This blog is a follow up to our previous blog post dated 30 July 2021, regarding the Expanded ETI scheme being introduced by the National Treasury and SARS for the period of 1 August 2021 to 30 November 2021.
On 12 August 2021, the National Treasury and SARS released draft legislation aiming to assist businesses in light of COVID-19 restrictions. Amongst other things, these Bills replicate the additional ETI that was rolled out in April 2020.
The ETI relief eligibility requirements and benefits which are now being introduced will be very much the same as the ETI measures introduced in April 2020 and are discussed in the draft explanatory note released by SARS. In summary, the measures being introduced are:
- A R750 increase in the monthly maximum ETI allowable for qualifying employees.
- An expansion of the “qualifying employees” criteria to include employees who:
- no longer qualify due to their 24 months of ETI entitlement being exhausted;
- were ineligible due to having been employed before 1 October 2013; or
- were ineligible due to being aged between 30 and 65.
- The removal of the “gross up” calculation during this period for wages earned by employees working less than 160 hours per month. The requirement that ETI claimable must be “grossed down” is unchanged by the amendments.
- Monthly ETI reimbursements instead of bi-annual reimbursements for the duration of the Expanded ETI scheme (Aug – Nov).
- The introduction of an anti avoidance measure to limit abuse of the process where the employer tries to claim ETI after reducing the employee’s wage.
Important Points to Note:
Additional ETI Amounts
As in the previous ETI expansion in 2020, the amount of ETI claimable has been increased across the board by an amount of R750. As before, the ETI claimable for each employee may be adjusted on a sliding scale depending on the income range applicable to the employee. The effect of this change on each of the three income bands is discussed in detail on our Additional ETI (COVID-19) help page.
Definition of Monthly Remuneration
The definition of monthly remuneration has been amended for this period by deleting the provision that it must be ‘grossed up’ if the employee’s ‘employed and remunerated’ hours for the month are less than 160.
The rationale for this is that many employees have been forced to work less hours during the recent lockdown and restricted work periods caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and strictly applying the grossing up rule during this period would defeat the purpose of this relief
This also means that employees who previously did not qualify for ETI due to low ‘employed and remunerated’ hours may now qualify.
Minimum Wage Qualifying Requirement
There is a Wage Qualifying requirement for employees to accrue ETI benefits which specifies that an employee must be paid the higher of:
- the relevant national minimum wage;
- An applicable industry wage regulating measure; or
Option C has been removed and does not have effect over this period, which means that an employer who is not subject to the National Minimum Wage Act and also does not abide by an industry set minimum wage, will not qualify for ETI at all during August to November 2021.
Extended Age Eligibility
In an aim to increase the number of employees who would qualify for ETI, the two age-related criteria are amended for the period August – November 2021. The result of these changes are that the following employees are now eligible to claim the Additional ETI:
- Employees aged 18 – 29 who no longer qualified for ETI as the full allowable 24 months of ETI had already been claimed;
- Employees aged 18 – 29 who were ineligible as they were employed before 1 October 2013; and
- Employees aged 30 – 65 who were ineligible due to their age and/or they were employed before 1 October 2013.
“Grossing down” of ETI Value
If an employee is employed for less than 160 hours in a month, the allowed ETI must be grossed down based on the ratio of ‘employed and paid remuneration’ hours to 160 hours.
Monthly Reimbursement of ETI
To assist employer cash flow and as part of the relief provided by the Expanded ETI program, employers will be allowed to claim excess ETI at the end of every month from August 2021 to November 2021, as opposed to the usual twice per year.
The special ETI relief that potentially increases the total value of the ETI starts in August 2021, which is the last month of the current 6-month cycle.
Interim tax certificates for the 2022 tax year will therefore include one month (August 2021) of the enhanced ETI tax relief period.
Now that employers could potentially have an increased ETI value for August, it is important to note that if the full ETI amount owing is not claimed as described above on the August EMP201 (due by 7 September 2021), any excess ETI owing to the employer will be forfeited.
At the end of this period, the normal 6-monthly ETI refund cycle will apply from the month after the end of the 2021 Expanded ETI relief period.
SimplePay System Updates
In keeping with our aim and promise to keep you compliant, our team have implemented the updates required to apply the Expanded ETI rules retroactively to 1 August 2021 in time for the EMP201 deadline, being 7 September 2021.
In order to claim additional ETI for your employees, you will need to have this set up on your company profile. To do this simple go to:
Settings → Payroll Calculations → Additional ETI (COVID-19)
Note that the 2021 date range will automatically be selected and the Additional ETI calculated for you if you already had this set up on your profile and claimed additional ETI for your employees in 2020.
Employers making use of the Additional ETI functionality for the first time will be required to set the Additional ETI date range and select ‘calculate’ in order to effect the Additional ETI for 2021.
Any further queries on details or implementation of the Expanded ETI rules can be directed to the SARS helpline on 0800 00 7277.
Keep well and stay safe.