and OID Comp Return of Earnings

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

Foreign Workers: COVID-19 TERS

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

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

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

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

Return of Earnings Submission Deadline

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

Relief Measures in Light of COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

We hope that this information proves useful to you. If you have any queries on how the above relates to payroll and the SimplePay system, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected].

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay