Updated App: Version 2.0

As part of our vision to simplify and revolutionise payroll, we’ve focused on creating an enjoyable user experience and a payroll system that is easily accessible. The release of our mobile app in March this year meant that employees can now access their payroll from their phone at any time – they’re essentially carrying their payslips around with them wherever they go.

We’re happy to announce the release of Version 2.0 of the app, available to Android and iOS users. Version 2.0 includes more functionality which lets you:

  • Submit a leave request (employees)
  • View leave requests (employees and approvers)
  • Update leave requests with comments (employees and approvers)
  • Upload documents to leave requests (employees and approvers)
  • Approve or deny the request (approvers)
  • View leave balances (employees and approvers)

These updates to the app mean that processing leave is now even easier. Employees can log a sick leave request while in bed, or use their mobile phone to take photos of their medical certificate and upload it into the app. Approvers can then approve the request while sipping on their morning coffee.

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Not a SimplePay user but want your employees to have access to their payslips and leave from their phones? Unfortunately our app is only available to SimplePay users, but we offer a free 30-day trial for you to examine just how easy payroll can be with SimplePay. You can sign up for our trial here.

Team SimplePay

Compassionate Leave is now Family Responsibility Leave on SimplePay

Since our inception, we’ve been using the global term ‘Compassionate Leave’ to represent short-term leave taken by employees when a close family member is ill or passes away. This leave type is also referred to as Bereavement Leave in some countries, while South African legislation has called it ‘Family Responsibility Leave’ since 1997 (although Compassionate Leave and Family Responsibility Leave are often still used interchangeably in practice).

Due to increasing queries on the subject, we’re clearing up any confusion by bringing our labelling in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. After all, local is lekker. Compassionate Leave is therefore now labelled as Family Responsibility Leave. Admins can expect to see this change on the system, in reports and on payslips, while employees can expect to see the changes on payslips and in the self-service portal.

Don’t worry, this change does not impact leave balances, leave entitlement or any other aspect of how leave is calculated. As always, SimplePay takes the hassle out of system updates as all changes have automatically been applied to the system. All you need to do is sit back and remember the new lingo on the system.

If you’re an admin user and want more information on Family Responsibility Leave, head to our help article here

Not a SimplePay client but want to record Family Responsibility with ease? SimplePay takes the hassle out of payroll and leave management. We offer a 30 day free trial that allows you to explore the system and see just how easy and stress-free payroll can be. To find out more or to sign up for a trial, click here

Team SimplePay

Employment Tax Validation Process

In today’s blog we will be providing a brief overview of the tax validation process, carried out by SARS on the IRP5/IT3(a) certificates. Back in 2019, SARS announced its intention to validate PAYE, SDL and UIF on tax certificates. This blog therefore details the process and extent which they have put this goal into action.

As of the 2020 tax year, SARS is holding employers more accountable for ensuring that they deduct the correct PAYE. This is being done through a validation process, where SARS performs calculations on the tax certificates submitted by employers. Where SARS has determined that employers are not withholding the correct amount of PAYE, the employer will be responsible for taking corrective action. This includes recovering the amount from employees or facing the penalty of paying it on behalf of employees in cases where the employer under-deducted PAYE.

For the 2020/02/28 submission period, SARS will be validating PAYE and SDL amounts submitted.

If any discrepancies are found between SARS’ and the submitted values, a notification and accompanying file are issued to highlight any discrepancies. Employers can then review the report to determine whether the correct taxes were declared on the tax certificate, or if any amendments are required. 

Although SARS does not reject any certificates during the tax validation process, employers must ensure that taxes are correctly calculated. The SARS website states the following:

Note: The purpose of the Payroll Tax Validation letter is to inform the employer of discrepancies on the amount of tax or levies that were deducted for employees. All the certificates submitted were accepted and processed and will be pre-populated on the employee’s income tax return (ITR12).

Locating the Flagged Certificates

For details on how to locate the error report on [email protected] or eFiling and action any errors, please refer to our help page, linked here.

UIF Validation

SARS has stated that for the current filing season they will not be validating the UIF contributions, due to the fact that the value for remuneration in calculating UIF is not present on EMP201s and SARS is also not able to apply the monthly limit. This will therefore need to be double checked by employers to ensure they have the correct value.

Process to Follow for Over and Under Deductions.

The process to follow to correct any over or under deductions can be found on this SARS webpage.

In both cases, it may be necessary to amend the respective certificates. The existing certificate can be amended (i.e maintaining the certificate number), provided that there are no changes to:

  • the type of certificate (IRP5 or IT3(a); 
  • the transaction year; or
  • the year of assessment.

If any of the above does need to be amended, the original certificate must be cancelled and replaced with a new one (yielding a new certificate number).

For any amendments to your certificates, please contact us so we can assist you in doing this on the system. Along with the request, please provide:

  • The SARS tilde (~) delimited file (essentially the error report).
  • Details of the over/under deduction that has been flagged and the employee(s) which it / they relate to.
  • The CSV file from the original submission.
  • Any additional relevant information that you have, which will be of assistance.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. Upon reading the blog and the attached SARS webpage (above), if you find yourself in need of making any amendments to your certificates, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected]

Catch Up Corner

SDL Payment Holiday

In our previous blog about the draft Disaster Management Bills, we mentioned SDL prospectively being set to zero from the start of May until the end of August 2020. We have now implemented this change, so any payslips finalised going forward will reflect the zero SDL value on the EMP201. For employers who have already finalised their EMP201s for May, we will assist you with zeroing the SDL contributions.

Expansion of Parental Leave Benefits

It is now possible for employees taking adoption or commissioning parental leave to claim a certain amount from the UIF when on their leave period. The related SimplePay help page can be found here, with a further link on the page as to how this leave can be recorded on SimplePay.

If you have any queries on the SDL payment holiday or the leave benefits, you can contact our customer support team at [email protected]

Keep home. Stay well. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

COVID-19 Lockdown – 27 March to 16 April 2020

Update 21 April: The Department of Employment and Labour has opened a dedicated UIF toll free hotline, running 8am – 10pm Monday to Friday. The number is 0800 030 007.

Please note: The information provided in this blog is correct at the time of writing, but as this is an unprecedented and ever-changing situation, we will do our best to ensure we keep ourselves and our clients up to date. Please check back regularly for updates – we will also notify you of these by email and system notifications.

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]

A Note on UIF Forms: Our existing functionality allows you to submit the monthly consolidated UI-19 for all employees each month directly to the UIF from the SimplePay website. We’re glad to inform you that the new functionality providing UI-19 forms for individuals is now live. This is needed for employees to claim.

Queries about UIF payments being delayed should be directed to the UIF. Unfortunately we won’t be able to provide much insight or assistance with this. Contact details for the UIF processing centre can be found in this the Easy Aid Guide for Employers.

7 April 2020: Closure of the labour offices for in person applications. Rechannelling  of applications to interactive methods.

30 March 2020: Information on the option for employers to complete the UIF application on behalf of their employees. Further UIF code 10 is unpacked, related to employees who fall ill.

27 March 2020: 

  • Greater detail on the process required to submit both types of UIF applications has been added, including who is responsible for each part of the process.
  • More information on what is required when handling employees with reduced hours, to enable them to claim a benefit.
  • Clarification on the different codes required when ending your employee’s service in different situations.
  • Brief update on the progress of TERS at the foot of the blog.

26 March 2020: Updated the requirements for form UI 2.8 to be accompanied by a bank statement, stamped by the bank.

On Monday 23 March, President Ramaphosa announced a 21 day lockdown from 23:59 on Thursday 26 March. Many South Africans welcomed this but are also uncertain as to what this means for their employees and businesses. Over the past few days, the respective Governmental Departments have released information regarding plans to support companies and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The aim of this blog is to provide guidance to employers on the options available to them around paying employees, putting them on paid and unpaid leave and UIF benefits.

Earlier in the week we let you know that our team has gone fully remote and are pleased to be able to support our clients and employees in this way. In some sectors, this mode of working can be adopted relatively easily and many have already done so; however, for a lot of sectors and employees this is unfortunately not an option. For those employers who have to scale back or suspend regular activities, the following options exist:

Options for Healthy Employees Impacted by Reduced Hours or Temporary Closure 

Where employees are healthy and able to work, but are prevented from doing so due to the lockdown, employers and employees can agree that annual leave be used to cover some or all of the lockdown period on full pay. You are also always able to extend extra paid leave days to all employees should you so wish.

Where none of the paid leave types are an option, employees can be put on unpaid leave. Employees impacted in this way are able to claim Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits as a result of either reduced hours or closure. To do this on SimplePay, you will need to provide a code when ending your employee’s service. Please use code 17 for temporary closure or reduced hours, i.e use this code if employees are expected to return to work on 17 April 2020. It is important to note that you must end the employee’s service on SimplePay. If you simply record unpaid leave on the calendar, UIF will not be claimable by employees.

The government intends to extend UIF benefits for these employees for up to three months. Employees who receive no income will be entitled to full UIF benefits.

