Newsletter - March 2023

Latest developments affecting employee benefits and industry employers.

Welcome to New Employers

A very warm welcome to all new employers who have registered since our last newsletter on 19 October 2023.

Newsletters are sent out periodically to the industry to share important changes in employee benefit processing and client services, and information relating to the BIBC mandate.

Older newsletters are archived and can be accessed on our website at www.bibc.co.za under the ‘News’ tab. 

Senior Responsible Person/Director(s)

If you are a payroll administrator or consultant receiving this communication, it is important that you urgently share all communications and messaging from the BIBC with the appropriate senior staff member and business director(s). 

Employer Support

Email queries: All queries relating to the submission of your returns can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It will be greatly appreciated if you refrain from sending multiple requests on the same issue to multiple email BIBC addresses. This naturally clogs up the system and delays our response to all employers who are asking for assistance. 

After all the duplicate emails were identified and actioned, the turnaround time for a response (depending on the request), is now greatly improved.

Telephone assistance: As previously mentioned, we are, along with everyone else, also impacted by poor connectivity and interruptions to our telephone and internet services. Signal quality is particularly poor, especially during and around load-shedding periods. Depending on how stable the signal is, your call may not get through at all. When this happens, we are asking that you rather send an email. Connectivity interruptions because of load-shedding is not something we can control. We are looking at various options to stabilise our systems, that will hopefully make a difference to your experience.

Walk-in assistance: If you need training on the eesi© system, do make an appointment to visit any of our branches as we cannot guarantee that we will have a resource to assist you if you arrive without an arrangement with Employer Support. On and before the due date for return submissions and payments to reflect in the correct BIBC bank account ( i.e., the 7th of each month for the previous month) is particularly problematic when you are most likely to be turned away if you don’t have an appointment.

Training guides: There is a comprehensive guide on the website on how to submit a return on eesi©. We have done our best to make it easy to follow. It is encouraging to see that most employers (who were not affected by the registration and benefit code errors), successfully submitted returns and did not approach us for training at all. They simply followed the step-by-step guide.

Facilities available: There is a dedicated Client Services facility for employers at all of our offices. If you do not have computer equipment to make your submission, please reserve a workstation. We may not be able to offer you assistance but the facility was set up for your convenience. Again, if you wait until the due date for returns, you are likely to be turned away if the facility is fully booked. 

Department Generic Addresses

The following email addresses must be used for specific queries. If you are unsure where your query must be sent to, send only one email and address it only to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will route it to the appropriate department.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                 : Log-in and return queries

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                : Employer registrations

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                               : Employee registrations

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                  : Sick Fund claims

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                             : Medical Aid claims

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                   : Pension Fund queries

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                             : Collections

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.            : Labour disputes; Collective Agreement queries

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                           : Exemption applications 

Service disruptions at BIBC offices

All BIBC offices have been quite severely impacted by prolonged and frequent load-shedding events. Disruptions to internet and telephony services continue to create massive backlogs in our systems and have affected all projects, including our main Systems Renewal project. We will do our very best to communicate any disruption to our services timeously. 

Update on Employee Benefits System: eesi(c)

Returns submitted by Employers: Since the start of the new financial year on 01 November 2022 and until 28 February 2023, almost six thousand returns have been successfully uploaded by employers. Well done!

Mixed responses: As it is with any system change, the range of responses is between (1) “At last, we have been asking for this for the longest time”; and (2) “Bring back the old system, we don’t want this new system.”

Errors resolved: While there were initial challenges in the system that frustrated employers and the BIBC team that were assisting with queries, all errors relating to benefit codes and registrations have now been resolved.

Invoices: The take-on of all historical data from the old system is being done in tranches due to the sheer volume of data spanning over 40 years. Once historical data which includes account balances is verified, we will be able to generate tax invoices. A separate email notification will be sent out to employers, to confirm that the invoice facility is available.

Gratitude: A huge thank you to employers for your patience during this difficult process to replace an incredibly old and complex system. The old system unfortunately no longer supports efficient processing of 5 large employee benefit funds, each with a completely different set of rules. Thank you also to the employers that assisted us during the testing phase, your guidance and input was crucial to us developing a system that would work for you. 

Dispute Prevention

Prevention versus Enforcement: The mandate to facilitate the escalation of conflicts in the industry as it relates to employee benefits and fair competition, is taken seriously by the BIBC. The desired outcome and goal that we work towards, is to prevent the escalation of conflict so that arbitrations and the binding awards that follow, are reduced. Do contact a designated agent in the Client Services Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are unsure of how to proceed to remain compliant.

Contact persons: As we have previously communicated, it is important to make sure that responsible persons are receiving these communications and that emails and newsletters from the BIBC are not ignored. As administrators of five large industry funds, we have clearly defined dispute resolution and debt collection processes. The intent behind these processes is to recover and allocate outstanding funds to the correct employees. 

