2018 has almost come to an end, and the Payroll and HR industry has pulled through another year. With a New Year just around the corner, one needs to ask what the future holds. Will it be more of the same, or will some drastic shake-ups take the industry by surprise?
To answer the questions about 2019, a conversation with Paymaster People Solutions’ founder and MD, Ian Hurst, gave us some clues. In his inevitable manner, his simple and short answer about what 2019 holds for the payroll Industry was “more of the same”. So, if it is to be “more of the same” then what can we really expect?
Minimum Wage – tighten up implementation
2018 saw the introduction of the minimum wage and in 2019 it will remain. HR and Payroll departments should by now have understood how the minimum wage will affect their payroll and payroll systems and it should be smooth running. However, there are still a handful of companies that are finalising their minimum wage policies, processes and structures. There will almost certainly still be continued debate about what a living wage is. Further, as the minimum wage begins to become normal, perceived headaches about it should disappear. At present, the minimum wage is very much business as usual with the only real suggestion being to make absolutely certain that it is paid, managed and reported on correctly.
POPI – Keep an eye on what is printed
The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act has become something every payroll department has to carefully consider. The rules around POPI and the privacy of people will continue to become more controlled.
The focus in the main has been on digital or electronic information and how this is stored, managed and used. With regards to payroll information, Paymaster has been ahead of the curve when it comes to storage, retrieval and management of personal or confidential information before POPI became law. Read the essentials of POPI as they pertain to payroll. However, regarding doing business and the considerations that POPI presents, it looks as though we’re set to move in the direction of non-digital documentation for many companies.
Despite the desired move to becoming a paperless office, Payroll departments are still paper heavy. The documentation that payroll departments print is often of a personal or confidential nature. In the context POPI the information printed still needs to comply with the procedures and rules of the act. This means that the information contained needs to be secure in how it is used, stored and eventually destroyed.
With both POPI and going paperless in mind, a consideration for payroll departments in 2019 would be to afford more thought to what is being printed and why it is being printed. Processes around the disposal of printed matter must also be carefully looked at. Leaving confidential information on a desk, even for a moment, has to become a thing of the past.
SARS and all things tax
In 2018, for a combination of good as well as less favourable reasons, SARS spent a lot of time in the media and public eye. In certain areas, SARS needs to make some drastic improvements in 2019. The strictness with which SARS regards submissions, returns and reporting looks set to increase from next year.
For Payroll departments, one of the biggest and most significant things to consider with tax-related matters, is to submit early. Already it is public knowledge the SARS IT systems, including the eFiling system that Payroll departments thrive on, is on the verge of collapse. One cannot but heed the hidden warning in the media that those who submit returns or rely on SARS systems for anything should be aware and ideally submit early. If a deadline is Wednesday at 11AM, Payroll Departments should not leave a submission until the last minute and rather create their own deadline of 24 to 48 hours sooner to avoid systems or processing delays. SARS will not hesitate to issue a penalty for a late submission even it is because their systems are down or that they are at fault.
SOHO and Home Office Growing in Numbers
As in 2018 where more tax payers worked from a formal home office, the number is set to grow in 2019. The trend in working from home and claiming the tax “benefits” will continue to rise as technology advances (fibre especially) and higher fuel prices make a daily commute expensive. With this in mind, ensuring employees and payroll staff are increasingly made aware of what can and cannot be claimed is vital. As was explained earlier in 2018, the rules are fairly straightforward. SARS is particularly strict on how deductions are being calculated. Gearing up for a new way of working means having a payroll system and department that can handle SOHO operations effectively, thereby ensuring that cost savings and other benefits to your company and employees is fully attained.
Paymaster Payroll as a payroll company has lots to look forward to in 2019. With a continued effort in the development of its cloud-based technology the drive to migrate customers to this powerful technology promises an exciting year ahead ahead. However, moving to the cloud is one thing, but getting to closer to your people is another. Ian Hurst has said that there are a number of information sessions being planned for the next 12 months—At various locations in South Africa. These information sessions will focus on specific topics. Questions and answer (Q&A) sessions will be facilitated. These promise to help anyone who uses Paymaster Payroll or works in a Payroll or HR Department.
To conclude—More of the same in 2019
So, yes, 2019 does look like it is more of the same. However, the difference between next year and the past year lies in being more vigilant and prepared. New rules, policies and ways of working began in 2018. For next year, seemingly 2019 will be the year for these new rules, policies and ways of working to become entrenched in payroll departments.