If you’re paying your employees reduced pay, a partial UIF benefit will be available. For this benefit to be available, there must be an agreement between the employer and their employees to reduce hours as an alternative to retrenchment.

Procedure for Healthy Employees Impacted by Reduced Hours or Temporary Closure to Claim UIF benefits

To claim UIF for a reduction in hours or temporary closure, the following must be completed:

  1. Contact and inform the relevant provincial department representative of your temporary closure/reduction in hours. The contact details for each of the offices can be found on page 3 of the Easy Aid Guide for Employers.
  2. The following forms and documents need to be completed for each employee:
    1. UI 2.1 (application form)
    2. UI19 (Submitted monthly by the employer) and UI 2.7 (completed by Employer)
    3. UI 2.8 (accompanied by a bank statement, stamped by the bank)
    4. A letter from the Employer confirming company shutdown or employee’s “temporary lay-off” ( or reduced work time ) is due to the Corona Virus 
    5. Copy of Employee’s ID document
  3. Once completed, these forms need to be submitted to the UIF. Claims can be done online once the employee has registered, or via email or fax, details listed on page 7 of the Easy Aid Guide. The UIF processing centres are now closed over lockdown and cannot be used. If an employer wishes to do this on behalf of their employee, provided they have all the necessary information, this is possible by emailing the relevant processing centre with the required documents. ( n.b. Form UI2.8 could prove difficult for the employer to obtain now that lockdown is in force).
  4. To ensure the employee can claim, the must ensure they have:
    • A copy of 13-digit bar-coded identity document
    • A copy of your last six payslips
    • UI-19 supplied by your employer
    • A service certificate from the employer (point 2.4, provided by the employer)
    • Proof of registration as a work seeker
    • A fully completed registration form

This may appear a daunting number of forms, but it is worth noting that the provincial departments, listed in the Easy Aid Guide, will provide the necessary assistance with the application and payment of this benefit type. SimplePay is also in the process of making these forms available through our system, lessening the burden on you and reducing the chance of human error.

Additionally, if your business employs 50 or more employees, who may be subject to temporary lay offs, rapid response teams have been formed to aid you with this process. In respect to this you need to get into contact with your provincial office, as listed in the Easy Aid Guide.

Options for Employees who are suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19

The requirement that an employee suspected of, or is diagnosed with COVID-19, must self isolate for 14 days remains in place. This period can be covered using an employee’s sick leave as with any other instance of illness. If the employee has no sick leave, you can agree to have them use annual leave otherwise they may be placed on unpaid leave. As above, the option to grant additional paid leave is also available. For all of these, record leave on SimplePay as usual.

Where the employee has had to be placed on unpaid leave as a result of contracting COVID-19, the following options to receive some income exist:

  1. Apply for an illness benefit through UIF 
    1. This covers the 14 day isolation and requires several documents, including a letter of agreement signed by employer and employee. 
    2. This period can be extended if required. 
    3. Full details on documents required and the application process can be found at the end of this post.
  2. Apply for compensation for Occupationally Acquired COVID-19 Disease, through the recently amended Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA)
    1. This is available if the employee contracted COVID-19 in their place of work or on a business trip to another country or area.
    2. More details can be found in this Government Notice and the process to claim is outlined at the end of this post.

Procedure for Employees who are Suspected or Diagnosed with COVID-19 to Claim UIF benefits

To claim UIF for an illness benefit, the following must be completed:

  1. Fill in the following forms:
    1. A confirmation letter from both the employer and employee, stating that they have agreed to 14 days of “special leave”, due to COVID-19.
    2. UI 2.2 (medical portion to be ignored, as this is substituted by the above letter. This is because the employee will already be in quarantine).
    3. UI 19 (which can be completed through SimplePay) and UI 2.7 (completed by Employer)
    4. UI 2.8 (accompanied by a bank statement, stamped by the bank)
    5. Copy of employee’s ID document.
  2. On SimplePay, when completing the employee’s End Service, please use UIF code 10 – Illness leave.
  3. Once completed, these forms need to be submitted to lodge the claim. An application can be lodged in one of the following ways:
    1. Online at www.ufiling.co.za 
    2. Email or fax the nearest UIF processing centre. (information found on page 7 of this link). If an employer wishes to do this on behalf of their employee, provided they have all the necessary information, this is possible by emailing the relevant processing centre with the required documents. ( n.b. Form UI2.8 could prove difficult for the employer to obtain now that lockdown is in force).
  4. To ensure the employee can claim, alongside the other documents they must ensure they have:
    • A copy of 13-digit bar-coded identity document
    • A copy of your last six payslips
    • A service certificate from the employer
    • A fully completed registration form

Unlike temporary closure, there is no bespoke assistance for the filing of this application. It is likely though that there are fewer employees that qualify for this benefit, lessening the administrative load. If you do experience any difficulties, we would encourage you to touch base with your nearest UIF processing centre for guidance.

At the end of the 14 day period a UI3 form needs to be completed, for the payment to be executed into the employee’s bank account. This should either be done on the ufiling website, or by emailing or faxing your closest UIF Processing centre, as listed in the aid guide. If the employee remains ill beyond the 14 day period, they must obtain a medical certificate from a medical practitioner and submit a further UI3 in order to be able to continue to claim the benefit.

Options for Healthy Employees Impacted by a Permanent Closure  of Business

Unfortunately, in some cases the strains on your business may be too great, resulting in your company ceasing to operate permanently. If this is true for yourself, you should use code 14, denoting permanent closures, i.e use this code if, upon the completion of the 21-day lockdown, the employee shall not continue their employment. Same as for the temporary closure process above, you must end the employee’s service on SimplePay in order for the employee to be able to claim UIF.

In this scenario, the normal process for claiming UIF will likely need to be followed. Therefore, the 3 months extended period of UIF benefit will probably not be applicable.

Procedure for Claiming under COIDA

There are a few key components to being able to claim under this system. The following are required elements:

  • The employee must test positive for the COVID-19 virus (as defined in COIDA).
  • The contraction of the virus must arise out of and happen in the course of employment.
  • There must be a realistic and logical explanation for the exposure to COVID-19, which occurred in the course of employment.

If the above statements apply to an employee, they could be entitled to claim under COIDA. More detail on the requirements can be found here

WATCH THIS SPACE: Temporary Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) and other Relief Measures for Employers

In an effort to avoid retrenchment, the Government is also in consultation to pay wages of employees in struggling companies through the Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme. To gain an insight into the sheme, the process required to participate and to see some templates of the required forms, please send an email to “[email protected]”. You will receive an automated response with all this information. We will also be providing more information on this and other relief measures in our next blog post next week.

As always, we’re here to help where we can. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with any of the above on SimplePay.

Team SimplePay

Should you have any queries over the content or processes to follow within this blog, please contact our support team via [email protected]


New Feature: Employee Leave Expiration

Introducing the latest system expansion from the SimplePay team: employee leave expiration for leave days carried over.

With our aim to give you the ultimate payroll experience, you can now customise your leave settings even further by specifying how long leave carried over from a previous
leave cycle remains valid for. For example, you might have a policy that any unused leave from 2019 may carry over to 2020, but if it is not used by the end of June 2020, it will expire and be forfeited.

This is usually done to ensure that your employees’ leave does not excessively accumulate and aligns with the BCEA, which requires leave to be taken within 6 months of the end of a cycle. In addition, by prompting employees to take their leave in due course, it leads to increased employee well-being which has long-term benefits for both employees and the company. Before implementing this on the system, ensure that it aligns with your company’s leave policy and your employees’ contracts to avoid any labour disputes.

To make use of this new feature on current policies, follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Leave.
  2. Click on View next to the leave type that you wish to edit.
  3. Under Available Entitlement Policies, click on View next to the entitlement policy that you wish to edit.
  4. If the Allow leave to be carried forward to next cycle? checkbox is set, there will now be an additional line that appears under it.
  5. In the new field , enter the number of months that leave must be held for before expiring.
  6. Click Save.

If you are creating a new leave policy, you will be able to follow the same process when creating the entitlement policy.

For more information on creating and editing leave entitlement policies, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay

Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

Sometimes small changes make a big difference, so you may spot some modifications that we have made to leave.

  • A new report

We have added a new report called Leave Days Report. This report shows the specific days that employees have taken/will take leave for the specified leave type and period. It complements our current Leave Report, which shows you the total number of leave days taken during the period, made up of the individual days shown on the Leave Days Report. This added leave report will simplify your payroll duties, as you can confirm leave dates with employees or managers. It is also useful in the management of employees and communication with other departments.

  • Visual tweaks to entitlement policies

We have made it clearer to see whether or not an employee is on the default company leave policy. When going to an employee’s profile and clicking on Leave > Entitlement Policies > Edit, (company default) will now display next to the leave policy if the employee is on the company’s default policy. In addition, we have updated the heading to display as Active Entitlement Policies.

You can still see the company default policy by going to Settings > Leave > View (next to the leave type) and scrolling to the bottom. However, we have changed the heading to Active Entitlement Policies (company defaults) to align with the changes made in the employees’ profiles.

