uFiling uses and pitfalls

uFiling uses and pitfalls

Business, Human Resources, Legislation

Authors: Prianka Naidoo and Dave Beattie

uFiling is a secure online system introduced to employers to register, declare and pay UIF contributions. The system also allows employers to update individual employee salary details. It enables a streamlined UIF declaration returns process and automatically calculates the UIF contributions associated with an employer’s monthly return. Employees can use the system to apply for benefits such as unemployment, maternity and illness.

The Department of Employment and Labour state that with regular updates and automated email notifications from uFiling, an employer will remain compliant with the latest UIF legislative requirements, hence eliminating the need to worry about legislative non-compliance.

The Department of Employment and Labour confidently refers to the following benefits of the uFiling system:

  • Easy-to-use
  • Provides for bulk uploading and declaration submissions
  • Ready-to-use reports
  • Secures data
  • Provides a back-up / archiving solution

However, as much as an online system like uFiling sounds like a great idea, in reality users have had challenges with successfully reporting practical day-to-day transactions for years. These challenges relate to both the use of uFiling and dealing with matters with the Department of Employment and Labour in general. Issues that are causing frustration include:

Turnaround time

While claims can be submitted online, there is no guidance as to how long certain processes take. This can mean that benefit claims are outstanding for over a year. This is certainly not acceptable service at a time when the benefits are needed the most.

Updating of documents

Claims can remain unattended for 6 to 12 months as labour officials wait for documentation that has already been sent through. The reason for this is because supporting documentation e-mails that follow claims go to an e-mail address that is inevitably overloaded. This information is often lost and must be resubmitted when an official eventually responds to a query and again requests the supporting documentation.

Follow ups

The follow up process is the most tedious and time-consuming process as multiple emails are required to be sent before you get a response. This greatly increases the turnaround time of every registration, claim or enquiry. Calling the Department of Labour is a futile exercise as a question will receive a myriad of answers from different officials.

Banking details

Banking details can only be changed at the Department of Employment and Labour’s offices. There is currently no way of changing banking details online. While we are mindful of this being a significant area of risk, a visit in person is not a practical solution to this problem as their offices are ill prepared to deal with the volume of enquiries.

Linking / updating company information

A company can only be linked to an individual who is reflected as a director on the company’s CIPC documentation. If there is ever a change of ownership or change of profile it becomes very difficult to change this information on uFiling as there are forms to be completed and documentation to be supplied to successfully complete this process. In our experience it takes months to get this process right, with the representative eventually having to make a visit to the Department of Employment and Labour to sit with an officer and work through the documentation. This process needs to be made easier. Possibly the Department of Employment and Labour need to take a leaf out of SARS’ book – their supporting documentation upload process works very well!

Allocation of payments / declarations

System issues with uFiling makes the updating of declarations and the making of payments extremely difficult. If a declaration is not submitted correctly due to such an issue, it becomes extremely difficult to update. Payments that are done prior to moving to uFiling also do not get allocated correctly, and it becomes difficult to match them against a declaration.

The uFiling system is also not an efficient option for larger employers. Employees need to be added individually and the system struggles to refresh large volumes of data often timing out and kicking out larger users.

The various role players in the payroll industry, including HRTorQue, have made many appeals to the Department of Employment and Labour over the years to re-look at the systems and processes used, and to make them more robust and user friendly. These appeals appear to have fallen on deaf ears, and the frustration continues to grow. It is extremely difficult to be legislatively compliant if the tools that Government supply to do so do not work. In the meantime, the biggest losers continue to be the employees who in their time of need are not able to access the benefits promised under the Unemployment Insurance Act.

We will continue to try assist our clients where we can, but it is a frustrating and relationship breaking service that we cannot control, and which we often cannot fix. So please be patient with our consultants, we are trying our very best to help you in any way we can. Email us on [email protected] and let’s see what we can do for you!