Code of Practice -SARS -CoV2 In The Workplace, 2022

The Department of Employment and Labour has gazetted the Code of Practice for managing exposure to Covid-19.  This code will come into effect on the day that the State of Disaster ends and the purpose of this Code is to guide employers and employees in managing exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace by providing guidance to employers and employees in – ‘

  1. Conducting or updating a risk assessment in terms of the OHSA and the HBA in respect of SARS-CoV-2 exposure.
  2. Developing a plan to limit infection, transmission and mitigate the risks of serious illness or death on the basis of that risk assessment.
  3. Implementing the plan.
  4. Managing absence from work due to infection, isolation and adverse effects of vaccination.
  5. Seeking to accommodate employees who refuse or fail to vaccinate against SARS-CoV-2

While much of what is in the Code is similar to the Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines published by the Department in May 2021, what is new is the sections dealing with vaccination.  This sections states:

12. Vaccination of employees
  1. Every employer must in accordance with the measures contemplated in section 5
    1. notify the employee identified in terms of section 6(1)(a) of the obligation to be vaccinated
    2. counsel the employee on the issues related to vaccines in section 7 (1)(c)
    3. permit the employee, at the employee’s request, to consult a health and safety representative, a worker representative or a trade union official
    4. give administrative support to the employees to register and to access their COVID-19 vaccination certificates on the EVDS Portal for SARS-CoV-215; and
    5. give the employee paid time off to be vaccinated and provide transport for the employee to and from the nearest vaccination site
  2. In giving effect to this Code, an employer may require its employees to disclose their vaccination status and to produce a vaccination certificate
  3. Should an employee suffer a vaccine adverse event that renders them unable to work, the employer must –
    1. on receipt of a medical certificate, give the employee paid time off to recover if the employee is no longer entitled to paid sick leave in terms of the BCEA or any applicable collective agreement; or
    2. subject to any regulations in respect of a COVID-19 Vaccine Injury No- Fault Compensation Scheme16, lodge a claim for compensation in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993.
  4. If an employee refuses to be vaccinated, the employer must-
    1. counsel the employee and, if requested, allow the employee to seek guidance from a health and safety representative, worker representative or trade union official
    2. take steps to reasonably accommodate the employee in a position that does not require the employee to be vaccinated
  5. If an employee produces a medical certificate attesting that an employee has contra-indications for vaccination, the employer may refer the employee for a medical evaluation for confirmation at the employer’s expense
  6. If the employer accepts the medical certificate or the employee is referred to medical evaluation and that evaluation confirms that the employee has contra-indications for vaccination, it must accommodate the employee in a position that does not require the employee to be vaccinated

This seems to answer many of the questions raised by our clients with regard to being able to make vaccinations mandatory and how this should be implemented.  There have been several recent cases both at Labour Court and in the CCMA which have ruled that making vaccinations mandatory is fair and that where an employee refuses to be vaccinated and cannot be accommodated that it is then fair to dismiss them following the retrenchment process outlined in section 189.

References

Code Of Good Practice – On The Prevention and Elimination of Harassment in The Workplace

This code has been in development for some years. The Employment Equity Act, since its promulgation in 1999 has defined harassment as a form of discrimination, particularly if the harassment can be linked to the forms of discrimination listed in the EEA, i.e.

Race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth.

In 2014, they added “or on any other arbitrary ground” to this list

What the Employment Equity Act did not do was define harassment.  They did define Sexual Harassment in a Code, which actually was published prior to the promulgation of the EEA as part of the Labour Relations Act.  This code does define harassment and gives it a very wide definition, and it also defines separately racial, ethnic or social origin harassment. 

Harassment is defined in the code as:

  1. Unwanted conduct which impairs dignity
  2. Which creates a hostile or intimidating work environment
  3. It is related to one or more grounds in respect of which discrimination is prohibited in terms of the EEA.

Harassment includes violence, physical abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, gender-based abuse and racial abuse.
Types of harassment described in the code include:

  • Physical attacks including:
    • Threatened or simulated violence (raising a fist or throwing objects near a person)
  • Verbal bullying including.
    • Shaming
    • hostile teasing
    • insults
    • constant negative judgement
    • criticism
    • racist sexist or LGBTQIA phobic language
  • Psychological harassment
  • Passive Aggressive or covert harassment includes
    • Negative gossip
    • Negative joking at someone’s expense
    • Sarcasm
    • Condescending eye contact
    • Facial expression or gestures
    • Mimicking to ridicule
    • Deliberately causing embarrassment and insecurity
    • Invisible treatment
    • Marginalization
    • Social exclusion
    • Professional isolation
    • Deliberately sabotaging someone’s dignity, well-being, happiness success and their career performance
    • Mobbing by a group of people targeted at one or more individuals
  • Online harassment or cyberbullying using any of the communications technologies

Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Slandering, maligning or spreading rumours maliciously
  • Conduct which humiliates, insults or demeans an employee
  • Withholding work-related information or supplying incorrect information.
  • Sabotaging or impeding the performance of work
  • Ostracising, boycotting or excluding the employee from work or work-related activities
  • Persecution such as threats and the inducing of fear and degradation
  • Intolerance of medical, disability, or personal circumstance
  • Surveillance of an employee without their knowledge and with harmful intent
  • Use of disciplinary or administrative sanctions without objective cause, explanation, or efforts to problem-solving
  • Demotion without justification
  • Abuse or selective use of disciplinary proceedings
  • Pressuring an employee to engage in illegal activities or not to exercise legal rights
  • Pressuring an employee to resign

The code distinguishes between vertical harassment (the abuse of an employee by their manager) and horizontal harassment, (the abuse of an employee by another employee in the same position or level).

Conclusion

The process for investigating incidents of harassment is outlined in both this code and the code for sexual harassment, and failure to do so could lead to the company being taken to the CCMA for failing to protect the employee and the perpetrator facing both criminal and civil proceedings.

The code requires all companies to adopt a policy for harassment in the workplace and to ensure that all employees are made aware of the policy and the code and the potential consequences to both them and the company. 

Remember, harassment is seen as a form of victimisation and therefore an automatically unfair labour practice.  The maximum penalty for harassing an employee or failing to protect an employee from harassment in terms of the LRA would therefore be 24 months salary.

References

Increased Earnings Threshold 2022

On 8 February 2022, the Minister of Labour and Employment passed new regulations increasing the earnings threshold from R211 596-30 per annum to R224 080.48. The new threshold will be effective from 1 March 2022. The original gazette did say 1 March 2021, but this was corrected the following day.

In the Regulations, earnings are defined as: the regular annual remuneration before deductions, i.e. PAYE, pension or provident fund, medical aid and similar payments, but excluding employer contributions to these benefits. The regulations also state that transport allowances received, achievement awards and payments for overtime worked shall not be regarded as remuneration.

The earnings threshold has increased by 5.9% from R 17 633.03 per month (basic salary) to R 18 673.37. This threshold is not to be confused with the maximum benefit threshold for UIF which remains R 17 712.00.

Why is the earnings threshold important?

Employees who earn below the threshold are more protected by the labour laws than those that earn more than the threshold. This threshold forms part of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, (section 6.3) which states:

6.3 The Minister must, on the advice of the Commission, make a determination that excludes the application of this chapter or any provision of it to any category of employee earning in excess of an amount stated in that determination.

This comes from the part of the act that deals with the Regulation of Working Time. It states that the employees earning more that the earnings threshold are excluded from certain rights in terms of this Act. These are:

Clause 9: Ordinary hours of work

This means that people earning above the threshold can have variable hours whereas those below the threshold should have defined hours of work.

Clause 10. Overtime

Employees earning above the threshold are not entitled to overtime pay or time off in lieu of overtime worked.

Clause 11. Compressed working week.

The rules around working a compressed working week are not applicable to employees earning above the threshold (i.e., working a 12-hour day without overtime being paid). Typically, staff working in this manner work 4 days at 12 hours and 3 days off (security industry for example)

Clause 12. Averaging of hours of work.