We hope that these small changes will make a big difference in your payroll experience. If you need any help with leave management, refer to our help page here. For more information on reports, click here.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: More Leave Functionality

Been wanting more control over employee leave balances? We have heard your requests and are excited to announce the launch of a new feature which allows you to customize your leave settings even more.

Want to stop employees from logging leave if it will result in a negative leave balance? No problem!

Our new feature allows you to do just this. If a self-service leave request will result in the minimum balance not being maintained, you can opt to:

  • prevent the leave request from being logged (see image below), or
  • warn the employee of the outcome if they continue (see image below).

For more information on leave settings and setting this up, refer to our help page here.

We hope you love the new feature and, as always, we welcome any feedback that you may have.

Team SimplePay

Edit: Please note that there was an error on the previous version of this blog post where it stated that you could set a minimum leave balance for employees to maintain in preparation for the annual shutdown of your company. The feature is currently only available for setting a minimum leave balance of 0 or a negative number, not a positive minimum balance, which is likely to be developed shortly in the future. Our apologies for the error.

Leave Take-Ons: New and Improved

We are very happy to inform you that we have re-designed the way that leave take-on balances are captured. The new and improved take-on screen will provide you with greater flexibility and is also more informative. Additionally, you will now have the option to add leave take-on balances in bulk.

Please note: the information in this blog post does, unfortunately, not apply to clients who are still on Version 1 of our leave system; however, we’re working very hard on migrating everyone to the latest version as soon as possible.

In cases where you previously used another payroll system before you started using SimplePay,  you can add leave take-on balances for your employees.

Alternatively, you might want to enter leave balances as at a particular date. The redesigned leave take-on screen allows you to do this too because you are able to choose the date for the end of the take-on period.

The system will automatically calculate the leave accrued from the start of the leave cycle to the end of the take-on period and will also take into consideration leave days taken and leave adjustments recorded on the system. It will even allow you to enter the number of leave days that were captured off-system.

Additionally, the system will automatically calculate a closing balance – as at the end of the take-on period – based on information in the other fields. However, if the leave policy allows for leave to be carried forward, you will be able to override the automatically calculated closing balance and enter the desired balance.

More information about leave take-on balances and the handy new take-on fields that we’ve added can be found on our help site.

Another great improvement is that it is now possible to add leave take-on balances for your employees in bulk – thereby eliminating the need to repeat the same steps over and over for all your employees.  More information about how to do these bulk inputs can be found here.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to email us at [email protected] to assist you.

The SimplePay Team

Leave Calendar Updates

Just in time for the festive season, we are super excited to present to you our updated leave calendar.

This new calendar is more than just a pretty face; it sports a number of new features to make leave recording simpler and more accurate.

Do you need to record a partial day of annual leave as well as one of compassionate leave for the same employee on the same day? Just select the day(s) in question and  the type of leave, tick the box for partial day and put it into the system. Repeat this as many times as needed.

Take it for a spin while you record leave for the upcoming December period and check it out in action in the video below.

 

 

Improved Self-Service Leave Workflow

You may have noticed that the leave hierarchy has had a facelift. The interface is now cleaner, more intuitive and easier to use. But the improvements go far beyond aesthetics; the entire approval workflow has been updated to provide you with a simpler and more reliable experience.

correct blog image

Multiple approvers. You asked, we listened – employees and approval groups can now submit leave requests to more than one approver. You can also decide whether only one or all of the assigned approvers must respond to requests.

Approval groups have replaced the old leave hierarchy and can be comprised of individual employees, specific pay points or even the entire company. Where employees are part of a higher level group i.e. pay point or company, and are subsequently assigned to a more specific group, this latest assignment will take precedence. New staff will automatically be assigned to the relevant approval group. This allows you to manage complex situations with ease.

For example, let’s say you initially create one approval group for the entire company but later decide that certain departments should have requests approved by their HOD, you can simply create new groups for each department without having to individually move each employee out of the old group and into the new one. And, when staff join or change departments, they will automatically be added to the correct approval group.

Administrators can now be leave approvers even if they are not employees.

Mappings, requests and comments preserved. We’ve brought it all across to ensure that you still have all of your info without any of the issues.

Constantly improving. We will soon be introducing the ability to add users as approvers only, whether they are employees or not. And, to ensure that you always have the best and simplest experience possible, the rest of the leave management is also being updated to be more customisable and user-friendly.

For more information on setting up approval groups, please see our help site.

And of course, as usual, we welcome any feedback or suggestions that you may have.