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Employer who took advantage of Covid concession is ordered to pay arrear provident fund contributions at the prescribed rate with interest

09 May 2023 The Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator (OPFA)
Muvhango Lukhaimane

Muvhango Lukhaimane

Some employers have taken advantage of the Covid concession on provident fund contributions which allowed for a lower deduction from employee salaries.

The Private Security Sector Provident Fund amended its rules to allow employers to pay contributions at a lower rate (5%) from September 2021 to March 2023.

Some opportunistic employers have been deducting higher amounts from employee salaries whilst remitting a lower amount to the fund. Also, some employers continued to remit the lower rate even though the Covid period concession had passed.

The Pension Funds Adjudicator Muvhango Lukhaimane found that one such employer, Bamogale Enterprise (Pty) Ltd, which had deducted a higher amount from the complainant’s salary, had paid a lower amount in contributions to the Private Security Sector Provident Fund. She has ordered the employer to pay the fund all arrear contributions, as computed by the fund.

The complainant submitted that after perusing his contribution statement he noticed that the employer deducted contributions in the amount of R342.53 from his salary but contributed a lesser amount of R228.35 to the fund. He further stated the employer had been deducting contributions since December 2021 but the statement from the fund indicated that there were no contributions to the fund.

The fund submitted that the complainant became its member on 1 March 2020. It provided the complainant’s transactional history reflecting that he had a fund credit of R10 634.14 as at 17 February 2023 representing provident fund contributions for March 2020 to October 2022. The schedule indicated that contributions for May 2020 to September 2020 were at a lower rate than prescribed.

The fund submitted that the complainant was in arrears in the amount of R4 556.00 for December 2019 to February 2020 and November 2022 to January 2023 plus late payment interest of R1 803.38 calculated up to 14 April 2023.

The employer was granted an opportunity to comment on the allegations made against it. However, no response was received.

In her determination, Ms Lukhaimane said the employer had also failed to timeously register the complainant with the fund and pay all contributions on his behalf. The complainant commenced employment on 1 December 2019 and was only registered with the fund on 1 March 2020.

“On the evidence submitted, the employer is ordered to pay the arrear amount of R4 556.00 for December 2019 to February 2020 and November 2022 to January 2023.

“The complainant stated that the employer deducted contributions in the amount of R342.53 and only remitted an amount of R228.35.

“In addition, the contributions fluctuate for May 2020 to September 2020 and the fund will be ordered to reconcile same. The complainant provided a pay slip for September 2021 showing that the employer deducted contributions of R342.53 and remitted an amount of R228.35. He provided another pay slip for October 2022 reflecting a provident fund deduction of R358.95 and contribution payment of R239.30.

“Therefore, the employer failed to pay contributions in terms of the rate as prescribed in the rules. The employer should start deducting the correct contribution rate as per the fund rules from May 2023 going forward.

“The employer is also ordered to submit the outstanding contribution schedules in respect of the complainant for February 2023 to date, to the fund in order for it to facilitate the computation of arrear contributions within five weeks of this determination,” said Ms Lukhaimane.

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