The Kenya National Housing Development Fund (NHDF) implementation delayed

On Monday, 27 May 2019, the implementation of the NHDF levy has been extended by the Employment and Labour Relations Court, barring the government from implementing the disputed 1.5% housing levy.

The housing levy was to take effect in May following a public notice by the government in April ordering employers to deduct and remit the levy by the 9th of every succeeding month.

The case was initially filed by Central Organisations of Trade Unions (Cotu). The case was also filed by various other parties that include, Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), Trade Union Congress of Kenya, Consumers Federation of Kenya (CoFeK) and the Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) challenging the levy.

Further development will be closely monitored, and you will be kept informed.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.

© 2019 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Short-term work authorisation restricted to 180 days per year

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has issued a directive, restricting short-term work on a Visitor’s Visa in terms of Section 11(2) of the Immigration Act, to a maximum of 180 days per calendar year.

The visa may only be applied for once in a calendar year and only extended once for a period not exceeding three months. When applying for an extension, the DHA will calculate to ensure that the applicant does not exceed 180 days in South Africa in any given calendar year.

Foreign nationals who have already obtained a 90-day Section 11(2) work authorization followed by a three-month renewal should expect that they will not qualify for another renewal within the same calendar year.

It is important to know that a holiday/business visa may not be used to render employment services in South Africa. To render employment services in South Africa, an employee must be in possession of a valid short-term work visa.

Companies relying on short-term work visas for more than 180 days per year may need to find alternative visa categories, such as the intra-company transfer work visa or critical skills work visa.

The consequences of employees working on a holiday/business visa could result in the arrest and deportation for the foreign national and a fine and/or arrest for the employer.

The following documentation or statements are required for the authorization of a visa for short-term work:

  • Purpose or necessity of the work
  • Nature of the work
  • Qualifications and Skills required for the work
  • Duration of the work
  • Place of work
  • Duration of the visit
  • Proof of remuneration or stipend that the foreigner will receive from the employer
  • Identity and contact details of the prospective employer or relevant contact person from the workplace

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.

© 2019 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Consider the security implications for payroll when adopting cloud solutions

The recent launch of two multinational data centres in South Africa has placed renewed focus on the benefits that the cloud can provide businesses. Ian McAlister, General Manager of HR (human resources) and payroll specialists CRS Technologies South Africa, believes that when it comes to sensitive payroll data, there are caveats to be aware of when migrating to the cloud.

“Availability and security were the two biggest stumbling blocks to enterprise adoption of the cloud in 2007. Fast forward to 2019 and decision-makers still face these concerns. Even though both elements have improved significantly, addressing data availability and security will always be a priority for organisations, especially given the evolving regulatory environment.”

Because data in a cloud environment is accessed through the web, it is inherently less secure than a dedicated hosted solution (where companies have a dedicated server at a secure location with applications that can be customised to their unique requirements).

For example, the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) provides companies with a significantly more secure method of connecting to hosted servers, as opposed to the ‘public’ access to the cloud.

Not understanding the implications when moving important data (such as those stored in payroll and HR systems) could have significant financial and reputational repercussions,” McAlister warns.

“Data has become fundamental to business growth in the digital business landscape. Companies rely on data analytics to draw insights and customise offerings for customers, while end-users share personal information to ensure a tailored experience that reflects their likes and dislikes.

Now imagine a world where that data has a bullseye painted on it. Nobody is safe, and no organisation is too small or too large to be compromised. According to the 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the average cost of a data breach globally in 2018 is $3.86 million.”

“Clearly, there is significant risk for HR and payroll departments,” McAlister continues.

“The potential for compromise when using the public cloud (computing services offered by third-party providers over the public internet) is simply too great. Instead, companies must investigate the opportunities that private (a secure cloud-based environment in which only a specific client can operate) and hybrid cloud (a combination of both public and private cloud approaches) solutions provide, while still ensuring sensitive data is kept safe.”

McAlister says that these more secure cloud offerings provide a range of benefits for HR and payroll departments, given the real-time environment of business today.

“These offerings typically deliver automated, real-time and exception-based options for departments to carefully manage sensitive data. They also provide decision-makers with the ability to validate transactional and input data at the source (depending on the provider and solution used). This enables departments to not only improve their speed to market, but also reduce the strain on administrative staff.”

While it does bring immense value, the cloud should not be viewed as a silver bullet to address all organisational challenges when it comes to HR and payroll. Instead, McAlister says companies need to focus on the strategic value that private and hybrid cloud offerings can provide, while remaining focused on security and data compliance fundamentals.

To read more about this topic, click here to download our free White Paper ‘Enhancing Payroll with the Cloud’.

The importance of outsourcing your payroll have many benefits

One of an organisation’s biggest overheads is that of salaries and wages. And yet, if these are not processed on time, it can negatively impact staff morale and create the impression that the company is not financially stable.

For a small business, the payroll is normally the responsibility of an accountant or bookkeeper, but even administrators can sometimes be roped in to do the job, even though they have no expertise in the matter. This is where the value of outsourcing your payroll comes in.

When should you outsource?

  • If you want to grow your business but are not aware of ongoing legislative changes that could pose a risk to your company, then it is better to get professionals to assist.
  • Accountants and bookkeepers are not specialists and do not keep up with the compliance environment. If you outsource your payroll, you enable them to focus their core duties and not get bogged down by legislative complexities.

How to choose an outsourced service provider

Understandably, payroll is a sensitive subject dealing with highly confidential information. This is often the last thing a small business owner wants to outsource. It is therefore vital that the company does its homework and researches the potential outsourcing partner thoroughly.

Instead of going with the first available service provider or the cheapest one, here are some questions to ask:

  • Is the service provider a one-man band and, if so, what backup resources are available?
  • Is the service provider a recognised payroll provider belonging to a professional body?
  • Do they have the necessary training and skills on payroll?
  • What does the service provider do to ensure it stays up to date with legislation?
  • How secure is the payroll data and can the service provider take on historic data?
  • How easy is it to recover your payroll data in the event of a disaster?
  • What value-adds can the service provider offer? These can include anything from leave management and third-party payments, to employee self-service, time and attendance management, and any other related human resource service.
  • Can they process salaries and/or wages hourly, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly?
  • Can the service provider accommodate your growth requirements if you open new branches?
  • Is the service provider able to assist with payrolls in other African countries, manage their currencies, and deal with their regulatory environments?
  • What processes are in place to ensure the timeous processing of payrolls?

The advantages of outsourcing your payroll

One of the most obvious benefits of going the outsourcing route is freeing up your resources to focus on your core strategic objectives. This ensures you provide quality of service and control costs while an experienced partner takes care of your payroll.

Here are a few other benefits:

  • Reduce operating costs.
  • Statutory compliance and consistent service delivery.
  • Access to the latest technology, as well as skilled and dedicated payroll resources.
  • Access to a secure, risk-free and confidential payroll environment.
  • Increased flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Streamlined internal processes and procedures.

HR and payroll specialists CRS Technologies and Microsoft partners DAC Systems have integrated employee master data and leave balances into the Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent solution, a first of its kind in the market.

“Combining the respective strengths of these organisations, we have developed an innovative solution that will greatly enhance how HR and payroll departments manage the talent in organisations,” says Ian McAlister, General Manager of CRS Technologies South Africa.

This partnership enhances the Dynamics 365 for Talent solution to simplify the process and pitfalls of dealing with the human factor legally and fairly. Elements such as the drafting of policies and procedures encompassing equity policies, disciplinary codes, leave entitlement, and retirement terms are all instrumental in ensuring the smooth running of HR and payroll departments.

Additionally, D365 for Talent enhances the recruitment process by streamlining the developing job specifications, assisting with screening, conducting reference checks, managing the pre-interview process, as well as conducting background checks and psychometric testing.

“We are especially excited by the introduction of this payroll functionality as it links the system into the financial back-end of the organisation to make all aspects around this as seamless as possible. Being the first in the market to develop this feature, CRS and DAC are leading the field when it comes to HR and payroll integration between CRS and D365 for Talent. The user-friendly design ensures talent practitioners can work more strategically with the solution, automating much of the manual, admin-intensive features,” says McAlister.

With this payroll integration, Dynamics 365 for Talent extends its functionality beyond traditional HR management to provide a complete value proposition for HR and payroll departments. Additional components and features will be rolled out later.

