The second holiday season is over and hopefully everyone traveled safely. A great deal has happened in the first half of this year and it would seem that this is indeed going to be a busy year for everyone.
The codes were finally passed on the 9th February 2007 and we are eagerly awaiting the DTI’s list of accredited rating agencies. On the whole the reaction to the new codes has been positive and meeting the scorecard requirements should be possible for most SMME’s. Companies having to meet the Generic Scorecard could find it a great deal more difficult. We anticipate that rating agencies should have been approved by July and then we should be able to move with accreditations.
Two Industry Charters were published together with the B-BBEE act. They were for the Construction Sector and the Financial Sector. Essentially they are measuring the same seven criteria, however, some of the targets are different and some of the definitions are simpler to understand. If anyone would like more details with regard to these charters they can contact Lynette at our office for a copy.
The budget was again pleasing to most people and employees should have seen a small increase in their net pay at the end of March 2007. Please remember to assist those employees whose income from employment is more than R60 000-00 a year, i.e. R5 000-00 per month, to obtain a tax return and to submit a tax return.
Some of the good news that was in the budget:
- The Marginal Tax Rate has been increased to R450 000
- Employees whose income is less that R43 000-00 per annum or R3583-00 per month are exempt from tax.
- The primary rebate has been increased to R7740-00 per annum.
- Fringe Benefit tax on medical aid has been increased to R530-00 per month for the member and his first dependent and R320-00 for all other dependents.
- Fringe Benefit tax on Company cars and Car Allowances is unchanged.
It is the time of the year to submit training reports for last year and skills plans for next year. The Department of Labour has again confirmed that all employers who submit and training report of training completed and a training plan for the next year will receive 50% of their skills levy as a mandatory grant. Please ensure that these are prepared timeously as the Department of Labour has advised all SETA’s that there will not be an extension for any employer who delivers their plan after the due date. We advise all employers to submit their plans before the end of May 2007. Should you require further information, please contact Jane Alevizos at our offices.
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL
The Sectoral Agreement has been with us for four years now and in terms of the minimum wage schedule we are required to increase the salaries paid to wholesale and Retail employees by CPIX+1% each year form 2005 to 2007. This year the Department of Labour has determined this figure to be 6% and has instructed us to increase the salaries of employees by this amount in February 2007. The Minimum salaries for employees in the various wholesale and retail categories are available from our office.
TOBACCO CONTROL ACT
The Tobacco Control Act is currently in the process of being amended. It was passed by parliament on 22nd of Marcy 2007 and has been sent to the Council of Provinces for concurrence. If passed in its current form the act will dramatically increase the penalties for smoking in a public area (from R200 to R10 000) and will increase the penalty for an employer who exposes employees to smoking to R50 000-00. The definition of a public area is very specific in the new act. We will keep you posted.
Our website is currently being redeveloped and we hope to have a new informative website up and running by the end of this month. The Web address remains the same, i.e. www.connold.co.za.
We wish you a successful second quarter.