The new Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) new website, with electronic registration, claims and submission of returns on one system, has its fair share of teething problems.
“We received numerous complaints and comments from members that the new system was just not working, that information previously submitted had disappeared and that the system required you to re-submit all employee data for the past five years from March 2014, per employee per month. This is an inconvenience for employers that submit data via the UIF’s website. It also has financial consequences as the accountants that are re-doing these submissions are charging their clients for this re-work and in some cases it is not always easy to access the historical information. The slow system and continuous downtime is a huge frustration for employers and accountants alike," says Juanita Steenekamp, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) project director: governance and non-IFRS reporting.
“Saica has engaged with the UIF for the past two months on the concerns raised and challenges experienced by employers on UIF submissions. Following these engagements, we have been able to draft a document, with frequently asked questions (FAQ) and steps that can assist the employers to update their data and better understand the channels available."
As a point of departure, it was reaffirmed that employers can submit their monthly information to the UIF via one of three methods: the manual submission of the UI-19 form, an online UI19 submission via the UIF’s Ufiling website, and via UIF payroll systems by emailing the relevant CSV UIF payroll file to the UIF. The latter, however, does not reflect on Ufiling and members will have to access compliance details by contacting the UIF. This process is also detailed in the FAQ. However, it is the recommended method for those who also file and pay UIF via South African Revenue Services' (Sars) eFiling.
It is only the second option of filing via the UIF’s website that has been affected by the website problems. The fund has informed Saica that the data is not “lost” but still available on the master database but needs to be imported from the database to the front end public portal. Employers now need to follow certain steps to retrieve the information. Other matters of concern include past employees still being linked to an employer and newer employees no longer on the system. Some employers have indicated that U-filing now states that they owe large amounts although they have paid via Sars’ eFiling.
However, these fixes will only assist if and when the website is up and running. There remains sporadic periods when the website is not working due to development work being done and unfortunately this downtime is not being communicated by the fund,” explains Steenekamp.
“The fund informed Saica that they are working to try and solve the issues and better communicate with the public. Employers and accountants will have to continue to exercise patience through this process and keep informed on the new functionalities and how they work,” she says.
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