“This solution is designed to improve aspects of the HR and payroll function inside organisations. Furthermore, our personalised approach means Dynamics 365 for Talent can be customised to suit the needs of any business, irrespective of industry,” concludes McAlister.

Enhancing Payroll with the Cloud white paper

Not understanding the implications of moving important HR and payroll systems data to a cloud environment could have significant financial and reputational repercussions for your organisation.

CRS’s first published white paper defines the differences between the various cloud platforms available to organisations, examines the financial and regulatory impact of data breaches, and explores the strategic value provided by the more secure cloud solutions.

Click here to download our free White Paper ‘Enhancing Payroll with the Cloud

How to become the employer your staff love

Making employees happy might seem like an oversimplified way to deal with the complex issues modern organisations face, but as Ian McAlister, General Manager of CRS Technologies South Africa, points out, it is fundamental to the success of a business. This is where human resources (HR) and payroll come in.

“In a way, HR and payroll become enablers to transforming a business into the caring employer its employees love. Fundamentally, happy employees are not only more loyal to the organisation, but they are more committed to ensuring customers are happy as well. And in a competitive landscape, this can mean the difference between success and failure.”

So, how does HR and payroll figure into this transformation mix?

Simply put, the former deals with the people processes in a business, while the latter is focused on the payment of salaries. In the past, many people only cared about doing their job and getting paid for it. Over the years, this rands and cents approach has shifted significantly to one that is more integrated and life-focused.

“Yes, people do their jobs because they get paid to do so, but it is about so much more than that,” says McAlister.

Empowering people with skills and tools they never had access to before

“The democratisation of technology is empowering people with skills and tools they never had access to before. This is creating an increasingly sophisticated workforce where people bring unique skills to an organisation beyond the scope of what their jobs might require. HR and payroll can unlock this hidden value by being more human-centric and determining where best these skills can be applied.”

At face value, an employer that shows its employees it is more focused on delivering a 360-degree environment where people receive recognition for all the skills they bring to the company, is one where such wellness and other initiatives gain significant success.

“Part of this sees HR and payroll needing to move from the traditionally held perception that it is just there to tick boxes and pay salaries. Instead, today’s HR services encompass a broader list of requirements than in the past. While remuneration is part of this, so too are employee rewards, wellness initiatives, business process re-engineering, skills development, and data analysis.”

Constant pressure to perform

Unfortunately, the evolution of technology has changed the nature of business. There is constant pressure to perform on a local and global level, especially given the competitive nature of the digital environment.

“Decision-makers need to find trusted partners they can rely on to take care of their HR and payroll functions so that they can remain focused on their strategic objectives. This is as much about enhancing existing operations as it is about delivering new platforms for employee engagement. And once this changes, happy employees will result in much happier work environments,” McAlister concludes.

To find out more how HR and payroll can transform your business to become the employer your staff love, please feel free to contact us for more information.

After declaring 8 May (the day of national and provincial elections) a public holiday, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged employers to encourage their staff to use the day to exercise their right to vote.

Employers who force their employees to work on 8 May without their consent and prevent them from voting are not only contravening the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, but are also violating their employees’ constitutional rights.

To prevent any misunderstandings and/or labour disputes, CRS recommends that employers enter into a written mutual agreement with their employees about working on public holidays. Ensure that they fully understand the requirements and implications of the agreement. Once signed, employees who then decide to vote rather than show up for work on Election Day will be guilty of unauthorised absence, which is a disciplinary offence.

Payroll audits – get ready before SARS comes knocking

During this year’s budget speech Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced a tax revenue shortfall of R43 billion. This means that most companies can expect a payroll audit from SARS as it strives to meet its collection targets.

Waiting for the knock at your door to get your payroll in order is too late. CRS can help you identify and address any existing errors or compliance issues before you receive that dreaded SARS notification and ensure that your company payroll receives a clean bill of health.

Motivated employees drive business success – listen and understand to what your employees want

With only 15 percent of employees globally engaged with their jobs, according to Gallup, executives are finding it tough to get people more actively involved in the business. The days of simply doing a job and getting paid for it are long gone. In the digital workplace, employee engagement is vital to boosting productivity, reducing staff churn, and improving customer satisfaction and company culture.

