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COVID-19 Disaster Relief Payments

Please note: This system item is not available for payslips dated on or after 1 January 2022

There are several organisations outside of government, such as the South African Future Trust (SAFT), providing COVID-19 relief funds for employers to keep paying their employees. The relief is usually offered in the form of a loan to employers and is paid directly to employees. SimplePay has a built-in system item to cater for the special tax treatment and reporting requirements for these payments (outlined below).

To make use of the system item created by SimplePay:

  1. Go to an employee’s profile
  2. Click on Add next to Payslip Inputs
  3. Under Other, select COVID-19 Disaster Relief
  4. Enter the Amount of the relief paid to the employee
  5. Click Save

You will notice that the payment is listed on the payslip as a Benefit and does not impact the Nett pay due to employees. This is because the relief payments are made directly to employees by the organisation. The system item is simply used for satisfying the tax and reporting requirements and not to facilitate payments.

Tax Treatment

As outlined by the Disaster Tax Relief Bill, these payments are not included in remuneration for PAYE and SDL and therefore are not subject to tax. Although these payments are not included in remuneration for PAYE and SDL, they are included in remuneration for UIF and remuneration for the purposes of calculating ETI.

Reporting on Tax Certificates

These payments are reported to SARS under tax code 3724 on an employee’s IRP5/IT3(a). This is outlined on the SARS website here.


A manual journal entry will need to be posted in Xero / QuickBooks for this system item. For example, if the system item is used to record payments from SAFT, the journal entry would be:

  • Debit: Salaries and wages
  • Credit: SAFT loan