President’s 11 January Speech and TERS Disputes Procedure

As the country eases into 2021, the President’s speech on 11 January made it clear that COVID-19, and the resulting restrictions, will remain a part of day-to-day life in 2021. The blog post today looks to give a brief overview of the adjusted level 3 regulations from a business perspective and also flags the TERS disputes process.

Adjusted Level 3

The main change that the President announced in his most recent speech was that South Africa’s land borders will be closed until 15 February. Exceptions apply for goods, repatriation and medical supplies, meaning that this change is likely to mainly impact the tourism and leisure industry.

The above is in addition to the measures announced on 28 December, all of which remain in place.

Below is a table summarising some of the key restrictions to businesses under adjusted level 3 at this point in time.

Non-Hotspot AreasHotspot Areas
Curfew21:00 – 05:00 daily21:00 – 05:00 daily
Business closing timesNon-essential stores close at 20:00*Non-essential stores close at 20:00*
GatheringsAll uncontrolled social gatherings are prohibited. Gatherings at businesses permitted which are permitted to be open is allowed, in line with the occupancy limitations.All uncontrolled social gatherings are prohibited. Gatherings at businesses permitted which are permitted to be open is allowed, in line with the occupancy limitations.
Beaches, dams, lakes and riversOpen between 6:00 – 19:00 dailyClosed
Businesses that must remain closedPublic parks, public swimming pools, clubs, bars, taverns, shebeens, Public parks, public swimming pools, clubs, bars, taverns, shebeens, 
Sale and distribution of alcoholNot permittedNot permitted

*List of establishments which must close by 20:00: Cinemas; theatres; casinos; museums, galleries and archives; gyms and fitness centres; restaurants; venues hosting auctions; and venues hosting professional sport.

At this point in time, the only material difference between hotspot and non-hotspot areas is access to beaches, dams, lakes and rivers. The reasoning behind this is that the number of people at any one of these locations cannot easily be regulated or controlled. 

You can find a list of the areas designated as hotspots and the adjusted level 3 Regulations on the Government website.

TERS Dispute Resolution Process

On Friday 8 January, as an employer you should have received an email from the UIF, titled “UIF-TERS – Update letter”. The update letter lays out the process that you can follow if you believe the UIF has not performed one or more of its contractual obligations with you contained in your memorandum of association with them.

The letter highlights that this route is only for disputes and not for enquiries, such as failed bank verifications.

To lodge a formal dispute:

  1. Complete the Dispute Form (attached to the 8 January email, sender: [email protected]a)
  2. Attach any relevant supporting documentation
  3. Email the completed dispute form with attachments to [email protected], with the subject as “COVID-19 TERS Dispute – [Your UIF Reference Number]”

We hope that this information has proved useful. If you have any questions for us, you can contact us at [email protected] 

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, why not check out our website? Or, better yet, try out our service for free with our 30-day trial, get acquainted with our user-friendly service by reading our getting started page, or take our free online course

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

President’s Speech – 14 December 2020

Last night the President addressed the nation for the second time this month on the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and how the Government plans to counter them. Some of the new rules announced are particularly important for businesses, so these are what the blog post today focuses on.

Masks and Social Distancing

The authorities are going to be more active in enforcing compliance with measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. You as managers and business owners are now responsible for ensuring that employees and customers entering your premises or vehicle are wearing masks.

Failure to enforce these rules on your employees or customers could expose you to fines or even six (6) months imprisonment.

Gatherings

Some of the key points on changes to permitted gatherings are as follows:

  • Gatherings are limited to 250 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.
  • All gatherings need to provide ventilation and hand sanitiser, as well as practice social distancing and mask wearing.
  • Certain hotspots for gatherings will be fully or partially closed across the festive season (16 December 2020 to 3 January 2021). Fully closed areas currently include the Eastern Cape and Garden Route.
  • Beaches and parks that aren’t closed will be open between 9am and 6pm.

It is important that you keep up to date with the latest news on any restrictions as rules are subject to change, dependent on increase or decrease of transmission in a region.

Hospitality and Goods

As the President suggested a second wave is possible, the focus of the Government is to try and maintain economic activity, whilst limiting the spread of the virus. This is reflected in the restrictions and rules that have been placed on the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The new rules are:

  • There is a national curfew between 11pm and 4am.
  • Restaurants and bars must close by 10pm to allow staff time to return home before curfew.
  • Alcohol can be sold in shops Monday to Thursday, between 10am and 6pm
  • Vineyards and wine tastings may resume on the weekends and may include purchases for offsite consumption. 

Although the above restrictions may limit your business, it is encouraging that emphasis is being placed on keeping the wheels of the economy turning.

You can read the President’s full speech by following this link.

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. As always, if you need to get in touch with a member of the team, you can contact us at [email protected]

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

State of the Nation Address: 11 November 2020

On Wednesday evening (11 November 2020), our President once again took to the stage to address the nation on how the country is faring against the global pandemic. Whilst the coronavirus remains a real and present threat, the overall tone of the speech was to get the economy back up to running at full capacity. Therefore, if you have concerns about how a potential second lockdown will affect your business, this hopefully provides some reassurance.

In addition to addressing how the Government intends to proceed, there were some more specific and relevant points to pick out of the speech. Here are some of the points that we thought were worth blogging about.

TERS

We can’t remember the last working days that TERS hasn’t come up in some capacity, but the President announced that the final period that TERS will run is for 15 September to 15 October 2020. 

For all the frustration that this scheme has caused you (and us!) it has been a vital lifeline to many over the past eight (8) months. We hope that this news of its conclusion has come to you at a point where your business has sufficiently recovered.

