Author: Jethro Malapane, executive committee member of the South African Payroll Association.
The deadline for the annual submission of earnings statements to the Compensation Fund (COID) is the 30th June 2020.
The late deadline is quite unusual and is normally at the end of March, signifying the end of the fiscal year. However, the 31 March deadline coincided with the start of South Africa’s lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The deadline has since been postponed to the end of May and again to the end of June. The deadline for earnings statements relates to the 2019-2020 year that stretched from 1 March 2019 to 29 February 2020.
Employers who miss this deadline will expose themselves to a 10% penalty and interest on the annual assessed fee. The fee must be paid within 30 days of receiving the assessment invoice from the fund. Late Return of Earnings + Late payment = 20% penalty!
All employers are required in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, No. 130 of 1993 (COIDA) to register with the fund within seven days of employing the first employee, submit returns of earnings and pay assessment fees annually.
According to the 2018-2019 annual report the Compensation Fund has paid out R17bn in compensation, medical and pension benefits over the past five years. The Compensation Fund has further confirmed that a total of 367 Covid-19 claims have been lodged with the fund, where the largest number of claims (118) comes from the Western Cape.
So far, 67 claims have been accepted for liability, 9 have been repudiated and 42 are pending adjudication.
Employers who register and pay their annual fees are protected from being sued by employees who are injured at work or who contract work-related diseases.
Employees are protected from financial losses if they are injured at work or falls ill.
Compliant employers who have kept their employee records up to date, calculated their fee correctly, submitted their statements on time and paid their fees within the stipulated time will receive a Letter of Good Standing.
This letter is an official document that proves the fund will assist employers in paying for any work-related injuries or harm to employees, because payments are up to date.
The assessment fee depends on the industry the business finds itself in, based on a risk analysis and the earnings of the individuals.
The fund has faced administrative challenges in the past and employers have raised concerns about the unresponsiveness of officials when trying to submit claims on behalf of their employees.
The administrative burden and slow responses to employer’s requests for support have led to many using their own employee risk benefits. Employers claim on behalf of their employees and are required to fill in several forms such as incident reports and jump through a few hoops to access the benefits.
However, employers who have been persistent enough and who have been following the necessary steps got the assistance and support they needed.
The fund experienced some system problems last year. Few companies cannot at this stage afford to pay penalties when they have been given ample time to submit the statements.
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