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

Expanded Functionality: Download Responses to Electronic UIF Submissions

In our blog on 18 May, we informed you that in addition to our email confirming UIF submissions, we had added new functionality where you could download your submitted file. In order to keep you in the loop with UIF communications, whilst saving you the hassle of having to go through the UIF submission process, we have enhanced our UIF submission functionality. SimplePay now allows the downloading of both monthly submissions and responses from the UIF on one page. 

To reiterate, whilst these files may not be useful for payroll administration purposes, they will provide records of the file submitted and the response from the UIF.

To locate and download the files:

  1. Go to Filing
  2. In the UIF Declaration section for the relevant month, click Submit
  3. After submission, click on awaiting_response. This will open up a new pop-up, from which you can download your submission file.
  1. When SimplePay receives a response from the UIF, the status will either change to confirmed or error.
  2. Click on confirmed or error to obtain more information on your submission.
  3. As was the case in step 3, you can download your submission by clicking on the icon under Submission. You can download the UIF’s response to your application by clicking on the icon under Response.

In the case of confirmed applications, the icon for downloading the UIF’s responses are shown below:

In addition to being able to download the submission file and response, submissions with an “error” response also provide insight into the reason for the error. This can be viewed by hovering over the blue question mark to the right of the failure status:

More information on UIF submissions, submissions for foreign employees and re-submissions can be found on our help page.

Please note: Should you need to open these files, you will need to rename the file to include “.csv” at the end (and remove the abbreviation for the current file format). This will allow you to view the file in Excel, Google Sheets or another spreadsheet application.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. If you require any assistance regarding this functionality, please do not hesitate to contact our customer support team at [email protected].

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: UIF, SDL and Retirement Deduction Traces

In our blog post on 5 June, we announced a new ETI trace, which shows the ETI calculation for each employee. Today, we are happy to announce that we have also created traces for the UIF, SDL and Retirement Deduction calculations.

To view these traces, go to an employee’s profile, click on More  next to Preview to  open the web view of the payslip that you are on.

Click on any of the following to open the trace for that payslip item:

  • UIF – employee (new)
  • UIF – employer (new)
  • SDL – employer* (new)
  • Retirement deduction (new)
  • Tax (existing)

When you open the UIF trace, you will then be able to click on Income Subject to UIF to view how the income used in the UIF calculation was determined.

Similarly, when you open the SDL trace, you will be able to click on Income Subject to SDL.

*Reminder: the government has provided an SDL holiday until the end of August. The SDL trace will therefore only be available for payslips after August.

We hope these new features help you to answer some of the questions that you may have on how these payslip items are calculated, so that you can more easily check your payroll and also answer questions that employees may have.

If you need any assistance with these new features, please reach out to our support team.

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

New Functionality: Download Responses to Electronic UIF Submissions

In our blog on 18 May, we informed you that in addition to our email confirming UIF submissions, we had added new functionality where you could download your submitted file. We have enhanced this functionality further so that you can now also download the responses from the UIF.

To reiterate, whilst these files may not be useful for payroll administration purposes, they will provide records of the file submitted and the UIF responses.

To locate and download the files:

  1. Go to Filing
  2. Navigate to the relevant month
  3. Under the Electronic Status heading in the UIF Declaration section, the status should be “confirmed” (Note: the file is only available for successful submissions)
  4. Click on the icon next to “confirmed” to download the file

Please note: Should you need to open these files, you will need to rename the file to include “.csv” at the end (and remove the abbreviation for the current file format). This will allow you to view the file in Excel, Google Sheets or another spreadsheet application.

For more information about monthly submissions, head to our help page here.

If you require any assistance regarding this functionality, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Lockdown Recap Blog #5

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

Update 25 May: As mentioned in previous blogs, such as the Employment Tax Validation blog, SDL contributions for the months of May to August 2020 have been set to zero in line with the legislation. This will be reflected on your EMP201s and you do not need to do anything on your end.

After having a week off last Friday, we’re back to business with the consolidatory blog for the past fortnight! Without further ado, let’s get straight into what’s been covered this week.

This Week’s Blogs

As per every week, here’s the list and summary of this week’s blogs, just in case you missed them!

Annual Employer Reconciliation Period Deadline blog contents:

  • Extended deadline remains 31 May
  • Information on individual tax returns

Repo Rate Change blog contents:

  • New rate of interest cut by 50 basis points

TERS for Foreign Employees and OID Comp Return of Earnings blog contents:

  • Steps to follow to receive TERS Benefits for foreign employees
  • OID Comp Return of Earnings, delayed deadline
  • Relief measures to support employers with respect to their Return of Earnings

Submitted Files for UIF Declaration Now Available blog contents:

  • UI-19 declarations submitted through SimplePay can now be downloaded for personal records
  • Information how to open the file in spreadsheet format

UIF Submissions Update: 18/05/2020 blog contents:

  • Update on the turnaround times for UIF submissions, as well as the amount of backdating
  • Link to original update blog on 14 May.

COVID-19 TERS Update blog contents:

  • Department of Labour’s post application support document for employers who applied for TERS benefits and are looking for further guidance
  • A note for employers who are wanting to apply for TERS in May

New SARS Codes and System Item for Disaster Relief Funds blog contents:

  • Tax Treatment of disaster relief payments
  • New “COVID-19 Disaster Relief” system item on SimplePay

Employment Tax Validation Process blog contents:

  • Summary of the tax validation process
  • Process to follow for over and under deductions
  • News on SDL payment holiday
  • News on the expansion of parental leave benefits

Take-Home Highlights

Employer Annual Reconciliation Period

As mentioned in our blog published earlier today, the deadline for IRP5/IT3(a)s is 31 May, in a little over a week’s time.

We have made all the necessary changes to our system, so all that is left to do is to ensure you get your returns submitted on time!

COVID-19 TERS

It has come to the point where no blog really feels complete without a nod to COVID-19 TERS.

The situation as it stands with TERS is that applications for May have still not opened. We are periodically checking the UIF website for a change (https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/), but so far to no avail.

Hopefully the application downtime is being used wisely, whereafter a streamlined process will emerge for the remainder of the scheme.

In the meantime we are all at the mercy of Government timelines and process; unfortunately we have no insight into or influence on these, but will do our best to keep you informed as and when we know more.

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

Submitted Files of UIF Declaration Now Available

One of the benefits of being a SimplePay user is that you can submit your UIF Declarations (UI-19 forms) directly to the Department of Labour with the click of a button. This allows you to completely bypass uFiling, making the filing process more convenient and less time consuming.

The data in the UIF Declaration is submitted to the Department of Labour in the required file format. For readability and user-friendliness purposes, SimplePay provides you with PDF and Excel versions of these UIF Declarations. We have now expanded our UIF functionality for successful submissions to include a download of the submitted file. While the format of these files may not be as useful for payroll administration, they do serve as a record of the actual file submitted, should there be any queries or disputes with the Department of Labour.

To download this file:

  1. Go to Filing
  2. Navigate to the relevant month
  3. Under the Electronic Status heading in the UIF Declaration section, the status should be “confirmed” (Note: the file is only available for successful submissions)
  4. Click on the icon next to “confirmed” to download the file

Please note: Should you need to open these files, you will need to rename the file to include “.csv” at the end (and remove the abbreviation for the current file format). This will allow you to view the file in Excel, Google Sheets or another spreadsheet application.

For more information about monthly submissions, head to our help page here.

If you require any assistance regarding this functionality, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

UIF Submissions Update: 18/05/2020

Last week we posted a blog update covering electronic UIF submissions turnaround times. Thankfully it seems that in the interim they have started clearing the backlog and are processing newer submissions more quickly. With this in mind, we wanted to provide an update on the current state of UIF submissions in relation to TERS claims.

We are currently doing everything we can to ease the burden on UIF and ensure that they receive all the necessary submissions for the processing of TERS. We’ve limited immediate submissions to the past six (6)  months because we’ve been advised that as long as the UIF has submission information for Jan to March 2020, TERS applications will be processed. At this stage, it appears that the majority of clients experiencing issues with UIF submissions have encountered them during the TERS application process.

Unfortunately, because of the sheer volumes of data and the massive backlog at the UIF, we are not currently processing resubmissions further back than Nov 2019. This is to ensure that we do not overwhelm their electronic submissions channel and prevent the processing of newer declarations needed for TERS claims. Once the dust settles, we will begin resubmitting these backlogged, older declarations. If you need to urgently resubmit declarations for periods prior to November 2019, we would recommend use of another channel such as email or uFiling, simply because this means of electronic submission appears to be overloaded and struggling due to increased volumes from the lockdown.

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

UIF Submission Update

Over the past few weeks, we’ve provided several updates on the increasingly slow turnaround times for acknowledgement of electronic UIF submissions through SimplePay. This seems to be an unfortunate consequence of the large number of employers filing their UIF submissions due to the pandemic. We are working with members of the UIF’s technical division to help reduce the strain on their system and improve the reliability and turnaround times on these electronic submissions. At this stage, it’s difficult to provide an estimate timeline but we are hopeful that things will start to speed up from early next week.

In the meantime, for any urgent submissions or resubmissions (e.g. where necessary to process TERS or UIF benefit claims), you may want to try using the uFiling portal as a temporary measure. We realise that this additional manual work is not ideal and likely provides unnecessary extra stress in an already stressful period but feel it is the most responsible course of action to be transparent around our issues with the UIF and provide you with a hopefully more reliable interim solution. Please see the following links for more

We apologise for any inconvenience that this causes; the situation is unfortunately out of our hands but, as mentioned above, we are actively engaged and working with them to provide you with the convenience and peace of mind to which you’ve been accustomed as a SImplePay client.

As always, thank you for your patience, understanding and ongoing support.

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay