April is upon us and with it comes the usual headache of managing leave. Our caution to you this Easter is to make sure you have not only managed your leave schedules internally, but that you have managed your supply chain and customers. No doubt productivity will be impacted, but a few simple checks can ensure that you get through the holiday period without jeopardising your business continuity.

Then, many of you are looking for ways to better manage your business costs. Cloud computing is a hot topic, but not many people understand what it means and what it can offer your company. Below we invite you to read a quick Cloud 101 to learn more.

Finally, and most importantly, there have been some changes to SARS landscape, details of which are summarised below.

Until next time,

James McKerrell

Legislative Changes

There have been a few changes to the tax landscape recently so be sure to take note of these (and the deadlines) to ensure an easy and timeous annual reconciliation process.

  • PAYE Annual Reconciliations: The submission period for employers for their annual PAYE reconciliation is 4 April to 3 June 2011. Please ensure that you start the process early as volumes will increase closer to the deadline.
  • Official Interest Rate: The “official rate of interest” for calculating fringe benefits will reduce with fifty basis points to 6.5% with effect from 1 March 2011.This is now linked to the repo rate and will change each time the repo rate is adjusted. (The reduction is due to amendments to the definition of “official rate of interest” which now states that the official rate, in the case of a loan denominated in Rand, is equal to the South African repurchase rate plus 1% with effect from 1 March 2011. Therefore, the current repurchase rate of 5.5% plus 1% results in an official rate of 6.5%).
  • e@syFile: SARS have stated that the next version of e@syfile will be released on 4 April. All users need to upgrade to this version prior to completing their reconciliations.
  • Employee Tax Registration Numbers: Please note that SARS will allow submissions without an employee having a tax registration number however, you can expect to receive penalties should you do so. Therefore, please ensure that you have received all of the registration numbers back from SARS, have loaded them onto CRS and have applied for numbers should any be missing.
  • COIDA Limits: The Department of Labour has not responded to a number of queries raised by the Payroll Authors Group in terms of how some of the requirements are to be implemented. This has created a great deal of confusion. CRS has made a number of changes to Version 4-03sp1C in an endeavour to make the reporting as easy as possible.
  • The earnings limit has also increased to  R277 860 effective 1 March 2011. (COIDA is similar to UIF in that earnings are capped. For example, if someone earns R300 000 per annum, the employer will only pay premiums on the R277 860).

A hitchhiker’s guide to the clouds

Despite the fact we use cloud computing on a daily basis in our personal lives, companies remain reticent to entrust their core functions, such as HR and payroll to companies offering Software as a Service (SaaS) functionality.

Click here to read more on the benefits of hosted services delivered over the cloud. We also address some common concerns around security in the clouds.

Absenteeism – when ailments coincide with public holidays

Want an even longer weekend but don’t have the leave due? It’s the oldest trick in the book— ailments that conveniently occur around public holidays! When it comes to organisational productivity, holidays are disruptive enough without employees chancing it with fake ‘sickies’. This April, HR managers need to be ten steps ahead of this to avoid unnecessary disruptions but what happens when employees are genuinely ill? The folks at Labour Bulletin recently answered a question on the topic:

Question: I would like to understand when the employer has the right to accept or refuse sick leave.

Answer: An employee is entitled to 30 days’ sick leave over a three-year period. If an employee is absent from work for more than two consecutive days or on more than two occasions during an eight-week period, the employer only has to give the employee paid sick leave on those days if the employee can prove that he was sick by producing a medical certificate.

The medical certificate must be issued and signed by a medical practitioner or any other person who is certified to diagnose and treat patients and who is registered with a professional council established by an Act of Parliament.

If the employee doesn’t produce a medical certificate where the employee has been absent for two consecutive days or on more than two occasions during an eight-week period, or if the medical certificate doesn’t comply with the above requirements, the employer doesn’t have to grant the employee paid sick leave and the leave may be treated as unpaid leave.

Training Modules

We continue to offer a selection of training on our modules. Please click here for the dates and venues.