The UIF has not communicated anything further on the opening date for applications  or whether there are any changes to the requirements, but we shall do our best to inform you as and when we know.

State of National Disaster

To be able to react to hotspots of the coronavirus, the state of national disaster has been extended once again until 15 December 2020. 

As stated in our previous blog post, there is a possibility for TERS to run as long as South Africa remains under a state of national disaster, but the President’s speech suggests that instead the relevant Minister will announce the conclusion of TERS to be 15 October 2020.

COVID-19 Social Grant

The Government’s social relief of distress grant helps individuals who are unemployed and do not receive any other type of income or grant, such as TERS or UIF benefits. This was due to conclude in October, but has now been extended until January 2021. More information on the grant can be found here.

Respect for Those Lost to Coronavirus

As a gesture of respect and solidarity to the individuals, families and friends who have lost someone to coronavirus, the Cabinet has suggested that the nation embark on 5 days of mourning for the victims of COVID-19. Between 25 and 29 November, you are encouraged to wear a black armband or similar token to signify respect for those who have departed. 

We hope that this information has been 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]

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Lockdown Update – 23 April

TERS Application and Payouts Update

Update 7 May: The Department for Employment and Labour has not yet started accepting TERS applications for the month of May. They have requested that applicants continue to revisit the website until applications for May become live.

Update 28 April: We have updated our system to populate the Employment End Date in the TERS CSV file.

Update 24 April: Further clarification on the TERS CSV dates has been provided. The TERS benefit shall be accounted for individually on payslips, as it is not subject to PAYE, SDL or UIF. We are updating our system accordingly.

TERS Payouts

We have just received confirmation that employers are simply acting as conduits for these payments, which means that there is no PAYE, SDL or UIF levied and they are not reported on IRP5s. With this in mind, we are looking at updating the system to accommodate the payments and will provide an update ASAP.

In the interim, you can create a custom reimbursement item for this, otherwise if you can wait a bit longer, we’ll be adding a once-off system item for you to use for these payments. As always, we would recommend contacting the TERS hotline (012 337 1997) if you are at all unsure.

TERS CSV Dates

Update 28 April: We have updated our system to populate the Employment End Date in the TERS CSV file.

The employment end date is in fact required in the CSV (despite us being told otherwise), but only if the employee had their service terminated so we are updating it ASAP. You can enter this manually before downloading and make use of the “copy down” option if the dates are the same for all employees, which they likely are.

President Ramaphosa’s Speech on Additional Economic Relief Measures

On Tuesday 21 April, President Ramaphosa once again took centre stage to address the nation on how the Government is continuing in its efforts to protect lives and support the economy.

Going forward, social relief and economic support shall be guided by these 4 pillars:

  1. An extraordinary health budget to respond to the coronavirus
  2. The relief of hunger and social distress
  3. Providing further support for companies and workers
  4. A phased re-opening of the economy

From the speech can be extracted several points of interest for businesses to look out for in the coming week, as they are released by the relevant Ministers this Friday (hopefully providing the necessary details on items such as the SDL payment holiday). In this blog we shall summarise these points.

Reprioritisation of the COVID-19 budget

A new budget of R500 billion is to be laid out. Of this, R130 billion is provided for by the current budget, with the shortfall being raised by local resources, global partners and international finance institutions.

This is spread across both social and economic support measures.

Preservation and creation of jobs

In his speech, President Ramaphosa has pledged a further R100 billion for protection and creation of jobs. Some of the measures mentioned in the speech include supporting workers wages and assisting companies in distress.

Directly addressing UIF, the President stated that R40 billion will be set aside for workers whose employers cannot afford to pay them.

Support for SMMEs

A further R2 billion has been pledged to support SMMEs and spaza shops, likely in the form of debt restructuring, loans and grants.

Loan Guarantee Scheme

In order to assist enterprises with their operational costs, such as salaries, rent and payment of suppliers, the Government in partnership with major banks, the treasury and the South African Reserve Bank is introducing a R200 billion loan guarantee scheme.

Initially, companies with a turnover of less than R300 million will be able to apply for a loan. 

SDL Contribution, VAT Refunds and Carbon Tax

In addition to the existing tax relief measures, the Government is introducing a 4-month Skill Development Levy (SDL) contribution holiday. 

We are currently looking at the best option from a system perspective and will provide updates and guidance via the system and blog ASAP. We will also make sure to do this and make any changes (if necessary) in time for the submission of April’s EMP201 by 7 May.

Additionally VAT refunds are being fast tracked to return capital to businesses, and a 3 month delay for filing and first payment of carbon tax has been announced.

Expansion of EMP201 Tax Deferment Scheme

To assist a greater number of businesses, the threshold for turnover to qualify for the tax deferral has increased to R100 million and the amount that can be deferred has been increased to 35%. 

Companies with a turnover of greater than R100 Million can apply directly to SARS to defer their PAYE contributions.

As mentioned in our previous blog, you should complete your pay runs as per normal, you do not need to do anything special on SimplePay to gain the 35% PAYE liability deferment through your EMP201 submission.

More information on this scheme can be found in our Week 2 recap blog

Tax Deduction for Taxpayers Who Donate to the Solidarity Fund

It was also announced that taxpayers who donate to the Solidarity Fund will be able to claim up to an additional 10% tax deduction from their taxable income.

If you would like to read more about the social measures being put into place by the Government, a copy of the President’s speech can be found here.

Thursday 23 April, the President will address the nation again, looking forward beyond lockdown, at the measures that will be implemented to reopen the economy.

In the meantime, we will keep you posted when further detail of the above is released on Friday 24 April.

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

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay