CRS and New Leaf redefine the next-generation employee

New Leaf Technologies introduces modern and dynamic learning and development solutions to the CRS partner ecosystem. CRS Technologies partners with New Leaf Technologies to bring bespoke skills development and training to dynamic organisations. CRS Technologies and New Leaf Technologies together offer a modernised training platform for the next-generation employee.

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

 

OCTOBER 2020 – NON-SA COUNTRIES

RECENT LEGISLATION CHANGES: MALAWI, MAURITIUS & ZAMBIA
It is important that employers note the following:

Malawi PAYE changes

With reference to the Provisional Budget Statement for Malawi 2020/2021 and an announcement made by the Finance Minister on 11 September 2020, the Malawi Government has proposed an increase in the PAYE tax-free bracket.

Conflicting information has been published regarding the increase. Upon enquiry, the Malawi Revenue Authority confirmed the increase of the tax-free bracket from MK45,000 to MK100,000 per month, effective 1 October 2020.

Kindly note that a government gazette confirming the changes is not yet available and the changes are subject to approval.

The Minister also announced that the middle tax bracket of 15% has been removed. He is quoted as stating: “Government is aware that this adjustment is huge and to minimise its impact on the base for Personal Income Tax, the 15% middle bracket under the Pay As You Earn regime has been removed.”

This was not mentioned in the Provisional Budget Statement or the Budget Statement, therefore it cannot be confirmed.

An update will be circulated as soon as the official gazette has been published.

Mauritius Training Levy
The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 (Act 7 of 2020) was published in a Legal Supplement in August 2020. The Legal Supplement includes amendments to various Acts, such as the Income Tax Act and the National Pensions Act. Amendments to the Income Tax Act describes the changes to the Solidarity Levy, while the National Pensions Act was amended to include the new Contribution Sociale Genéralisée (CSG).

In addition, the Human Resource Development Act was amended to announce changes to the National Training Fund levies.

Previously, every employer was required to pay a training levy at the rate of 1.5% of the total basic wage or salary of its employees. For the period July 2019 to June 2020, an employer was required to pay the levy at the rate of 1% for employees whose total basic wage or salary did not exceed Rs 10,000.

As from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, every employer must pay a training levy of 1% in respect of every employee.

Mauritius Portable Retirement Gratuity Fund (PRGF)
On 3 September 2020 the Ministry of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training circulated communication regarding the further postponement of the PRGF.

The obligation to submit monthly PRGF returns and make payment of contribution has been postponed to January 2022. Employers may opt to file the monthly PRGF return and make payment of PRGF.

However, as a result of the negative impact of COVID-19, employers may, during the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021, in the event of justified dismissal or resignation of an employee, pay directly to the employee, with his consent, the PRGF amount due to the MRA.

Employers have a legal obligation to submit an exit statement to MRA in respect of that employee. The Ministry of Social Security will thereafter notify the employer of the amount of PRGF to be paid in respect of past services of that employee.

Mauritius Contribution Sociale Genéralisée (CSG)
Government Notice No. 214 of 2020 was published on 9 September 2020 where regulations were made by the Minister under section 30F of the National Pensions Act.

These regulations may be referred to as the Contribution Sociale Genéralisée Regulations 2020 and can be viewed by following this link.

Zambia 2020/2021 Budget Speech
On 25 September 2020 the Zambian Minister of Finance delivered the 2021 budget to the National Assembly with the theme “Stimulate Economic Recovery and Build Resilience to Safeguard Livelihoods and Protect the Vulnerable”.

Proposals made affecting employers/employees are:

·        An increase in the annual tax exemption threshold for PAYE was proposed from K36,000 to K48,000 and the adjustment of tax bands.

The proposed measure is aimed at increasing taxpayers’ disposable income.

·        Reference interest rate applicable on employee loan interest benefit.

The Minister proposes to adjust the reference interest rate to be used in the determination of tax applicable on employee loan interest benefits to be the Bank of Zambia policy rate plus a margin of 2.0%.

 

This will allow for uniformity of interest rates used for assessment of the loan benefit.

 

To read the full text of the Budget Speech, 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.

Manage retrenchment complexity, legally

Manage retrenchment complexity, legally

Retrenchment is never easy, but it’s essential that organisations work to the letter of the law 

In the wake of an economically challenging year that has put businesses of all sizes under immense pressure, there has been a commensurate increase in the number of job losses. Companies have had to make hard choices around employees and their futures. Some companies have closed, some have cut staff so they can keep some jobs and the business open, others have had to juggle the different demands of salary and performance to find an unhappy balance in the middle. Unfortunately, amidst these hard decisions and financial challenges is another complex issue – retrenchment regulation.

“There is much that needs to be considered when looking at a Section 189 dismissal, or retrenchment,” says Nicol Myburgh Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit. “Very specific conditions have to be met or employees could refer their case to the CCMA.”

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is focused on resolving disputes around the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA). As it is not under the control of any specific political party, trade union or business, the CCMA offers impartial guidance to employees and organisations and can even undertake large-scale retrenchments for companies that want to ensure their retrenchments follow the letter of the law. The CCMA provides a mediator and ensures that the process is fair and correct.

Retrenchment procedures

“The lockdown has made a fragile economy significantly worse and we’ve seen many companies fail, or struggle to push back from the edge,” says Myburgh. “Many are entering into retrenchment procedures now and the complexities can land them in even more difficult circumstances – the last thing they need when they’re closing their doors. It’s a good idea to work with an expert consultancy in this field who can help make the right decisions.”

For companies that want to bypass retrenchment entirely, they can look to some of the solutions implemented by organisations throughout the lockdown. Some have stopped paying their staff for a period to keep the company afloat – this is short-term measure that doesn’t necessarily work. Some companies have taken the risk and still gone into retrenchments.

“Some companies have decided to completely remove their overhead costs by shutting down the organisation completely and liquidating their assets, with plans to start a new company when the lockdown is over,” says Myburgh. “This has meant that they’ve had to go with widescale retrenchments, which requires careful compliance with regulation and the letter of the law.”

Retrenchment process is procedural

A significant percentage of the retrenchment process is procedural. Specific things have to happen in order for the process to be defined as above board. If there is even one element out of place, the business is considered to be procedurally unfair and the CCMA will grant an arbitration award to the employee. This is a risk, as employees often win these cases and the cost to company can be significant.

“To ensure that your organisation does this properly, your first step is to provide the employee with a Section 189 notice that informs them that the company is contemplating retrenchment,” says Myburgh. “This letter must include specific facts to ensure it is compliant. Thereafter a date for consultation must be set and each part of the process put in writing. There are also certain payment criteria that have to be met and notice periods to follow.

“It is certainly a minefield, but not an impossible one,” he concludes. “Get someone who specialises in this type of situation and do it properly. A specialist will have an in-depth understanding of the complexities around retrenchment and ensure that both your organisation and your people are fairly taken care of.”

CRS Technologies has worked closely with organisations to ensure that they follow the law when it comes to managing retrenchment. The company has also launched a downloadable retrenchment kit which can be purchased from the CRS Online Shop if companies want clear checklists, templates, guidelines and plans on how it should be done.

Online HR: Manage your business, your way

Online HR: Manage your business, your way

Leverage the experience of trained HR and legal experts to manage workplace regulations and legalities without the hassle

Is your organisation and workforce COVID-19 ready? Does your human resources team know the ins and outs of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA)? Have you developed a consistent retrenchment package that adheres to recent regulatory changes? For most companies, these questions raise plenty of challenges – they’re too busy trying to find their feet and manage their business in a complicated pandemic-driven world. According to Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, companies that run afoul of these regulations can face hefty costs and lengthy legal procedures.

“Ensuring that your company is legally compliant through every step of the retrenchment process is time-consuming and tricky,” he says. “The rules are complex and if one step is missed, the company can find itself facing the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration), which is the last thing anyone wants. The same goes for ensuring that personal information adheres to the strict regulations of POPIA – decision-makers can face imprisonment and a fine of up to R10 million if they don’t understand the letter of the law.”

The problem with processes such as retrenchment, POPIA, and COVID-19 workplace readiness planning, is that they are complicated, time-consuming and difficult to get a handle on. Unless the organisation has dedicated professionals focusing on these legal requirements, organisations often have to spend time hunting for information and making educated guesses. This is especially true in South Africa where information on this type of process is made particularly difficult to find.

We’ve included all the policies and procedures that organisation needs

“To solve these problems, CRS Technologies has developed a series of step-by-step guides designed to help companies tackle these processes internally without the hassle,” explains Myburgh. “We include templates, policies, procedures and information companies need to manage these processes on their own.”

The CRS Technologies POPI Training Manual, for example, includes everything the organisation needs to assist and inform employees of the purpose, regulations, legislative requirements and risks concerning POPI in the workplace. The COVID-19 Workplace Readiness Kit includes the essential items the business needs to reassure employees of a safe return to work while complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Department of Labour and Employment regulations. The Company Retrenchment Kit is a comprehensive set of retrenchment information and procedures designed in accordance with the Labour Relations Act. Finally, organisations can download the CRS Standard Employee Handbook which includes all the policies your company needs to define practices in the workplace. The handbook clarifies the standards expected of employees and helps companies to manage their staff more effectively.

“We’ve included all the policies and procedures that the organisation needs to tick these important boxes, perfectly,” concludes Myburgh. “Designed to take the ‘aaargh’ out of admin, they streamline essential legislative and regulatory procedures to a point where adherence is as simple as ticking a box.”

The CRS Online Store has been running for several weeks and has already seen significant traction from organisations struggling to stay ahead of their responsibilities. The company is already planning its next set of step-by-step solutions that include: skills development, employee performance, employee equity and disciplinary hearings.

Simone de Freitas

The chief of risk

Unlocking the routes to risk mitigation through best practice and intelligent process

By Simone de Freitas, Group Accountant at CRS Technologies 

Risk management. This is defined by the identification of events, both internal and external, that can affect the organisation’s ability to achieve specific objectives and to remain compliant within specific regulations. Risk management is carefully outlined in King IV as being inseparable from the company’s strategy and sustainability. King IV also points out that the board has to reveal how it has satisfied itself that its risk assessments, responses and interventions are effective. In short, risk management is not a box ticking exercise, it’s a critical component of an organisation’s foundation that has to underpin every action and reaction.

When defining a risk management strategy, the organisation should consider four core elements: risk appetite or tolerance, risk culture, risk capacity and risk strategy. Risk appetite or tolerance indicates how much risk the organisation is prepared to accept; the risk culture defines the overall approach to risk; risk capacity is the maximum amount of risk the organisation can accept; and risk strategy defines how the organisation manages its risk processes. Into this complex calculation enters the chief risk officer (CRO), or whichever title is given to the individual responsible for risk management in the organisation. Their role is all about putting the risk into its place and perspective.

The Chief Risk Officer (CRO), or equivalent, is expected to align risk appetite with business strategy alongside growth, return, decision making, optimisation of operation efficiencies, employee support, opportunity management, cost management and continuous risk process. And that’s just the start of the job check list. It’s not an easy position to step into, but it is one that allows for the organisation to gain a more confident grasp on its risk profile and potential for growth.

The CRO (Chief Risk Officer) provides the expertise, abilities and responsibility required to manage the company’s overall governance, risk management and compliance with regulations. If a company appoints a Chief Risk Officer, then it’s pretty clear that its serious about governance, risk and compliance (GRC), and about creating an internal culture that’s capable of maintaining it. Considering how rapidly the regulatory environment changes, the CRO is the wheel that guides the organisation around the potholes of compliance and ensures that it is protected by a broad range of GRC policies and procedures.

CRO manages and mitigates risks

The value of having a Chief Risk Officer (CRO) is that this highly qualified management professional is on constant alert for risk. Their entire role circles GRC, wrapping it in modules and procedures designed to reduce risk, while always remaining alert for any risks that may arise or new trends in this arena. As the CRO manages and mitigates these risks, they can guide the enterprise towards optimal performance in a rapidly changing digital era. The Chief Risk Officer (CRO) ensures that the right people get the right information at the right time within the right objectives. They ensure the right actions and controls are in place to address uncertainty and act with integrity, and their consistent vigilance can potentially reduce costs and the duplication of activities. This reach and engagement throughout the organisation can also improve the quality of information and how well it is managed and shared.

However, there is a flip side. When a company doesn’t invest into a CRO (Chief Risk Officer) or equivalent, it can potentially introduce risk. The processes that govern GRC become uncoordinated and duplicated and risk management procedures end up being planned and managed in silos. This can potentially increase risk, introduce the duplication of efforts, and cause costs to spiral out of control.

Alongside the CRO, the use of standardised approaches to risk management such as that outlined by the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), and the application of standardised processes, there is the technology that can support risk management within the organisation. The solution best suited for the organisation will depend on its size, market exposure and industry, for example, and will need to align with the overall business strategy and its objectives. An IT GRC solution enables companies to form a standardised framework for the GRC strategy, supports the CRO in the implementation of their role, and can help with the control of risk throughout the organisation’s lifecycle.

However, technology is not the cure to all risk ills. It is another part of a robust framework that requires a shift in corporate culture, commitment from the executive, a solid GRC strategy, and a solid CRO (Chief Risk Officer) to lead. That way, any organisation can build intelligent solutions and systems designed to minimise risk while supporting growth.

Simplifying cross border skills deployment

Simplifying cross border skills deployment

In a global skills crisis, access to talent has become critical to organisational growth and success

Organisations are facing a talent crisis. The 2019/20 Hays Global Skills Index found that the skills crisis is deepening due to a widening gap between the skills that talent have and the skills that organisations actually need. The situation is further complicated by country regulations and requirements that influence employment across borders. According to Nicol Myburgh Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, companies need a solution that allows them access to global talent pools without having to invest into the infrastructure and complexities that limit them in paying and managing this talent.

“As a payroll and HR solutions provider, CRS Technologies has been working closely with global organisations and we have seen a growth in their need to reach skilled local and international talent,” he adds. “Many of these organisations, however, don’t have a locally registered entity or the requisite infrastructure to hire this talent. They hit a wall.”

The solution was for CRS to develop CROS Outsource Employment Services, a platform that makes global skills deployment simple and compliant with legislation and regulation. For organisations that require skills in countries where they have no legal entity and want limited-risk employment legislation, the platform allows for legal and efficient access to talent. As skills become scarcer and the world smaller, the solution provides companies with access to a growing network of allied service providers that can provide full spectrum human capital management to any location, anywhere in the world.

CROS Outsource Employment services

“We employ professionals in fields such as business development and engineering – specialists that are at the top end of the market and who provide unique and difficult-to-find skills to the market,” explains Myburgh. “We then facilitate their employment with relevant organisations – managing all the legal liabilities and complexities that come with employment for both the organisation and the professional. This allows companies to tap into a vast network of incredibly rare and unique talent without having to first invest in infrastructure.”

In addition to allowing the organisation access to the intelligent and brilliant, the solution enables organisations undergoing staff cuts to continue employing valuable team members. Often companies are forced to reduce their numbers as part of a global move to cut down on overheads and run the risk of losing people they need. CROS Outsource Employment services completely bypasses the problem.

“We employ the people that companies are forced to remove and then outsource them back to those companies,” concludes Myburgh. “It’s a quick and effective solution that helps manage headcounts while also ensuring that organisations remain legal and compliant. It’s a global platform with extensive reach, providing talent and skills to organisations that want the right mix of people without the complexity.”

CROS Outsource Employment Services ensures that organisations save on local infrastructure and company tax, don’t need to invest in local company registration and red tape, and hold on to valuable and skilled staff during head count cuts. It’s a neat and intelligent answer to the questions that currently face organisations in search of high-end professionals in a market that’s experiencing significant skill shortages and increasing regulatory controls.

 

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

 

SEPTEMBER 2020 – EGYPT

TEMPORARY SOLIDARITY CONTRIBUTION
It is important that employers note the following:

New law approved to introduce a temporary solidarity contribution

The Prime Minister of Egypt proposed a new law which suggests deducting a monetary amount from employees to support the country in dealing with the impacts of pandemics and natural disasters.

The new law, Law No. 170 of 2020, was approved and issued in the official gazette on 13 August 2020. It took effect on 14 August and will be applicable for a period of 12 months.

The law applies to all employees in the private and the public sectors, as well as chairpersons and board members of all public and private entities, whether the relevant employee or person occupies a permanent or temporary position, or acts as an expert, consultant or in any other capacity.

The contribution rates are as follows:

·        1% from the net income of active employees

·        0.5% from the net pension of retired employees


The contribution will be based on both fixed and variable salary elements (including allowances, commissions, incentives, bonuses, overtime payments) after payment of payroll taxes and social insurance contributions.

Active employees with a monthly net income of EGP 2,000 or less and retired employees with a monthly net pension of EGP 2,000 or less are excluded from contributing.

The contributions must be paid into a bank account set up by the Ministry of Finance.

 

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

Nicol Myburgh

Burned out and isolated. Should the company care?

Employees have been hard at work since the lockdown started but the isolation and long hours are starting to take their toll.

At first, the lockdown added some notable benefits to the employee’s life. They didn’t have to sit in traffic for hours. They could wake up a little later and work a little longer. They could wear their pyjamas at the desk and they discovered that they were far more productive in this new world of work. But soon, these benefits became problems. People started to work longer hours, they forgot how to turn off, and they didn’t have clear lines between work and play. The result, according to Nicol Myburgh Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, is the collapse of realistic expectations and employee morale.

“We’ve coined the term ‘squirrel’ at CRS because quite a few of our people worked so hard and got so burned out that they were distracted by everything,” he explains. “This level of burnout doesn’t happen overnight. People have been working all hours, on weekends and have become so turned on to work through instant messages and emails that they don’t know when to turn off.”

The story of the email sent at 9pm with a follow-up email at 9:30pm asking why there’s been no reply to the first email likely sounds very familiar to many people. Employers, delighted at having their talent so accessible and available, have forgotten the lines – some have rubbed them out altogether. This has seen productivity surge, but now it’s time to pay the dues for all that work.

Taking time off is important for minds to refresh

“The first and most important step right now is for every employee and organisation to set realistic expectations,” says Myburgh. “This not only adheres to the hours agreed to in working contracts and labour law regulations, but minimises stress and improves efficiencies. It also goes a long way towards cutting out the keyboard rage that’s affecting a lot of people right now. It’s very easy to send angry emails from behind a screen.”

This is also why, in spite of the pandemic and the restrictions of lockdown, people need to go on leave. Taking time off is important for minds to refresh and employees to return to work with a renewed sense of purpose. A holiday will improve tempers and productivity, and will help reduce the amount of stress that’s being felt by the majority of people right now. From pandemic to workplace, stress is endemic which makes a holiday essential.

Burnout is difficult to recover from and it can have long-lasting psychological and emotional effects, so the best course of action is to avoid it completely,” concludes Myburgh. “It’s advisable for companies to insist their people go on leave and to specify dates for this leave. This will not only minimise the risk of everyone disappearing over the Christmas period, but will improve overall work behaviour and reduce the risk of burnout.”

For more information, contact us

CRS Technologies (Pty) Ltd

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2020 – MAURITIUS

CONTRIBUTION SOCIALE GÉNÉRALISÉE
It is important that employers note the following:

The Contribution Sociale Généralisée (CSG) Regulations 2020
Regulations made by the Minister under section 30F of the National Pensions Act were recently published in Government Notice No. 214 of 2020.

As from 1 September 2020, the National Pension Fund is being abolished and replaced by a new system, the Contribution Sociale Généralisée (CSG), a progressive contribution system.

Under the CSG, employers are required to deduct, where applicable, the employee’s contribution from his/her wage or salary and pay that contribution, together with the employer’s contribution, to the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA). The rate of contribution applicable to the private sector is shown below.

Basic wage or salary means:

·        Where the terms and conditions of employment of the employee are governed by Remuneration Regulations or Wages Regulations, an arbitral award or an agreement, the basic wage or salary prescribed, or where the employer pays a higher wage or salary, the higher wage or salary paid, excluding any allowance by any name and whether paid in cash or in kind.

·        In any other case, all the emoluments received by the employee, excluding any bonus or overtime.

The monthly return and payment of CSG with respect to a month is required to be made electronically on or before the end of the following month.

An exception was made by the MRA for the month of September 2020.  The last date for submission of the return and payment of CSG to the MRA is 30 November 2020.

Facilities for the electronic submission of CSG return are available on the MRA website. Employers must use the same employer registration number (ERN) and password applicable for the submission of NPF return.

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

 

SEPTEMBER 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

UIF TERS
It is important that employers note the following:

Latest communication from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

On Monday, 21 September 2020 acting UIF Commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst announced that the UIF plans a payment run for all outstanding payments for April, May and June on the date of the announcement until today, 22 September 2020.

Thereafter the UIF plans to run payments for the period 1 July to 15 August 2020 from 23 to 26 September 2020.

The payments were placed on hold after auditor-general Kimi Makwetu found that poor financial management and verification controls were in place, which resulted in funds being paid out to beneficiaries who were not eligible.

Following the findings, Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi announced that current UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping would be placed on suspension, along with other fund management members.

The fund has since scheduled multiple payments to fast-track payments this week and has initiated discussions with government departments and agencies to assist in synchronising the data to ensure that COVID-19 TERS payments reach the right and authentic beneficiaries.

Employers are reminded that incomplete forms will not be automatically processed. The process has been made easier for employers to know what is still outstanding through the development of the discrepancy tab in the system. Employers can also use FAQs on the Department of Employment and Labour website.

Employers are reminded of the following closing dates for applications:

·        For 26 March to 31 May: 25 September 2020

·        For 1 June to 30 June: 15 October 2020

·        For 1 July to 15 September: 30 October 2020

No further applications for the respective periods will be accepted beyond the dates specified.

 

 

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
CONTACT INFORMATION
Tel: +27 11 2594700
Email: info@crs.co.za

Centric House, Mellis Court, Mellis Road
Rivonia 2191