Ian McAlister, General Manager of CRS Technologies, believes issues such as a lack of recognition, very little organisational transparency, and a divide between senior management and the rest of the staff are contributing to employee apathy. He says that engagement should focus on motivating employees to give their best at work. This risk-free talent administration will enable the business to deliver on its strategic mandate more effectively. And in an ultra-competitive environment, this is vital for growth.

“Companies can ill afford to ignore their employees in these difficult times. Instead of passing the problem on to HR, the leadership should take the time to leverage research around human behaviour and neuroscience to deliver on a more emotionally-driven work environment rather than one that is financially-driven. It is about management listening to and understanding what their employees want and taking the necessary steps to deliver on this.”

neuroleadership – SCARF model

Without going into too much of the scientific detail, McAlister cites Dr David Rock’s (who coined the term neuroleadership) SCARF model, which uses neuroscience as a way for people to work more effectively with one another. He identifies certain ‘domains’ or ‘levers’ which impact on people’s behaviour in social situations and provide employers with a useful roadmap to understand and influence each other’s behaviour more effectively. Rock argues that humans will move towards or away from engaging more deeply, depending on the extent to which these levers are present in an organisation.

The levers are:

  • Status – the need for workplace significance: In other words, our relative importance to others. For example, the manager feels he or she can do the job well and so provides extensive feedback on what the other person should do differently. The person feels this as a threat to his or her status.
  • Certainty – the need for workplace predictability: This is about our ability to predict the future. For example, managers do not understand the importance of clear expectations so they may not generate a feeling of certainty.
  • Autonomy – the need to influence the impact of the workplace: This is our sense of control over events. For example, managers often micromanage, and therefore do not give employees a sense of autonomy.
  • Relatedness – the need for human connection, support and empathy: This refers to how people relate to their peers. For example, managers often do not connect with people on a personal level for fear of being too close to them. And yet, this ‘closeness’ is vitally important.
  • Fairness: the need for consistently equitable treatment: This refers to the degree of fairness we perceive the exchanges between people to be. For example, managers do not understand the importance of a sense of fairness, so they keep things secret.

Based on extensive research

Rock’s SCARF model is based on extensive research showing how these five levers activate the same threat and reward responses in people’s brains that are used for physical survival. In other words, it is about an organisation minimising threats to employees and maximising rewards.

“Ultimately, this boils down to empowering people with more opportunities to make a meaningful difference to the organisation, and recognising them for it,” says McAlister. “This reward does not necessarily have to take a monetary value but can be something as straightforward as heralding them at a staff meeting or even taking them for lunch to more actively engage with them.

“It has become too easy to throw technology at the problem in the hope that it will remedy all organisational ills. But there is something to be said for organisations who are prepared to listen to their employees, relate to them, and develop strategic interventions that make them feel like an integral part of the business.

“Pioneering organisations are increasingly challenging the conventional role of performance management in the employee engagement space and seeking alternatives that serve to better inspire employees. It’s about turning the traditional staff appraisal on its head and coming up with more innovative ways of measuring performance. This is also where initiatives like employee wellness come in.”

It’s also about leveraging continuous and collaborative conversations with employees around shorter term goals and identifying and resolving barriers to achieving goals rather than simply ticking boxes to what makes a good employee, McAlister continues.

“Management should harness ideas around how to manage the things employees are threatened by and show them that they do care about them as individuals, not just as cogs in a machine. An employee engagement strategy that seeks to better inspire and motivate people should incorporate an emotional and ‘human element’.”

In a world where digital solutions and technology have become such a natural part of our working environment, organisations who are willing to reintroduce the ‘humanness’ of their relationships with employees will not only create a more engaged workforce, but also drive future business growth. And the advantage of this new way of approaching talent management is that it is without any risks to the organisation.

“Employee engagement is not a glorified human resources tactic. It is a fundamental component of the successful business today. This will help instil an organisational culture ripe for success that will attract the best talent, the best customers, and the best business benefits.”

For more information on the tactical elements required to drive employee engagement and to read more about the SCARF model, please contact us. We also provide thought starters on how best to conduct a survey with your staff and obtain the necessary information to affect organisational change.