EMP501 Reconciliation to Reflect 2020 SDL Holiday

Background

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

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

UPDATE 18/05/2020: PAYE “Not Assessed” Validation Error

On submission of their IRP5 / IT3(a)s, some clients have received a validation error from SARS, flagging up some or all of their employees as “not assessed”.

Without going into the details, this does not relate to whether your employees’ tax certificates will be pre-populated or not. Any certificate that can be matched to an employee will be pre-populated and will allow your employee to complete their ITR-12.

If you receive a “not assessed”, you should check that the information to which the error corresponds is correct. If it is, then you can proceed to give the certificates to your employees to allow them to file their ITR12 returns.
If you discover an error, you need to correct it and resubmit. The problem with this scenario is that your employee may have already been assessed from your initial submission. This will also result in the error code “not assessed”, as duplicate submissions trigger this validation error. If this error recurs after you resubmit, you will need to direct your affected employees to do a Request For Correction (RFC) on their ITR12s. More information on RFCs can be found on this SARS webpage.

Declaration to Reflect SDL Holiday

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

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

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

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

Credit for Payments Made

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


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

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

TERS Phase 2: Non-Sectoral Claim Applications

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

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

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

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

New Verification Requirements Added

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

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

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

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

Claim Process

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

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

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

Step 1: Verification of Employer Registration with NIOH

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

Step 2: Verification of Employee Declaration with NIOH

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

Important Areas to Note When Applying

Lockdown Period

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

Monthly Salary

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

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

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


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

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

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

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Bulk Leave Import

We’ve had several requests asking for a way for payroll administrators and leave admins to record leave in bulk and we’re delighted to let you know that this feature is now here! This means that there are now 3 ways for leave to be captured on the system:

  • Employees can request leave via self-service or our mobile app which then gets captured once approved by a leave approver.
  • Payroll administrators and leave admins can record leave for individual employees via an employee’s profile.
  • Payroll administrators and leave admins can download an Excel file, complete it with the relevant leave days and upload the file into SimplePay.

For more information on how to use this new feature, head to our help page.

We’re continuing our mission to revolutionise payroll, and in the process make SimplePay the preferred payroll software provider for small and medium sized businesses. We hope that with the additional method for recording leave, every user now has an option that meets their needs.

If you have any queries on how to use the system or any suggestions on how we can better serve your needs, please reach out to us.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Custom Beneficiaries

We’ve expanded our beneficiaries functionality so that you can add beneficiaries for custom items that are set up as benefits, deductions or employer contributions. This gives you more flexibility in tailoring the beneficiaries report for your needs, making any payments linked to payroll even easier.

To add a custom beneficiary:

  • Go to Settings > Beneficiaries and select Add under Custom Beneficiary
  • Enter the details for your beneficiary and click Save

Once you have added your custom beneficiary, you can link it to custom items as follows:

  • Go to Settings > Custom Items and select the custom item (or click Add to create one)
  • Tick the checkbox Link to beneficiary
  • Select the Beneficiary Type:
    • ‘Fixed’ should be selected if there is only one beneficiary for this custom item for all employees. You will then need to select the beneficiary from the dropdown list.
    • ‘Different on every employee’ should be selected if different employees have different beneficiaries for this custom item. If you select this option, the beneficiary will need to be specified when adding the custom item to the employee’s payslip.
  • Then click Save

For more information on setting up custom items, head to our help page here.

We hope you love this new feature and that it’ll make your payroll processing more efficient.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Payslips Export

Being a SimplePay client means that you’re used to the benefits of a simple and efficient payroll system. But we’re always looking at ways to make your job even easier and faster. We heard your cries for a quicker way to download multiples payslips for an employee and are happy to announce that this is now available.

Our new Payslips Export report allows you to download a ZIP file with all the payslips within a specific date range for selected employees or pay points. For more information on how to generate this, head to our help article here.

This report makes the task of assisting employees with payslip requests much faster. Remember that employees also have the option to download payslips themselves using the self-service portal or app.

For any further questions, do not hesitate to contact our support team.

Not a SimplePay client? Want a payroll software provider that actually listens to their clients? Sign up for a free 30-day trial here to see just how simple payroll can be when using SimplePay.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Give Admin and Leave Admin Users Read-only Access

Unlike many other payroll systems, SimplePay does not charge for or restrict the number of users on the system. This means that you can give system access to all the people that need it, whether this is a department head who approves leave, a payroll administrator who processes payroll or an external accountant who completes filing submissions. While our user settings already have a range of roles and restrictions that you can configure, we’ve had several requests for giving users read-only access to the system. 

We are delighted to announce that we’ve upgraded our permissions to enable you to give users read-only access, with extensive flexibility that lets you customise this on a company, pay frequency or pay point level. 

When adding a user, you can still select their permission role (e.g. Leave Admin) and restrict them to specific companies, pay frequencies or pay points. However, when restricting users with Admin or Leave Admin roles, you can select the type of access for each company, pay frequency or pay points, namely:

  • Full: gives the user full access to the areas of the system as defined by that particular role
  • Read-only: gives the user read-only access to the areas of the system as defined by that particular role
  • None: gives the user no access

For more information on setting up users with read-only access, refer to our help article here.

We hope that you love the new feature! Please reach out to us if you have any trouble setting up users or if you have any further questions.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Bulk Assign Leave Policies

Happy new year! We hope that 2021 brings you new opportunities, improved performance and overall success in all your endeavours. As always, we’ll support you with an efficient and effective payroll system. We’re kicking off the new year with a brand new feature – you can now assign leave policies to employees in bulk.

SimplePay’s leave functionality allows you to set a company default leave policy for all employees that are added to the system. You can then assign a different leave policy to employees if they are not on the default policy. Being able to assign leave policies now in bulk saves you time if you have many employees who are not on the company default policy. It is also useful for companies who do not have a single company default policy, but rather separate policies per pay point or pay frequency.

Once you have created your leave policies, you can assign them in bulk as follows:

  • Go to Employees > Bulk Actions
  • Click on Entitlement Policies under the Leave heading
  • Use the filters to select only those employees that are part of a specific pay point or pay frequency
  • Use the drop-down menus to allocate the leave policies for each leave type for each employee on the page. If all employees on the page are on the same policy, use the Copy first value down option to save you time.
  • Click Save

It’s as simple as that. For more information on leave management and bulk leave actions, refer to the following pages:

Team SimplePay

2020 Year in Review and Price Increase Deferment

Like most individuals and companies, SimplePay entered the new decade armed with big dreams and extensive plans for the year that lay ahead. As COVID-19 swept across the world, we were forced to temporarily pause our plans and adapt to the new challenges thrown our way. But one thing has stayed constant throughout: our customers remain our top priority.

It’s with this in mind that we have decided to defer our usual annual inflation-linked price adjustment which is normally effective on 1 January each year. Inflation-linked price adjustments are unfortunately unavoidable, as our sustainability depends on us staying on top of rising costs. However, we recognise that many of you have been through undue hardships in 2020 and we hope that by delaying our price adjustment by a few months, we are able to provide additional relief during these difficult economic circumstances. We will notify you in advance of the effective date for our price adjustment.

As we look back on the year, our team pulled together like never before to ensure that you were equipped to process payroll despite the changing payroll landscape. We rapidly responded to add system functionality as the government introduced various COVID-19 relief efforts and had ever-changing requirements for these. In addition, we assigned a dedicated team to blogging and creating help site articles so that you had easy access to information as it unfolded, and we spent countless hours on phones and emails providing support. We hope that our efforts made this year a little bit easier for you.

Despite the unexpected challenges that we faced in 2020, the SimplePay team still managed to roll out some fantastic new features. Although not an exhaustive list, we’d like to highlight a few of them:

As this year draws to a close, we’d once again like to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyalty, support and understanding throughout the year. We wish you all the best over the festive season and look forward to the positive opportunities that lie ahead in 2021.

Take care and stay safe

Team SimplePay

Password Protected Payslips Are Here!

Gone are the days of employees only being able to receive printed versions of their payslips. Accessing payslips is easier than ever before with our mobile app and self-service portal, and companies have the option of attaching payslips to the emails that are sent to employees when payslips are released to self-service.

We’ve recently seen an increase in requests for password protecting the payslips that are sent via email. Although an employee’s email inbox should be protected with a secure password, we understand that problems can arise where an incorrect email address is entered for an employee, or if an employee leaves their email inbox open and unattended. We took your concerns to heart and are delighted to announce that this feature is now available.

To enable passwords for payslips:

  • Go to Employees > Self-Service > Settings > General
  • Ensure that the checkbox for Attach payslips to emails on Self-Service release is selected
  • Select the Enable password protection for attached payslips (using employee identity numbers or birthdates checkbox
  • Click Save

All payslips sent via email will now be password protected. The password used will be the employee’s identity (ID) number, or where no ID number is available, their date of birth.

Please note that the password is based on the information available at the time of the email being sent. Therefore, changes to an employee’s ID number or date of birth will only impact payslips sent via email after the change and not historic ones.

We hope that this new feature gives you peace of mind over the security of payslip information.

To learn more about emailing payslips to employees, head to our help page here.

Not a SimplePay client? Surprised to hear that payslips can be accessed via a self-service portal and a mobile app? Sign up for our free 30-day trial here and see just how simple payroll can be!

Team SimplePay

Claims Request Expanded to Include Employee Hours Worked

Last month we brought you a new feature that allows employees to submit certain claims via the self-service portal (refer to our 6 August blog post). We have now expanded this functionality to include Basic Salary inputs for hourly paid employees.

Hourly paid employees can now submit their hours worked for the month*, which will then need to be approved by the approver for claims. Once approved, it will automatically be added to the next draft payslip for the employee.

As with all types of requests, employees and approvers can attach supporting documentation (in this instance, it may be a signed time sheet) or leave comments.

*Note: Payroll administrators will first need to allow Basic Salary inputs via self-service before this option is available to employees.

For more information on this functionality, refer to the following help article:

Employee Claim Requests

Not a SimplePay client? Our self-service portal allows employees to view payslips and tax certificates, update their personal information and submit leave and claims for payslip items. It’s one of the many features that makes payroll with SimplePay so easy. Not convinced? We offer a free 30 day trial that lets you try out our system to see if it suits your payroll needs. You can sign up for the trial here.

Team SimplePay