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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.
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RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

SEPTEMBER 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

UIF TERS UPDATE | COID AMENDMENT BILL

It is important that employers note the following:

 

Extension of TERS benefits and the processing of TERS claims | COID Amendment Bill

TERS Directive

On 7 September 2020 a new COVID-19 TERS directive was published in Government Gazette 43693 to extend benefits for certain categories of employees until 15 August 2020.

 

The categories of employees are:

·        Employees not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations;

·        Employees of employers unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable workers, such as those working from home or taking special measures under the OHS Direction to protect them;

·        Employees of employers unable to make use of employees’ services because of operational requirements caused by compliance with the National Disaster Regulations and Directions such as rostering, staggered working hours, short time, the introduction of shift systems and the temporary reduction in the employee’s ordinary remuneration.

The Directive commenced on 16 August 2020 and remains in operation as long as the national disaster continues or until withdrawn by the Minister.

TERS Application

On 15 September 2020 the Department of Employment and Labour announced new closing dates for the processing of COVID-19 TERS benefits.

The new dates are:

·        Applications for March 2020 to May 2020 will close on 25 September 2020.

·        Applications for June 2020 will close on 15 October 2020.

·        Applications for July to 15 September 2020 will close on 30 October 2020.

 

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

The closing dates will not affect claims that have already been submitted.

Please note that payments are currently still on hold as the fund works to verify about five million identity documents of COVID-19 TERS applications.

COID Amendment Bill

On 10 September 2020 the Minister of Employment and Labour introduced the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill to Parliament.


The bill seeks to:

·        Amend, substitute, insert, delete and repeal certain definitions and sections;

·        Provide for matters pertaining to the board and its members;

·        Provide for the commissioner to perform certain functions that were previously performed by the director-general;

·        Further provide for matters pertaining to the rehabilitation, re-integration and return to work of occupationally injured and diseased employees;

·        Regulate the use of health care services;

·        Provide for the commissioner to review pension claims or awards;

·        Provide for administrative penalties;

·        Regulate compliance and enforcement; and

·        Provide for matters connected therewith.

 

Most noticeable is the change to the existing definition of an “employee” to include domestic workers.

 

Currently, domestic workers and gardeners are not included in the definition of an employee in the COID Act and can only claim against the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

To view the Bill, follow the link

 

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.

AUGUST 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA
DRAFT CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE ON THE PREVENTION AND ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
It is important that employers note the following:

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

Employment Equity Draft Code of Good Practice on violence and harassment

On 20 August 2020 the South African government published Government Gazette 43630 with the draft code of good practice on the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment in the workplace in South Africa.

 

The draft policy was published by the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thembelani Waltermade Nxesi, and falls under the Employment Equity Act. The code, which covers a number of areas, including sexual harassment and online bullying, applies to all business sectors and is currently open for public comment.

 

Sexual violence and harassment is defined as directly or indirectly engaging in conduct that the perpetrator knows or ought to know is not welcome, is offensive to the complainant and makes the complainant feel uncomfortable, interferes with work, causes harm or inspires the reasonable belief that harm may be caused to the complainant or a related person.

Racial violence and harassment is defined as unwanted persistent conduct, or a single incident which is seriously degrading, humiliates or creates a hostile or intimidating environment, or is calculated to influence submission by actual or threatened disadvantageous consequences, and which is related to a person’s membership or presumed membership of a group identified by one or more of the prohibited grounds or a characteristic associated with such group.

This includes direct or indirect behaviour which involves issues such as racist verbal and non-verbal conduct, remarks, abusive language, racist name-calling, offensive behaviour, gestures and racist cartoons, memes, or insinuations.

 

Companies should take preventative steps to stop and eliminate harassment, create prevention and awareness programmes, treat, care and support victims, as well as monitor and evaluate practices within the organisation.

Written comments on the draft code should be submitted before 20 October 2020 to innocent.makwarela@labour.gov.za or niresh.singh@labour.gov.za at the Department of Employment and Labour.

 

To view the draft code, follow the link and select Separate Gazette 43630 20-8 Employment Labour of 20/08/2020.

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.

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.

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.

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.
© 2020 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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.

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.
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RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

JULY 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

SARS INDIVIDUAL FILING SEASON

It is important that employers note the following:

Changes to the tax season for individuals

As a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions implemented, SARS has made changes to the 2020 filing season process.

A significant number of individual taxpayers will be auto-assessed in August

SARS will complete the tax returns for individuals once the required information has been obtained from employers, financial institutions, medical schemes, retirement annuity fund administrators and other third-party data providers.

SARS will then send a text message to the selected auto-assessed individuals and provide them with a proposed assessment without the need to file a tax return. If they accept the auto-assessment, any under or overpayment of tax will be processed as usual. Should the individual wish to edit the return, it can be filed on eFiling or the SARS MobiApp.

The individual income tax return filing dates are as follows:

  • 1 September to 16 November 2020 for taxpayers who file online.
  • 1 September to 22 October 2020 for taxpayers who cannot file electronically but do so at a SARS branch.  Please note this can be done by appointment only.
  • 1 September 2020 to 29 January 2021 for provisional taxpayers who file electronically.

Employees should make sure that they have received their IRP5/IT3(a)s and other tax documentation such as medical and retirement annuity fund certificates, as well as any other third-party data relevant to determining their tax obligations.

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

JULY 2020 – SOUTH AFRICA

UIF TERS BENEFITS

It is important that employers note the following:

Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to continue accepting claims

The Department of Employment and Labour released a media statement on Thursday, 2 July to inform employers and employees that COVID-19 TERS claims submitted for April, May and June 2020 will still be accepted and processed

As per the directive issued in Government Gazette 43161 by the Employment and Labour Minister on 26 March 2020, COVID-19 TERS benefits are to last for a period of three months

The UIF will continue to process and pay claims submitted for this period until the cut-off date is determined, even though June was the last month for the COVID-19 TERS benefits as per the directive

The UIF Commissioner also indicated in the media statement that while claims for the determined period will be accepted, the fund is currently experiencing technical difficulties around the opening of the system for June submissions.

He apologised for the delays and stated that the fund will work towards opening the system over the weekend but will ensure that it is completely stable before re-opening for June applications.

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

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