CCMA proceedings

In-contact only: The BIBC follows the guidelines of the CCMA who accredits us to offer dispute resolution services to the industry. As such, following the decision of the CCMA, all arbitrations will require in-person attendance. This is even more necessary in the context of daily disruptions to power and poor . All arbitration cases set down from 01 April 2023 will therefore no longer include an option to attend virtually. 

Process and timeline changes

Old debt serviced first: The correct process of allocating funds towards the oldest debt for employers that are in arrears, has been communicated several times. An invitation was also extended at the end of the 2022 financial year, for employers who have arrears to arrange for these debts to be settled. Thank you to the employers who took advantage of the concession and who have diligently serviced their debt to their employees.

Early withdrawals: This applies to employees who resign and who leave the industry before the year-end payout. A more onerous auditing process, means that early withdrawals against the Holiday Fund (leave pay) will in future be processed on a weekly basis. Applications must be received by Wednesday 16h00 to be processed and paid out by Friday 16h00. Where volumes allow, applications in the queue may be processed earlier.

Sick Fund: Due to the volumes of sick leave applications received, we will no longer be able to process sick leave pay for same-day payment. Applications must be received by Wednesday 16h00 to be processed and paid out by Friday 16h00. During weeks when volumes are lower, applications in the queue may be processed earlier. 

Bank Account

BIBC Bank Account: As of 01 April 2023, there will only be one BIBC Current bank account. Most employers who were previously in arrears and paid into the Arrears bank account, never changed the account back to the BIBC Current bank account. This creates delays as funds for current benefits first need to be transferred between the two banking accounts before it can be allocated. The Arrears account will be closed on 31 March 2023.

Do edit your payroll system to only make payments to:

BIBC

First National Bank

Account No: 54623113443 

Branch Code: 201409     

Card payment facilities are also available at all our Offices.

Payment Reference: Your Employer Number must be used as a beneficiary reference for identification. As indicated in a previous email to employers, we have hundreds of thousands of rands that we cannot allocate as employers have either provided no reference at all, or the reference does not help us identify them. The most urgent implication of not being able to allocate the funds is that we cannot qualify your employees for Sick Leave, Medical Aid, Funeral Claims. This also impacts on your Compliance certificate status.

If you know that you have not provided a clear reference (we only need your BIBC Employer Number) then send your proof (s) of payment to Employer Support.

Payment to match return: It is important to pay the correct amount, that matches your return. Significant delays are created in the system for everyone when employers submit payments that either do not match the returns or they submit one, consolidated payment for multiple returns. This also applies to labour/payroll consultants with a mandate to submit returns and make payments on behalf of multiple employers. It also applies to main contractors with a mandate to submit returns and make payments on behalf of their sub-contractors. 

Card replacements

The replacement cost for lost BIBC registration and BIMAF cards is R25.00. 

New Collective Agreement

As per previous communications and formal notices (see BIBC website), the Minister of Employment and Labour has extended the three-year, 2019 Collective Agreement for a further year, ending 31 October 2023. All employers (parties and non-parties) are therefore bound by that agreement.

The newly negotiated 2023 collective agreement (not published) has also been made available to all employers, and a significant number of employers have voluntarily implemented increases on 01 November 2022.

The BIBC has in the meantime challenged the decision by the Minister of Employment of Labour to not extend the new Agreement to non-parties. The outcome of this process will be duly communicated.

Regards: Pearl Pugin (BIBC CEO)

 

FSCA Requirements – New Conduct Standard for Retirement Funds

Conduct Standard: On 19 August 2022, the Financial Sector Authority (FSCA) published a new Conduct Standard which came into effect on 19 February 2023. This document is available on the BIBC website and has been sent by email to all employers on 08 March 2023.

In terms of the new requirements, employers are required to provide a fund (i.e., the BIBC) with a minimum level of contribution data. In addition, employers must submit a declaration that “all employees eligible to be members of the fund are accurately reflected in the minimum information”. A separate letter will be sent to you, along with the spreadsheet that you need to use to capture this data, to assist you to comply with this requirement.

Highlights of the Conduct Standard that you need to pay particular attention to:

Late Payment Interest (LPI): In terms of the new Conduct Standard, the interest rate for arrear contributions is set at prime + 2%. The BIBC has no discretion in this regard and is required to apply the rate. Contributions are due by the 7th of each month for the previous month, and interest is calculated from the 8th of each month. 

Reporting: The new Conduct Standard requires that the BIBC Secretary reports to the Board of Trustees, via the Principal Officer of the Retirement Funds, all material contraventions. This means that, arrears outstanding for 90 days, must be reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Employers are encouraged to contact the BIBC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make arrangements to settle arrears. 

Regards: Danie Hattingh (Principal Officer: BIBC Retirement Funds)