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South African Government Relief Measures for COVID-19

By Sheldon Conway of Business Soul Accounting CC – 24 March 2020

Please read the relevant announcement regarding the relief measures.

The full statement is included here: President Cyril Ramaphosa: Escalation of measures to combat Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the announcement text, included are our interpretation notes, to assist you to understand the relevant links and information for relevant relief applications.

Business Soul Accounting interpretation notes

Website links included.

Temporary Relief Measures (TRM)

Should you not be able to afford to employ staff due to reduced income, the Department of Labour Temporary Relief Measures (TRM) are available to for staff to claim. This measure is in place to prevent retrenchments. I understand that this is available for up to three months of relief.

Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

Should the business still not be able to pay staff salaries, the next stage will be implemented, in terms of the disaster management plan. Several businesses are operating on a no work no pay basis. Others have staff working remotely. Please consult carefully with your Human Resources consultant or attorney, to ensure you have exhausted all avenues before reaching this stage. It is very important that this step is implemented correctly. There could be retrenchment concerns to consider. When done correctly, UIF will be paid to the employee on a Reduced Work Time basis. http://www.labour.gov.za/easy-guide-for-employers-on-covid19.

A useful Relief Guide for the above. The process and requirements are spelt out in this document.

Workmen’s Compensation

Workmen’s compensation claims can be made for employees who have fallen sick with COVID 19 in the workplace. This could mean that multiple employees would be sick with COVID 19 for one employee to fall sick; Or the employee was required to travel to a place, for business purposes, where they contracted the virus while attending to business. Please be clear when making claims.

Employment Tax Incentive (ETI)

An additional incentive has been put in place for employees already qualifying for ETI. As noted above employers with employees earning less than R6,500 per month and in the correct age bracket will receive an additional R500 ETI deduction from PAYE. This is above the standard ETI in place. Please make sure your payroll system includes these updates before completing your April payroll.

Solidarity Fund

Government has enabled a private s18A fund to assist in relief measures for COVID 19. At this stage the fund is asking for donations to assist in relief measures. http://www.solidarityfund.co.za/. No additional information is available on the measures. Announcements will be made in the future.

PAYE Relief

Tax compliant businesses with a turnover of less than R50 million will be allowed to delay 20% of their pay-as-you-earn liabilities over the next four months and a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next six months. This intervention is expected to assist over 75 000 small and medium-term enterprises.

Other

There are other relief measures in progress of being implemented via an application process, including the:

  1. Department of Small Business Development. The website does not seem to be working but here is some information. https://nationalgovernment.co.za/units/view/37/department-of-small-business-development-dsbd;
  2. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Comment from Minister of Trade and Industry to the press on the Issuance of Covid 19 National Disaster Regulations and Directions. Further developments can be followed on https://www.thedti.gov.za/
  3. Banks are looking at relief measures on finance and repayment holidays. Please consult your local bank.

By the time you read this article a number of these items will have changed. We are living in a challenging time. Please take the Escalation of measures to combat Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Your isolation will assist in flattening the curve and spread of the virus. Your isolation will reduce the number of days that we remain in lock down. 26 March 2020 is lockdown day Isaiah 26:20 says “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself for a little while until this wrath has passed by.” The 16th April is the end of the Passover. We will be praying for you all during this time. Stay safe and stay healthy.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us on email, or clients can contact us by normal means.

Business Soul Accounting – Caring for your business

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