CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

AUGUST 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

DIRECTIVE ON ACCESS TO THE CCMA DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

It is important that employers note the following:

New directive issued on public access to the CCMA during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has issued a new directive on access to the CCMA. This directive is an amendment to the directive issued previously in May 2020. It will apply with effect from 1 August 2020 and serves to regulate public access to the CCMA.

The directive also sets out the manner and conditions under which matters enrolled in the CCMA will be dealt with. It must be read together with the CCMA rules.

The most important amendments include:

  • Referring disputes
    Parties are not permitted to visit any CCMA office for purposes of making enquiries, submitting or collecting referral forms, or dropping off referral forms and any other related documents. The use of electronic mail, facsimile, registered mail or the newly developed online referral platform is encouraged
  • Conciliation hearings and facilitation of large-scale retrenchment disputes
    All new cases, other than those already scheduled, will be undertaken through one of the following means:

    • Digital online platforms that are to the satisfaction of the CCMA;
    • Suitable external forums;
    • At the CCMA.

Preference will be given to telephonic conciliations.

  • Submission of arbitration awards or rulings
    CCMA to submit copies via electronic mail or post. Should a party wish to collect a hard copy of the award, prior permission must be obtained from the provincial office where the matter was referred.
  • Protocols to be followed in video conference hearings
    Participants must ensure that there is no ambient noise in the room which can interfere with audio quality during the hearing. Where the CCMA is not the host of the video conference and is thus not able to record the proceedings using the chosen online facility, the party hosting the video conferencing session must record the session and submit the audio file at the close of the proceedings. A signed statement of confirmation that the recording has not been tampered with in any way must accompany the recording. The Commissioner will give instructions as to the recording of the proceedings.

Should either party refuse to have the dispute heard through a digital platform or external venue,  reasons for such refusal must be submitted to the CCMA in writing, whereupon the CCMA will decide on the appropriate means through which the hearing will proceed.

To view the full directive, follow the link.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2020 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

AUGUST 2020 – MAURITIUS

PORTABLE RETIREMENT GRATUITY FUND & NPF/NSF

It is important that employers note the following:

Changes to Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund and NPF/NSF contributions announced

Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund (PRGF)

The Worker’s Rights (Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 has been published in Government Notice No. 123 of 2020. The amendment includes the extension of the implementation date of the PRGF to January 2021.

Earlier in the year, the effective date of 1 January 2020 was postponed to 1 April 2020 to give employers the opportunity to prepare for the implementation.

National Pensions Fund (NPF) and National Savings Fund (NSF)

On 27 July 2020 the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA) published a notice to inform employers that the minimum and maximum basic wage on which contributions to the NPF and NSF are payable have been reviewed

Effective 1 July 2020, the minimum and maximum wages for contributions are as follows:

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2020 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

JULY 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

OFFICIAL INTEREST RATE

It is important that employers note the following:

Extension of COVID-19 relief payments to 15 August 2020

Further reduction of official interest rate announced

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has decided to reduce the repo rate by 25 basis points.

The announcement was made on Thursday, 23 July 2020.

The repo rate has been reduced by 25 basis points to 3.50% per year, effective from 24 July 2020. This means that the rate at which the SARB lends to your bank has decreased from 3.75% to 3.50%.

For employers, the official interest rate applicable to payrolls will be 4.50%, effective from 1 August 2020.

The definition of “official interest rate” in the Seventh Schedule of the Income Tax Act means:

  • In the case of a loan which is denominated in the currency of the Republic, the South African repurchase (repo) rate + 100 basis points; or
  • In the case of a loan which is denominated in any other currency, the South African repurchase rate applicable in that currency + 100 basis points.

Where a new repurchase rate or equivalent rate is determined, the new interest rate applies for the purposes of this definition from the first day of the month following the date on which that new repurchase rate or equivalent rate comes into operation.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2020 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

JULY 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

EMPLOYMENT EQUITY AMENDMENT BILL 2020

It is important that employers note the following:

Employment Equity Amendment Bill 2020 approved by Cabinet

The Department of Employment and Labour has published a notice indicating that it plans to introduce the Employment Equity (EE) Amendment Bill to the National Assembly

Government Notice No. R. 798 was published in Government Gazette 43535 on 20 July 2020.

The Bill seeks to strengthen the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 and support efforts to eliminate the legacies of apartheid discrimination and inequality in the workplace.

To summarise:

  • The Bill aims to bring in mandatory training of employees.
  • An employment equity compliance certificate will be required to access state contracts.
  • The Bill will enable the Labour Minister to set numerical targets for any national economic sector.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees will no longer have to report on their employment equity targets, irrespective of their turnover.
  • The Bill re-emphasises how important it is for companies to actively transform their workplace thorough:
    • Implementing a dedicated and active EE committee;
    • Developing an EE plan and commitment to transformation; and
    • Ensuring compliance to all EE regulations.
  • The Bill revises learnership allowances and mandatory grants.