This clause allows overtime worked to be averaged over a three-month period. Again, these rules do not apply to employees who earn above the threshold.

Clause 14. Meal intervals


Employees earning above the threshold are not entitled to a fixed lunch hour.

Clause 15. Daily and weekly rest period

Employees earning above the threshold are not entitled to the daily rest period or the weekly rest period of 36 hours.

Clause 16. Pay for work on Sundays.

Employees earning above the threshold are not entitled to additional pay (1.5 or double time depending on the nature of the work) when asked to work on a Sunday.

Clause 17(2). Night work

Employees earning above the threshold are not entitled to a shift allowance or transport when working night shift.

Clause 18 (3) Public holidays

Although the act says that employees earning above the threshold are not entitled to additional pay when working on a public holiday, the Public Holiday Act does require pay for all employees who are required to work on a public holiday or time off in lieu.

Labour Relations Act

Amendments to the LRA in 2014 have made reference to the earnings threshold, with specific reference to protections for specific employees. These are:

  • Temporary Employees employed though a Temporary Employment Service
  • Fixed Term Contract Employees
  • Part Time Employees

Employees in these categories who earn more than the earnings threshold are not protected by the provisions of section 198 of the LRA. This section of the act is aimed at preventing the abuse of employees who are never given the opportunity to become permanent employees.

In addition to this, the CCMA undertook to assist administratively any employee whose earnings fell below the earnings threshold. This included:

  • The preparation of dispute documentation
  • The serving of dispute forms to the employer
  • Assistance with collecting awards (the CCMA will pay the sheriff of the court to execute collections)


Over the threshold, employees have to do all of this themselves.

Employment Equity Act

Amendments to the Employment Equity Act also in 2014 makes reference to the earnings threshold in terms of access to the CCMA. The amendment ruled that the CCMA had jurisdiction to arbitrate sexual harassment matters while other disputes relating to discrimination could be referred to arbitration if the employee earned below the threshold and, unless otherwise agreed, disputes where the employee earns more than the threshold would be referred to the Labour Court.

Access to the Department of Employment and Labour

Perhaps the most problematic provision is that if an employee earns above the threshold, the Department of Employment and Labour will not give them access to an inspector if they believe that your employer is not complying with the acts. The employee would have to use the Labour Court or their own legal representatives to fight for their rights.

Conclusion

Essentially, the Earnings threshold is the divide between those employees who have the necessary skills and abilities to negotiate their own working conditions and those who need the full protection of the law to ensure that they are not exploited.

Minimum Wage regulations 2022

On 8 February 2022, the Minister of Labour and Employment passed new regulations increasing the minimum wage with effect from 1 March 2022. As was the case last year, this regulation governs the minimum wages for:

  • All employees who do not fall into specific categories listed below (including casual employees)
  • Farm Workers
  • Domestic Workers
  • Workers employed in Public Works Schemes (cleaning verges Parks, Cemeteries etc.)
  • Learners

The Regulations also provide new minimum wages for:

  • Contract Cleaners
  • Employees in the Wholesale and Retail Industries.

The increase in the minimum wage is 6.91% and both the Contract Cleaning and Wholesale and Retail Industries minimum wages have also increased wages by this percentage.  However, there have been substantial increases at the other levels.  See table below:

Minimum Wages 2021

Category of employeeHourly Rate 2021Hourly Rate 2022Increase AmountPercent IncreaseNew Monthly salary (45 hours per week)
Minimum WageR 21.69R 23.19R 1.506.91 %R 4 518.57
Farm workers WageR 21.69R 23.19R 1.506.91 %R 4 518.57
Domestic WorkersR 19.09R 23.19R 4.1021.47 %R 4 518.57
Public Work EmployeesR 11.93R 12.75R 0.826.87 %R 2 484.34
Contract CleanersR 23.87R 25.52R 1.656.91 %R 4 972.57

Learner Level 1 – 2

Credit amountWeekly RATE 2021WEEKLY RATE 2022INCREASE AMOUNTPERCENT INCREASENEW MONTHLY SALARY
0 -120 CreditsR 326.51R 349.04R 22.536.90 %R 1 511.34
121 – 240 CreditsR 652.99R 698.05R 45.066.90 % R 3 022.56

Learner Level 3

Credit amountWeekly RATE 2021WEEKLY RATE 2022INCREASE AMOUNTPERCENT INCREASENEW MONTHLY SALARY
0 -120 CreditsR 326.51R 349.04R 22.536.90 %R 1 511.34
121 – 240 CreditsR 614.95R 698.05R 45.066.90 %R 3 022.56
341 – 360 CreditsR 1 003.73R 1 076.19R 72.467.21 %R 4 659.90

Learner Level 4

Credit amountWeekly RATE 2021WEEKLY RATE 2022INCREASE AMOUNTPERCENT INCREASENEW MONTHLY SALARY
0 -120 CreditsR 326.51R 349.04R 22.536.90 %R 1 511.34
121 – 240 CreditsR 653.05R 698.11R 45.066.90 %R 3 022.82
341 – 360 CreditsR 963.38R 1 076.19R 69.436.90 %R 4 659.90
361 – 480 CreditsR 1 405.98R 1 570.63R 74.384.97 %R 6 800.83

Learner Level 5 – 8

Credit amountWeekly RATE 2021WEEKLY RATE 2022INCREASE AMOUNTPERCENT INCREASENEW MONTHLY SALARY
0 -120 CreditsR 326.51R 349.04R 22.536.90 %R 1 511.34
121 – 240 CreditsR 707.39R 756.20R 48.816.90 %R 3 274.35
341 – 360 CreditsR 1 058.41R 1 131.44R 73.036.90 %R 4 899.14
361 – 480 CreditsR 1 491.06R 1 593.94R 102.886.90 %R 6 901.76
481 – 600 CreditsR 1 904.58R 2 036.00R 131.426.90 %R 8 815.88

The intention was always to bring domestic workers up to the national minimum wage within a four to five-year period, hence the large increase in the minimum level now.

It is to be noted that there is no requirement to implement an increase if the employee is already earning more than the minimum salary.

Extension of TERS

New Directive extends TERS from 16 October 2020 to 15 March 2021

The Department of Employment and Labour published a new directive dated 15 July 2021. 

This Directive extends TERS benefits from 15 March 2021 to 25 July 2021 for employers who were not permitted to commence operations, either partially or in full and who operated in a Sector which is listed in Annexure A:  i.e.

  • Venues hosting auctions.
  • Venues hosting professional sports
  • Venues where social events are held
  • Venues, concerts and live performance
  • Any industries that form part of the value chain of the above as per the discretion of the UIF.

The second group of employers can claim TERS from 28 June 2021 to 25 July 2021.  These employers are specified in Annexure B: i.e.

  1. Cinemas
  2. Theatres
  3. Casinos
  4. Museums, galleries, libraries and archives
  5. Gyms and fitness centres
  6. Restaurants
  7. Nightclubs
  8. Swimming pools
  9. Bars, taverns and shebeens
  10. Public parks
  11. Domestic and international air travel
  12. Rail, bus services and taxi services
  13. E- hailing services
  14. Sale, dispensing and distributions and transportation of liquor
  15. Beaches, dams, rivers and lakes
  16. Passenger ships
  17. Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast, time-share facilities, resorts and guest houses
  18. Conferencing, dining, entertainment and bar facilities
  19. International sports, arts and cultural events
  20. Any industries and business establishment that form part of the value chain of the above or standalone establishment as per the discretion of the UIF.

