CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

 

FEBRUARY 2021 – SOUTH AFRICA
2021/2022 BUDGET SPEECH
It is important that employers note the following:

South Africa 2021/2022 Budget Speech and important changes affecting payroll

The Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, delivered the Budget Speech for the fiscal year 2021/2022 on Wednesday, 24 February 2021.

Highlights of the Budget Speech summarised:

·        Budget deficit has been revised to 14% of GDP in 2020/2021.

·        Gross debt has increased from 65.6% to 80.3% of GDP.

·        The 2021 Budget proposes measures to narrow the main budget primary deficit from 7.5% of GDP to 0.8% in 2023/2024.

·        The proposed fiscal framework will stabilise debt at 88.9% of GDP in 2025/2026.

·        Over the medium term, debt service costs are expected to average 20.9% of gross tax revenue.

·        The global and domestic recovery remains highly uncertain, while spending pressures from state-owned companies continue to exert upward pressure on the expenditure ceiling. During 2021 a new round of public-service wage negotiations will take place.

·        Government will roll out a free mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, for which R9 billion has been allocated.

Tax Proposals:

·        Government will not raise any additional tax revenue in this budget.

·        Personal income tax brackets and rebates will increase above the inflation rate of 4%.

·        The UIF contribution ceiling will be set at R17 711.58 per month with effect from 1 March 2021.

·        The general fuel levy will increase by 15 cents per litre and the Road Accident Fund levy will increase by 11 cents with effect from 7 April 2021.

·        An 8% increase will be levied on excise duties for alcohol and tobacco products.

Social grants:

·        Old age, disability and care dependency grants increase by R30 to R1 890 per month.

·        The war veterans grant increases by R30 to R1 910 per month.

·        The foster care grant increases by R10 to R1 050 per month.

·        The child support grant increases by R15 to R460 per month.

 

For Payroll:

·        Tax brackets adjusted

·        Medical tax credits increased.

·        Tax rebates and tax thresholds increased.

The UIF contribution ceiling to be set at R17 711.58 per month with effect from 1  March 2021.

Trusts other than special trusts: tax rate of 45%

 

Medical Tax Credits:

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

© 2020 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

 

FEBRUARY 2021 – SOUTH AFRICA
RETURN OF EARNINGS DEADLINE
It is important that employers note the following:

COID Return of Earnings (ROE) deadline extended

The Department of Employment and Labour has published a notice to all employers, informing them that the date for the submission of the 2020 Return of Earnings has been extended to 31 May 2021.

The portal for submitting the 2020 returns will be open from 1 April 2021 to 31 May 2021.

The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act No 130 of 1993 (COIDA) provides for compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees during their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases.

To view the notice, follow the link.

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

© 2020 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

UIF TERS and update on benefits – understand your position

In February the South African government, via the Department of Employment and Labour, announced updates related to the extension of the UIF TERS benefit period. Employers in sectors that have been targeted for relief have the opportunity to apply for the TERS benefits.

As many businesses continue to grapple with the realities of COVID-19, any and every opportunity to gain support and strengthen operations is very welcome.

Business leaders should be aware that in a regulation that is still to be issued, it is anticipated that sectors not fully operational since the beginning of the lockdown may be able to apply for TERS benefits from 16 October 2020 until 15 March 2021.

Reduced Work Time Benefits

In light of the extended UIF TERS benefit period, employers in the sectors targeted for relief will have the opportunity to apply for the TERS benefits.

Since the UIF TERS application period came to an end on 31 December 2020, employees could make use of the Short Term/Reduced Work Time Benefits.

It is also reassuring that the Department has confirmed it will continue to provide financial relief through the already existing Short Term/Reduced Work Time Benefit.

The Reduced Work Time covers employees whose working hours have been reduced or who are forced to stay at home due to work stoppage.

Normally, a claim for this benefit is submitted by an employee with the assistance of the employer.

However, the system has been enhanced to enable employers to submit bulk applications on behalf of employees and a spreadsheet has been designed to make this easy for employers.

Difference between the two benefits

As pointed out in a news flash from the South African Payroll Author’s Group (PAGSA) to its clients, employees and employers should be aware of the difference between the two benefits:

  1. The Reduced Work Time benefit uses, and then reduces, the employee’s “credit days”. These days are then no longer available to the employee to increase the value of unemployment benefits at a later stage.
  2. The TERS benefit does not use or reduce “credit days”. The value of the RWT benefit is, in almost all cases, less than the value of the TERS benefit.

To access the bulk Reduced Work Time benefit application spreadsheet, follow the link.

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

Putting people first in a digital work environment

One of the concerns that the rapid rise of remote working has highlighted is the potential for employee burnout. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, says this does not have to be the case, as modernising systems provide scope for increased flexibility.

“This will require decision-makers to shift their focus from having staff clock in and out of work at certain times and rather look at the deliverables they must accomplish. So, even though the workplace of the future will be digitally led, it will be guided by a people-centricity that was previously often lacking in traditional systems,” he says.

By embracing digital solutions and processes, companies will not only ensure their ability to survive market uncertainty, but also optimise economic efficiency. This is where strategy becomes important as it helps guide decision-makers on identifying the stakeholder partners to pursue, the employees best fit for reskilling and upskilling, and incorporating flexibility in how these engagements take place.

Mitigate risk of disruption

“Becoming digital first when it comes to technology and innovation will aid companies in creating a stronger defensive organisational environment that is adept at withstanding disruption, whether this comes from the pandemic or other external forces,” says McAlister. “To do so requires a focus more on systemic enhancements than on generating short-term profit. One of the spin-offs this will bring is companies becoming more focused on employee wellbeing, restructuring organisational processes to optimise remote working environments, and using leadership more creatively to unlock value from their workers.”

Central to this is how technology becomes the enabler to reach the potential a digitised working environment can bring. But providing the parameters to do so effectively requires a focus on getting the most out of people and valuing them for more than the skills they provide.

All about the people

“Research shows that establishing a human-centric culture, adopting agile and nimble organisational structures, and paying attention to health and safety will become the new priorities in this future world of work. These components combine to drive people transformation using digital solutions,” says McAlister.

Some of the factors that human resource departments can consider in this regard include personalising rewards schemes, building skills for the future, and linking performance and productivity. Data-driven insights can help guide companies on how best to capitalise on this and differentiate themselves from competitors by how effectively they embrace digital solutions.

“Throughout this process, productivity, growth, and innovation must remain top of mind. By adding value using digital means to deliver an improved return on investment, companies can capitalise on technology in more optimised ways, ultimately benefitting from digital solutions geared towards a more connected business environment,” concludes McAlister.

Download the white paper: click here

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

 

FEBRUARY 2021 – SOUTH AFRICA
UIF TERS AND REDUCED WORK TIME BENEFITS
It is important that employers note the following:

UIF Covid-19 TERS
Following the State of the Nation address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 11 February 2021, the Department of Employment and Labour has issued a notice confirming the announcement in respect of the extension of the UIF TERS benefit period.

In a regulation still to be issued, it is anticipated that sectors not fully operational since the beginning of the lockdown may be able to apply for TERS benefits from 16 October 2020 until 15 March 2021.

To view the notice, follow the link.

Reduced Work Time Benefits
In light of the extended UIF TERS benefit period, employers in the sectors targeted for relief will have the opportunity to apply for the TERS benefits. Since the UIF TERS application period came to an end on 31 December 2020, employees could make use of the Short Term/Reduced Work Time Benefits.

The Department of Employment and Labour will continue to provide financial relief through the already existing Short Term/Reduced Work Time Benefit.

The Reduced Work Time covers employees whose working hours have been reduced or who are forced to stay at home due to work stoppage.

Normally, a claim for this benefit is submitted by an employee with the assistance of the employer. However, the system has been enhanced to enable employers to submit bulk applications on behalf of employees and a spreadsheet has been designed to make this easy for employers.

As pointed out in a news flash from the South African Payroll Author’s Group (PAGSA) to its clients, employees and employers should be aware of the difference between the two benefits.

1.     The Reduced Work Time benefit uses, and then reduces, the employee’s “credit days”. These days are then no longer available to the employee to increase the value of unemployment benefits at a later stage.

2.     The TERS benefit does not use or reduce “credit days”. The value of the RWT benefit is, in almost all cases, less than the value of the TERS benefit.

A notice providing more details is expected to be published by the Department of Employment and Labour.

To access the bulk Reduced Work Time benefit application spreadsheet, follow the link.

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

© 2020 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Nicol Myburgh

The Human Factor

Admin, payroll, people and process are the uniquely human systems (The Human Factor) within the business, take care of them

The past year has torn back the traditional office curtains to reveal the inner workings of the human world behind spreadsheets, balance sheets, KPIs and bottom lines. It is the people who drive the business onwards, who had to work from kitchen tables and unsteady bar stools, and who pushed out the boat at 11pm while juggling kids and a global crisis. It shone a light into the crevices that often go unnoticed in the business, and highlighted how important it has become to invest into human resources (HR). According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, employees are critical to the success or failure of the company and now is the time to invest into their success with the right HR practices.

“It’s all about gathering information, collecting the data on your people, and using this data to ensure that your employees are engaged and aligned with your business goals,” he explains. “It has never been more important to have these insights than today, in the pandemic. People need to see their value, they need to understand how their jobs impact the business as a whole, and they need to know what lies ahead.”

HR takes on this role, and with the right tools, can use data and insights to refine the role and how HR professionals engage with employees. They can ensure that your people understand the big picture and how their responsibilities influence others. And they can pull people into the business when they feel disengaged or disenfranchised. This is particularly relevant today with many people still working from home and rising incidents of burnout and fatigue. People need to be inspired and made to feel that their contributions have meaning beyond the 9-5.

Risk of not paying attention is losing your people

“The risk of not paying attention is losing your people, and they are your most valuable asset,” says Myburgh. “If you lose your top performers now, you are going to struggle to replace them in the current market. If you already have, then you need to understand why you lost them and how to prevent this in the future. This is where your investment into HR can make all the difference.”

The reality is that only a percentage of people will return to the office over the next six to eight months; many will continue to work from home as the virus continues to impact health and safety. Many companies have found that the work-from-home ethos has been more productive and valuable for them so they’re actively encouraging people to stay at home, if that’s their preferred approach. Either way, it means that the workforce is fractured, which makes a cohesive and well-designed HR strategy crucial to ensuring ongoing engagement and productivity.

“There are both short and long-term benefits to investing into your HR resources,” concludes Myburgh. “In the short term, you are putting processes in place that can manage the diverse employee landscape and that can take multiple workstyles into account. In the long term, you’re building a foundation that will put people first, and that will cut out the infighting, politics and negative complexities that come with poor communication and visibility.”

HR is a positive tool that can be used to unlock potential, growth and employee wellness. It is also a shield against the risks that come with a disengaged and fractured workforce. If you invest in HR now, then you’re preparing for tomorrow using the lessons learned from the uncertainty of yesterday.

 

Ian McAlister

COVID-19 reshaping the future of the workplace

Remote working has become part of the status quo as organisations focus on keeping employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hard lockdown last year in South Africa has highlighted how it is no longer necessary to have a full complement of workers at the office. According to Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, people have proven to be as productive (if not more) at home as they are in the office.

The cloud, mobile devices, high-speed internet connectivity, and automation are contributing to how companies are reinventing their human resources processes to better cater for this distributed environment. According to McAlister, central to this is the modernisation of traditional processes into more digital-friendly ones. “Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning and the like, employees are now more empowered than ever to take on higher-level strategic business functions.”

He says the pandemic has resulted in a radical rethink about what will define the organisation of the future. So, even though working remotely is not a new concept, the impetus to do so, given the events of the past several months, means companies can no longer simply pay lip service to it.

Putting digital transformation first

“Beyond remote working, the business of the future must put digital transformation at its core. Part of this requires reimagining the business model to capitalise on a new way of working. Core disciplines like human resources, payroll, marketing and sales are all being pushed to the cloud, thanks to the greater need for interconnectivity between employees, managers, customers, vendors and other stakeholders,” adds McAlister.

Given the challenging economic market, recovering revenue has become a primary objective. Companies simply cannot ease back into business but need to position themselves for the long term while identifying sufficient revenue drivers to manage short-term cash flow concerns.