A lack of transformation in the workplace could result in a company being deemed non-compliant. This could present serious business risks or implications in the form of fines, penalties and non-access to work.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
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RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

JULY 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

UIF TERS EXTENDED PERIOD

It is important that employers note the following:

Extension of COVID-19 relief payments to 15 August 2020

On 21 July 2020 the Employment and Labour Ministry announced an extension to the COVID-19 TERS relief payments.

Following the President’s announcement to extend the life of the Disaster Management Act until 15 August 2020, the decision was taken to similarly extend the UIF TERS benefits.

The benefit structure and existing criteria remain the same.

April, May and June applications will be closed at the end of July 2020. Valid applications already received for these months will be processed.

Employees who are put on leave, have been laid off temporarily, or whose employers cannot afford to pay their full salaries due to the coronavirus crisis, are entitled to the benefits.

The maximum amount an employee will receive is R6,730 a month (based on the threshold of R17,700), while the minimum amount is R3,500 a month.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2020 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Occupationally acquired COVID-19

Refusing to work over COVID-19 fears

With the daily COVID-19 infection rate in South Africa increasing rapidly, many employees are having second thoughts on whether they should be returning to an office environment. Nicol Myburgh, Head of the HCM Business Unit at CRS Technologies, discusses the circumstances that may arise where refusing to work is believed to be the only safe option available.

“From a legal perspective, an employee may refuse to perform any work if circumstances arise which, with reasonable justification, appear to pose an imminent and serious risk of their exposure to the coronavirus,” says Myburgh.

Due process

Of course, this does not absolve employees of their responsibility to follow proper protocol, he says. “An employee who has refused to return to work must, as soon as it is reasonably practicable, notify the employer either personally or through a health and safety representative of their refusal to come to work, and provide their reasons.”

The employer must then consult with the compliance officer and any health and safety committee and endeavour to resolve any issue that may arise from the exercise of this right. Fundamentally, no person may threaten to take any action against an employee because that person has exercised or intends to exercise the right to refuse to work for a justifiable reason.

“This means that the organisation cannot dismiss, discipline, prejudice, or harass someone for refusing to perform any work if it complies with the just cause requirement. If there is a dispute, the employee may refer it to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) or an accredited bargaining council for conciliation and arbitration,” he says.

There is a risk that employees will seek to take advantage of the situation and Myburgh says the regulations seem to imply that employers have no recourse. “Fortunately, they do. The important sections in the regulations are ‘reasonable justification’ and ‘an imminent and serious risk of their exposure to COVID-19’. This makes it extremely difficult for an employee to take advantage of the situation when their employer has taken all reasonable safety steps and implemented all reasonable measures.”

Disciplinary action

If an employee refuses to go to work based on some nonsensical reason, nothing prohibits the employer from taking the necessary disciplinary steps.

According to Myburgh, the employer can choose from a range of options. These include disciplinary action (in the case of an employee not showing up, insubordination, dereliction of duty, or something similar) to dismissal based on operational requirements (commonly referred to as retrenchment).

“Fundamentally, an employer must ensure that it has complied with all the necessary health and safety regulations. If this has been done and an employee still refuses to come to work due to their perceived risk of contracting COVID-19, it would effectively render further employment operationally intolerable and likely end with a dismissal based on operational requirements,” concludes Myburgh.

For more information: contact CRS

Nicol Myburgh Head of HCM Business Unit CRS Technologies

Time to re-engage with the workforce

In these uncertain times companies have an ideal opportunity to not only reinvent the workplace, but also find more innovative ways of re-engaging with their employees. Nicol Myburgh, Head of the HCM Business Unit at CRS Technologies, believes transitioning to a more goal-oriented culture could be key to achieving this.

“One of the most important considerations in this regard is to have a peer performance standard that aligns to the SMART (specific; measurable; attainable; relevant; and timely) methodology. This helps to address the fundamental question around the responsibilities of each person working at an organisation,” he says.

Outcomes-focused

Therefore, instead of remaining focused on key performance indicators or key performance areas, management should consider basing their employee engagements on the expected outcomes. This will result in a significantly more interactive system that better aligns to the mission and vision of the organisation, with people understanding what is expected of them from a deliverable perspective.

Most companies have embraced the technology required to operate remotely. This is resulting in an environment that is significantly facilitating employees’ ability to get more work done. Myburgh says this is giving rise to a much more dynamic and social enterprise that will be critical in a post-lockdown world.

“There are three factors driving this – financial, social and environment. From a financial perspective, the employee is saving money on fuel by not having to go into the office. For the organisation, the employee becomes more productive as they do not have to spend a significant time stuck in traffic. From a social perspective, there should not be that much difference to what was in place before. However, environmentally, less traffic on the roads results in a cleaner environment. Organisations can also reduce their energy footprint by having fewer employees working at the office and even potentially downsizing to a smaller office building,” he adds.

Overcoming resistance

Even though the older generation is resistant to the changes being brought about by remote working, companies must start facilitating this in more effective ways.

“It could be something as straightforward as empowering each employee to run their ‘own’ business at home that aligns to their job responsibilities. Of course, this requires not only the physical elements to be in place such as reliable internet connectivity and a dedicated home office environment, but also better time tracking and time sheet management solutions,” he says.

Irrespective of the approach followed, business must change to accommodate the new normal in a radically different environment due to the current crisis. And critical to this is engaging with employees better than before.

For more information: contact CRS

CRS Technologies awarded SA’s first SABPP Corporate Partner status

 

CRS Technologies awarded SA’s first SABPP Corporate Partner status

CRS Technologies, a leader in integrated and efficient HR and payroll solutions and services in the South African market, has become South Africa’s first ever SABPP corporate partner. The South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) is the professional body for HR practitioners in South Africa, providing expertise and quality assurance to the industry. The SABPP’s partnership with CRS recognises the unique capabilities of the company’s platform and how it supports HR best practice.

“The award cements our relationship with the SABPP and underscores our commitment to the industry and to constantly improving the skills and quality of working environments across South Africa,” says Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS. “We are constantly working to provide a full spectrum of HR solutions and services, including legislative compliance, to the industry and to ensure that employers and employees maximise their value and growth.”

Multiple HR processing capabilities

The certificate stands as official recognition and endorsement of CRS’s product and allows for the company to use the SABPP logo in promotional activities such as on the website and marketing materials. The certification recognises the flexibility, easy navigation, multiple HR processing capabilities and accessibility of the CRS platform.

The award ceremony took place at CRS Technologies’ offices in Johannesburg. Naren Vassan, Lead:  Learning and Quality Assurance from SABPP handed the award to Nicol Myburgh, Head of the HCM Business Unit at CRS Technologies, saying: “The honour of this certification was per invitation and built on the relationship we have in driving good HR practices. We had the opportunity to assess and evaluate the CRS tool that covers various HR standards and competencies, such as workforce planning, managing payroll and HR practices, and its ability to support learning and development.”

CRS Technologies awarded SA’s first SABPP Corporate Partner status

 

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

JULY 2020 – KENYA

THE FINANCE ACT 2020 ASSENTED

It is important that employers note the following:

Kenya Finance Act 2020 assented

The Finance Act 2020 was assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 30 June 2020.

The amendments relevant to payroll under the Act are outlined below:

Allowable expenses

Effective from 1 January 2021, the following items will be deleted from the list of allowable deductions:

  • Any entrance fee or annual subscription paid during that year of income to a trade association;
  • Club subscriptions paid by an employer on behalf of an employee.

Home Ownership Savings Plans (HOSP)

  • Effective from 1 January 2021, the Act has deleted the provisions on Home Ownership Savings Plan (HOSP)
  • Effective 30 June 2020, the following exemptions have been deleted:
    • Exemptions previously granted on incomes accruing to a registered HOSP;
    • Contributions by individuals to a HOSP will not qualify as an allowable deduction when determining the taxable income;
    • Interest income earned on deposits in a HOSP will also be subject to tax, as opposed to previously where the initial KES 3 million was exempt from tax.

Income Tax Exemptions

Effective 30 June 2020, the following tax exemptions have been removed:

  • Income from employment paid in the form of bonuses, overtime and retirement benefits to employees whose taxable employment income before bonus and overtime allowances does not exceed the lowest tax band;
  • Payment of a lump sum pension to persons of 65 years or older will be subject to tax;

Only monthly pensions paid to persons of 65 years or older will be exempted.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2020 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

JULY 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

UIF TERS INTRODUCES NEW MEASURES

It is important that employers note the following:

UIF TERS Bank Account Verification

To prevent companies from falling prey to criminal elements, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has introduced new and stricter controls to verify banking details.

The fund has received numerous fraud complaints after it emerged that certain individuals managed to change their company’s banking details to their own.

The new rule requires applicants to insert either the enterprise number (CK/CIPC) or the ID number of the bank account holder in the TERS online portal, in order to further verify banking details against the authorised claimant.

This is critical to ensure banking details are verified before any TERS payment is authorised. Failure to do so will lead to more delays in the payment process.

Following the introduction of the new safety and security changes, the fund has had to delay payments. A turnaround time of two days is expected as the funds verifies and validates accounts to ensure that fraud at company level is reduced and eliminated as far as possible.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2020 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Inspired, engaged and rewarded employees
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Email: info@crs.co.za

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