Also included are:

  1. Employers who are unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable employees to work from or take other measures as contemplated in clause 20.3 of the OHS Directions, irrespective of whether the employer operates in a sector specified in Annexure A or B:
  2. Or are unable to make use of their services either fully or partially because of operational requirements based on the economic, technological, structural or similar needs of the employer caused by compliance with the Regulations, in particular the need to limit the number of employees at the workplace through roistering, staggering of working hours, short time, and the introduction of shift systems and who operate in a sector as specified in Annexure A or B.
  3. Are required to ensure that they remain in isolation or in quarantine in terms of the OHS Direction issued by the Minister of Health following a high risk-contact.  This is in all sectors, and the employee does not need to first exhaust their sick leave before claiming the benefit.

The Directive provides a list of documents that would be required to apply for the benefits for companies outside the industries specified in annexure A or B.

Employees who do not qualify for TERS but are still not able to work full time or earn their full salary can claim the Reduced Working Time Benefit.  Unlike TERS this claim will use their UIF credits (1 day’s UIF for every 4 days contributed to a maximum of 12 months).

We are still having difficulty resolving UIF claims from 2020 for employees:

  • Who are foreign nationals
  • who had another claim at UIF (Maternity benefits or Ill health benefits)
  • was employed during the TERS benefit periods

If you require more information with regard to these claims.  Please contact the office for more information with regard to TERS claims.

New Occupational Health And Safety Measures

Introduction

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, the Department of Labour has issued Directives (Consolidated Directions on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces), giving guidance on the measures that companies need to take to ensure that their workplaces are as safe as possible and to prevent the transmission of the virus.

On 11 June 2021, a new Directive was published which still requires that all companies with more than 50 employees will have to comply with administrative duties and report to the National Institute for Occupational Health each Tuesday, but which also provides some guidelines with regard to Vaccinations.

What Is New

Companies must:

  1. Undertake a risk assessment within 21 days of the new Directions being published to determine whether they are going to make vaccinations mandatory.
  2. Outline the measure it intends taking in respect of the vaccination of its employees.
  3. In developing the plan to take into account the right of employees to bodily integrity in terms of the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion in section 13 of the Constitution.
  4. Companies have previously had to undertake a risk assessment and to develop a workplace plan to implement the safe return of employees to the workplace. This plan must now include a dispute process to manage the process where there are employees who refuse to return to work because of fears of infection.
  5. Provide employees with the nature of vaccines used, the benefits of the vaccines and the contra-indications.
  6. Assist employees to register on the Electronic Vaccine Data System Registration Portal.
  7. Give employees paid time off to be vaccinated.
  8. Give vaccinated employees who suffer side effects which prevent them from coming to work paid sick leave.

The Direction provides guidelines if an employer intends to make vaccinations mandatory.

The new combined directions and original directions are below.  For ease of reference, we have colour coded the new amendment in green. 

Increased UIF Contributions

The increase in the UIF contributions which was promised in March this year has finally been gazetted and will be effective from the 1st of June 2021.  That means that all employees who earn more than    R14 872-00 will see a small drop in their earnings on pay day this month.

In April 2017, the Unemployment Insurance Fund increased the maximum level for benefits to R17 711-58 however, the responsibility for increasing contributions to match this with an increase in the contribution.  This responsibility lay with the finance minister and due to changes in Ministry at that time, no regulation in this regard was passed.

With effect from 1 June 2021 this will be corrected.  This means that while everyone still contributes 1% of salary and companies are required to match this, those employees whose earnings are above R14 872-00 will contribute more to UIF.  The maximum contribution level has now been set at R177.12.

What does this mean:

Example 1:  Employee earning R16 000-00 per month.

UIF 2020R148.72
UIF 2020R160.00
-R 11.28

Example 2: Employee earning R25 000-00 per month

UIF 2020R148.72
UIF 2020R177.12
-R 28.40

The benefit level remains unchanged which means that anyone claiming one of the eight benefits available from UIF, i.e.

  1. UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT
  2. REDUCED WORKING TIME BENEFIT
  3. ILL HEALTH BENEFIT
  4. DEPENDANTS BENEFIT
  5. MATERNITY LEAVE BENEFIT
  6. ADOPTION LEAVE BENEFIT
  7. COMMISSIONING LEAVE BENEFIT
  8. PARENTAL LEAVE BENEFIT

Will be entitled to benefits with a maximum benefit calculated as a percentage of R17 711-58.

