To date, the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s temporary employee relief scheme (Ters) has paid over R15,7-billion to 2, 288 295 in its Covid-19 relief payments. Many employers, however, are still having their applications rejected.
Arlene Leggat, Executive Committee Member of the South African Payroll Association (SAPA), says that small, seemingly insignificant discrepancies in submissions are seen as mistakes and will lead to the submission being rejected.
“When the relief scheme was made public, the Department of Labour issued guidelines and templates for the submission of files. Like many government - and other - systems, if the submission isn’t in the exact same format as the templates provided, the submission will be rejected,” says Leggat.
Even the smallest discrepancies will get an application rejected
Everything from the date formats to the termination dates must be written in a specific way, precisely as the template stipulates, to avoid the application being rejected by the system.
“There are two different date formats to use in the application, for example. The header date in the application doesn’t have dashes, but the dates in the data section have dashes. Using a comma instead of a decimal point or full stop, for example, will be seen as incorrect by the system.
The termination date on the application is also causing a lot of confusion. This date refers to people who have left your employ during this period, if they are still employed, it must be blank. Little discrepancies like these have led to many companies’ applications being rejected,” says Leggat.
While the process can be frustrating, Leggat says an employer’s best bet is to download the guidelines that are available on the Department of Labour’s website and do a line-by-line comparison between the template and submission.
“Take the sample template that has been issued on the site, put it next to your file, and go through the submission slowly and diligently to make sure that that you have provided everything in the required format. If your submission is 100% aligned with the sample template, then you should get paid,” says Leggat.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again
Employers who have had their submissions rejected have become despondent and many have adopted a “what’s the point?” attitude. Leggat says that it’s important to persevere with the application process, even if it is tedious.
“Many businesses are struggling to pay their workers during the pandemic, which is understandable, but the TERS benefit is available to provide relief. It can be frustrating to go through the process, but please keep at it.
Your employees depend on you. In a country where the vast majority of people spend their salaries within days of receiving it, not having their full salaries is only going to compound the economic problem South Africa faces. At the very least, we need to make sure that people are getting paid what they can,” concludes Leggat.
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