Skills development

“Part of this entails empowering workers with the skills, tools, and applications required to become more effective at their jobs while operating remotely. This is where human resources will play a critical role as traditional paper-based approaches will no longer be relevant,” he says.

To this end, digital channels will be the preferred pathway to manage payslips, leave applications, employee appraisals and so on. But just as the human resources function needs to be digitised, so too must the sales function reflect a better understanding of what customers will value in this new operating environment. Identifying and prioritising revenue opportunities must happen now, as opposed to having to wait until lockdown ends completely or conditions change.

“Rebuilding operations to protect the business against future disruption must happen as a matter of course. From the supply chain to internal processes must be audited, reviewed, analysed and improved upon for a future world of work. By putting the focus on digital technologies, the organisation will be able to introduce a new level of resilience that it otherwise might not have done had the pandemic not disrupted operations.”

Future work landscape

McAlister believes that the future of work will incorporate such dynamic elements as machine learning, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, the cloud and the Internet of Things, to name just a few. “Those companies best able to embrace these innovations and adapt their traditional systems will see a much more improved responsiveness to satisfy the requirements of their customers, as well as meet the digital expectations of their employees.”

The need to be agile and data-aware, coupled with a willingness to think differently about aging infrastructure and solutions, will drive the development of companies in a post-COVID-19 world.

“This could give rise to smaller, more agile teams that link together and serve specific strategic functions. Extreme agility will become part and parcel of many, if not all, operational procedures. Using digital solutions, especially mobile apps, to keep in touch with employees and manage their performance reviews must happen across the business. It is now about centralising all technology innovations to accelerate change to improve productivity, increase revenue and deliver a superior customer experience best reflective of the world of tomorrow,” concludes McAlister.

Download the white paper: click here

future-proofing your work environment

How to approach future-proofing your work environment

Now, more than ever, companies are looking for ways to help ensure their work environments better reflect the needs of the modern employee in the ‘new normal’. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, says a critical component of this is for human resources practitioners to rethink workforce and employee planning, management, performance and experience strategies.

Even though there are a myriad of strategies and tactical interventions at a company’s disposal to do this, the underlying theme centres on being less reliant on traditional roles and more focused on the skills required for a digitally transformed business that will contribute to it becoming future-proof.

“Employees must therefore be encouraged (by both human resources and their direct reports) to learn new skills that fit into these digital requirements. While some steps to change organisational behaviour can include embracing remote working at all levels, alternating employees at smaller offices using hot desks, and leveraging digital technologies in more innovative ways, the core is using technology as an enabler to deliver more rapid business value,” says McAlister.

Enhancing skills

To this end, companies must consider using technology to augment and not replace people.
“This fits in with the empowerment message that is permeating the South African workforce. With job losses a constant threat, business leaders must explore how technology can be used to bring more skills to existing employees, instead of finding ways to replace them with automation. After all, people will always be necessary to deliver the strategic insights that machine learning cannot provide on its own,” he adds.

Remote working will contribute to the transformation of talent management. With many employees, and the companies themselves preferring remote working, future-proofing the business will entail an element of delinking people from place. In other words, the office is no longer the only enabling environment to grow and nurture staff.
According to McAlister, it is now about recruiting talent globally, adopting new metrics for onboarding, promotion and leadership training, and better integrating human resources with the day-to-day operations of the business.

A soft touch

“Of course, these uncertain times require more than simply focusing on remote work and reskilling employees. Companies must also become more caring about the welfare of their people, no longer approaching employment on a ‘by-the-numbers’ system. Instead, it is about creating a corporate culture that reflects a renewed focus on purpose and ethics in a digital-centric world,” he says.

This means companies can no longer be tied to static structural strategies more focused on traditional approaches. They must be able to outmanoeuvre any future uncertainty by being fluid in their outlook – both short-term and long-term.

“This requires reassessing assumptions, re-evaluating scenarios, and adapting faster to current and potential future disruption. People will remain the dominant force in any organisation. By preparing fit-for-purpose plans that unlock all the value they can give, they can better evolve as heath and economic conditions change. While embracing digital technologies will be important in this regard, it comes down to changing mindsets as an instrumental first step in helping future-proof the business,” he concludes.

Download the white paper: Click here

Work from home: Drinking on the job

Work from home: Drinking on the job

Drunk at 12pm? Thinking of a quick glass at 1? It can be a fireable offence

Working from home has become a normal part of business life, a part that is unlikely to come to a crashing halt any time soon. Within this new normal are casual clothes, comfortable working conditions, as well as less time spent in cars and chatting around the water cooler. These changes are immensely valuable to both employer and employee – boosting morale, productivity and work/life balance. However, there are also risks to this new found freedom, one of which is that an employee could see it as an opportunity to have a drink or two while working.  According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, this is a very risky move as many companies have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol and drugs, and people can lose their jobs.

“It comes down to one simple decision – if it impairs your ability to do your job, then you should not be doing it during working hours, even if you’re at home,” he explains. “That said, as an employer it is important to set boundaries and understand the letter of the law when it comes to an employee acting as if they are under the influence. A good first step is to investigate the situation, then ask them if they are alright and to explain their behaviour on the day in question.”

If the employee admits to having a drinking problem, this introduces a new layer of complexity for the company. If a person has any kind of substance abuse challenge, the employer is obligated to provide them with reasonable assistance, according to the Labour Relations Act. While the business has to help them find treatment and ensure that they are given the right kind of support, it is not required to pay for it.

If the person denies drinking

“The other side of the coin is if the person denies drinking,” says Myburgh. “Labour legislation expects the company to prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that someone is under the influence. If they are behaving in a certain way or doing certain things, this can be reasonably inferred, but proof is mandatory for further action. That said, this situation needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

One incident of bad behaviour can be overlooked – the person made a poor judgement call and is rarely the type to cause problems so you can ignore it. If this becomes an ongoing problem, then you need to establish proof of whether or not the person has a problem, and then enforce any action based on company regulations and employee behaviour.

“These rules apply to any kind of mind-altering substance,” says Myburgh. “From alcohol to marijuana to illegal drugs. When it comes to medicinal drugs, however, the person does have the right to take them, unless it has a severe impact on their work. In that case, there has to be a process in place that works out how company and employee can continue within the limitations of the medication.”

Drinking on the job, whether at home or in the office, is often a fireable offence. Many companies will fire someone caught under the influence because this is outlined in their employment policies – documents that employees signed when they joined the company. For the employee, the best course of action is to avoid any kind of substance abuse during working hours as it could lose them their job. For the employer, it’s essential to find proof before accusing someone of being drunk, and to then perhaps take a more human approach to a once-off offense.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

 

FEBRUARY 2021 – SOUTH AFRICA
NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE and BCEA EARNINGS THRESHOLD
It is important that employers note the following:

National Minimum Wage (NMW)
On 8 February the Department of Employment and Labour published Government Gazette No. 44136, providing for the amendment of the national minimum wage, as set out in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the National Minimum Wage Act 9 of 2018.

With effect from 1 March 2021 the national minimum wage will be:

·        R21,69 per ordinary hour worked;

·        R21,69 per ordinary hour for farm workers;

·        R19,09 per ordinary hour for domestic workers;

·        R11,93 per ordinary hour for workers employed on an expanded public works programme.


In addition, the Minister published revised rates of pay for employees in the contract cleaning sector, employees employed in terms of learnership agreements, and employees in the wholesale and retail sector.

To view the official publication, follow the link.

BCEA Earnings Threshold
The Minister has also, in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) earnings threshold, revised the rate from R205 433.30 to R211 596.30, effective 1 March 2021.

Government Gazette No. 44137 of 8 February 2021 refers.

Chapter 2 of the Act deals with, among others, the regulation of working time, limit on the duration of an employee’s working week, and prescribing a rate at which an employee should be paid to work outside normal working hours.

Employees who earn in excess of the threshold are excluded from certain provisions of the BCEA, such as those relating to ordinary hours of work (section 9), overtime (section 10), compressed working weeks (section 11), averaging hours of work (section 12), meal intervals (section 14), daily and weekly rest periods (section 15), pay for work on Sundays (section 16), pay for night work (section 17(2)) and pay for public holidays where the employee works on a day he/she would not ordinarily work (section 18(3)).

To view the official publication, follow the link.

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

© 2020 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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