Please advise affected staff of the change.

COIDA AND DOMESTIC WORKERS

On 10 March 2021, the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner published regulations with regard to Domestic Workers being covered by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA).

This was in response to a Constitutional Court Order made on 19 November 2020 which declared that this means that Domestic employees will now be entitled for compensation in the event they are injured or contract diseases while on duty. In addition, the order has been made retrospective to 27 April 1994.

As per the COIDA Act:

the employee is a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service or of apprenticeship or learnership, with an employer, whether the contract is express or implied, oral or in writing, and whether the remuneration is calculated by time or by work done, or is in cash or in kind. Types of benefits paid in terms of the Act Compensation payable to domestic workers for occupational injuries and diseases.

Specifically covered by the act, other than permanent employees are:

  • Casuals
  • Directors
  • Members of Body Corporates
  • Employees provided by a Labour Broker

Domestic workers together with Members of the Armed Forces, Police Force and Independent Contractors were excluded until the new ruling.

The cover now provided to Domestic Workers who have been injured on duty or who have contracted a disease during the course of their duty, is the same as the benefit available to all employees and has been well described in the document published by the DOL as follows:

  1. Temporary total disablement (TTD)
    • The TTD is payable to an injured employee who is booked off for a period of 4 days and more by the treating doctor to recuperate from the injuries/condition in respect of the occupational diseases suffered at the time of the accident/diagnosis. The maximum period payable is 24 months.
  2. Permanent disablement lump sum
    • The permanent disablement lump sum is paid to an employee who has received a final medical report from the treating doctor indicating that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement. The permanent disablement should be 1-30% for the Compensation Fund to pay this benefit.
  3. Permanent disablement pension
    • The permanent disablement pension is paid to an employee who has received a final medical report from the treating doctor indicating that the employee has reached maximum medical improvement. The permanent disablement should be 31 -100% for the Compensation Fund to pay this benefit. Compensation payable to the dependants of employees who died as a result of injury on duty or occupational disease.
  4. Funeral expenses payable to dependents of a deceased employee with a date of death before the 1st of April 2019
    • The actual expenses incurred for the burial of a deceased employee are refunded to the dependants up to a maximum amount that is detailed in schedule 4 annually.
  5. Funeral benefits payable to deceased employees with the date of death of 1st April 2019 and after
    • The amount of R18 251.00 is paid as a lump sum to the dependants of employees who died as a result of injury on duty or occupational disease on and after the 1st of April 2019.
  6. Widow’s lump sum award
    • The surviving spouse of the deceased employee is paid a widow’s lump sum. This amount is split evenly to the spouses of the deceased employee in case of multiple surviving spouses.
  7. Widow’s pension award
    • The widow also receives a pension from the Compensation Fund. This pension is only terminated on the death of the widow.
  8. Child pension award
    • The children of the deceased employee are also paid a pension up to the age of 18 years or when they get married or financially emancipated. This pension may be extended for children who are still going to school after turning 18 years.
  9. Partial dependency award
    • This award is paid to the parents or siblings of the deceased employee if there is no surviving spouse or child. This is a once off lump sum that is paid to one individual.
  10. Wholly dependency award
    • This is a pension award paid to the parents or siblings of the deceased employee who were dependant on the income of the deceased employee. The award is paid if there is no surviving spouse or child. The pension is terminated by the death of the recipient or the expiry of the lifespan of the deceased employee.
  11. Orthotics and Rehabilitation
    • The following benefits are also available through the Compensation Fund for qualifying applicants,
  12. Bursaries for youth
    • The Compensation Fund provides bursaries for tertiary studies to unemployed youth, dependents of Compensation Fund pensioners and dependents of those who suffered fatal occupational injuries between the ages of 17 to 25 years.
  13. Return to work Programme.
    • The return-to-work programme provides skills development and facilitation of return-to-work for injured/diseased workers who are mainly persons with disabilities. Injured workers who have disabilities may apply for funding towards skills development that will provide equal developmental opportunities to maximise performance, employability, and participation in the labour market.
  14. Assistive devices
    • The Compensation Fund provides assistive devices such as wheelchairs and prosthetics to injured workers who have sustained a disability. The process of obtaining an assistive device is derived from the medical reports and is preauthorised to ensure that the beneficiary receives a device according to their medical requirements.
  15. Rehabilitation and re-integration
    • The Compensation Fund provides rehabilitation and reintegration programmes whose objective is to ensure all the needs of injured workers with disabilities are addressed. Case management ensures follow ups with workers who have sustained a disability with regards to their medical and social rehabilitation needs
  16. Medical Benefits
    • The following medical benefits are available through the Compensation Fund to qualifying claimants.
  17. Medical claims
    • The Compensation Fund will process reasonable medical expenses to gazetted Medical Service Providers and institutions that treated the employee.
  18. Re-opening of the claim
    • The Compensation Fund will re-open a claim for further treatment once the claim has exceeded two years from the date of accident and the employee still needs further treatment.
  19. Chronic medication
    • Chronic medication will be considered where an employee has contracted an occupational disease or injury that requires chronic medication. The treating medical practitioner must confirm the need for chronic treatment.

CLAIMS PRESCRIPTION PERIOD

A right to claim in terms of the Act shall lapse if the accident that happened or the disease that commenced on or after 27th April 1994 is not brought to the attention of the Commissioner or of the employer or mutual association concerned, as the case may be, within 12 months from 19th  November 2020.

IMPLICATION FOR DOMESTIC EMPLOYERS

This ruling means that all employers of domestic employees are obliged to register as employers with the Compensation Fund and submit the necessary returns as obliged.  All employers of domestic workers are therefore encouraged to register with the Compensation Fund without delay.

  1. Industry Classification In terms of the Compensation Fund’s Classification of Industries, domestic employers would be classified under Class XIX Personal Services, subclass 1910 at an assessment rate of 0.81.
  2. In terms of the new classification model to be introduced effective 1 March 2021, domestic employers will fall under its own class, Class M, subclass 2500 at an assessment rate of 1.04 for the 2021 year onwards.

Breaking News: EXTENSION OF TERS (2020/03/02)

New Directive extends TERS from 16 October 2020 to 15 March 2021

The Department of Employment and Labour published a new letter today explaining the process to be followed to claim TERS for the period 16 October 2020 to 15 March 2021.  The directives have not yet been published and the system is not yet open for applications.

The intention is that the TERS applications can be submitted in two applications, the first from 16 October 2020 to 31 December 2020 and the second tranche will be from 1 January 2021 to 15 March 2021.

However, only certain industries or categories of employees will qualify for the TERS offered:

  1. Employees who were required to self-isolate or quarantine.
  2. Employees who were required to self-isolate or quarantine.
  3. Employees who were required to self-isolate or quarantine.

Supporting documentation for these claims will be required.

In terms of qualifying Industries, two lists have been provided.

List 1:

  1. TRANSPORTATION & STORAGE (tourism and hospitality)
  2.  ACCOMMODATION (tourism and hospitality)
  3. FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICE ACTIVITIES (tourism and hospitality)
  4. RENTING & LEASING ACTIVITIES (tourism and hospitality)
  5. OFFICE ADMINISTRATIVE, OFFICE SUPPORT, AND OTHER BUSINESS SUPPORT ACTIVITIES (tourism and hospitality)
  6. TRAVEL AGENCY, TOUR OPERATOR, RESERVATION SERVICES AND RELATED ACTIVITIES (tourism and hospitality)
  7. OTHER PERSONAL SERVICE ACTIVITIES (tourism and hospitality)
  8. RETAIL SALE OF CULTURAL AND RECREATION GOODS IN SPECIALIZED STORES (Arts, entertainment and recreation sector)
  9. CREATIVE, ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ACTIVITIES (Arts, entertainment and recreation sector)
  10. LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND OTHER CULTURAL ACTIVITIES (Arts, entertainment and recreation sector)
  11. GAMBLING AND BETTING ACTIVITIES (Arts, entertainment and recreation sector)
  12. SPORTS ACTIVITIES AND AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION ACTIVITIES (Arts, entertainment and recreation sector)
  13. RETAIL SALE OF CULTURAL AND RECREATION GOODS IN SPECIALIZED STORES (Arts, entertainment and recreation sector)
  14.  AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHING (liquor sector)
  15.  MANUFACTURE OF BEVERAGES (liquor sector)
  16.  WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE (liquor sector)
  17.  TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE (liquor sector)
  18.  SECURITY & INVESTIGATION ACTIVITIES (Service providers who place employees into the above affected sectors: security services)
  19. EMPLOYMENT ACTIVITIES (Service providers who place employees into the above affected sectors)
  20.  SERVICES TO BUILDINGS AND LANDSCAPE ACTIVITIES (Service providers who place employees into the above affected sectors: cleaning services / maintenance)

List 2

  1. Cinemas
  2. Theatres
  3. Casinos
  4. Museums, galleries, libraries and archives
  5. Gyms and fitness centres
  6. Restaurants
  7. Venues hosting auctions
  8. Venues hosting professional sports
  9. Night clubs
  10. Swimming pools
  11. Bars, taverns and shebeens
  12. Public parks
  13. Domestic and international air travel
  14. Rail, bus services and taxi services
  15. E- hailing services
  16. Sale, dispensing and distributions and transportation of liquor
  17. Beaches, dams, rivers and lake
  18. Passenger ships
  19. Venues where social events are held
  20. Venues hosting concerts and live performance
  21. Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast, time share facilities, resorts and guest houses
  22. Conferencing, dining, entertainment and bar facilities
  23. International sports, arts and cultural events
  24. Professional services (cleaning and security) within regulated restricted sectors (e.g.: hospitality)
  25. Retails activities within regulated restricted sectors (e.g.: hospitality)
  26. Other services activities within regulated restricted sectors (e.g.: hospitality)

We are still working through some issues related to previous claims, but I think that future claims should be resolved quite quickly as systems have been improved.

If you require more information with regard to these claims.  Please contact the office for more information with regard to TERS claims.

Increased UIF Contributions

The Good News in the Budget Speech and amended tax regulations published on Wednesday 24 February 2021 was that our PAYE tax will be marginally less with effect from 1 March 2021 as the tax parameters have been changed a little and the rebates we can claim have been increased slightly.

However, the Bad News is that the contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund have at last been adjusted to the benefit level.

In April 2017, the Unemployment Insurance Fund increased the maximum level for benefits to R17 711-58 however, the responsibility for increasing contributions to match this with an increase in the contribution.  This responsibility lay with the Finance Minister and due to changes in Ministry at that time, no regulation in this regard was passed.

With effect from 1 March 2021 this will be corrected.  This means that while everyone still contributes 1% of salary and companies are required to match this, those employees whose earnings are above R14 872-00 will contribute more to UIF.  The maximum contribution level has now been set at R177.12.

What does this mean:

Example 1:  Employee earning R16 000-00 per month.
Tax Rate 2020R1 633.58UIF 2020R148.72Difference in earningsR14 217.70
Tax Rate 2021R1 571.00UIF 2020R160.00Difference in earningsR14 269.00
Tax Rate DifferenceR    62.58UIF Difference-R 11.28 R      51.30
Example 2: Employee earning R25 000-00 per month
Tax Rate 2020R3 880.83UIF 2020R148.72Difference in earningsR20 970.45
Tax Rate 2021R3 749.17UIF 2020R177.12Difference in earningsR21 073.71
Tax Rate DifferenceR   131.66UIF Difference-R 28.40 R     103.26

It seems the Minister gives with one hand and takes away with the other.  The benefit level remains unchanged.