- Supplier Relations
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- Travel Information
On 6 December 2019, SAA was placed under business rescue because it did not have the working capital to fund operations. SA Airlink, an SAA codeshare and franchise partner, indicated that for unflown tickets issued before 6 December, customers should receive refunds from SAA. However, SAA has not yet released refunds to all of these customers. If a customer is still owed money from SAA
A customer who has a voucher for service from a supplier that goes into liquidation becomes a creditor. As a creditor, they can lodge a complaint with the liquidator but are advised to do so under that condition that they cannot be made to pay in, e.g. should the liquidator try to recoup the amount of the voucher. It is possible that this situation may
If a customer cancels their trip or scheduled flight because they feel disinclined to travel or because they expect that it will eventually be cancelled, they are not entitled to a refund. Customers are entitled to a refund only where travel bans/restrictions are in place, or a flight is cancelled by the airline. Even if the flight is eventually cancelled by the airline, the policy
This is occurring as credit card companies reverse transactions for flights that have been cancelled. In response, airlines are sending the travel agents involved agency debit memos (ADM) requiring them to pay the transaction amount back to the airline. Whether this is legal or right depends on whose credit card was used to make the booking, i.e. who the contract is between. If the booking
Unless the original T&Cs state otherwise, then any commission earned on a booking that is cancelled must also be refunded to the consumer – along with the full amount received from the supplier. If the travel agent no longer has the commission amount, because it has already been paid out and spent, as may be the case, the travel agent can propose mediation to try
This depends on what the Terms & Conditions say in the contract between the travel agent and consumer. If the T&Cs state that the travel agent can levy a separate administration service fee – given that it is fair and reasonable – and the consumer agreed upfront when the booking was made, then a separate fee may apply for the work incurred to cancel the
No, you cannot. The CGSO is very firm on this even if your T&Cs provide for a cancellation penalty. The CPA overrides any T&Cs, and the CPA’s position is clear. All consumers who are unable to travel due to travel bans or a cancelled flight by the airline are entitled to a full refund from the supplier if they do not receive the goods or
In principle, the CPA states that consumers must be offered the option to choose either a voucher or a refund. Of course, in many cases, travel agents themselves have not received the refund from the supplier and thus simply do not hold the funds to pass onto their client. However, the CPA was not developed with a situation like Covid-19 in mind, and the legal
It depends on where the contract was concluded and what the T&Cs state. It does not necessarily matter where the consumer is located. Therefore, the CPA can apply to an international individual if they entered into a contract with a South African travel service provider. If, for instance, an airline originates overseas, and its service is purchased by either a South African or an international
If the intermediary is an individual or a juristic person with a turnover and asset value of under R2 million (at the time of the transaction), then they are fully protected by the CPA and can demand whatever has been paid out to the end supplier. If the intermediary sits above the R2 million threshold, they would need to negotiate with the end supplier. Ideally,
The CSGO says that an intermediary such as a travel agent must pass any refunds they receive from suppliers onto their clients. But where they cannot recover refunds from suppliers, as seen with airlines, a reasonable offer to the consumer for postponement is considered fair. A voucher valid for two to three years is viewed as a reasonable offer for postponement, and the CSGO encourages
The Consumer Services & Goods Ombud (CSGO) handles consumer complaints free of charge and investigates alleged contraventions to uphold the industry code of conduct. When and where possible, they will pass complaints on to the relevant suppliers. And in some cases, the CSGO will refer complaints to the relevant trade or industry associations, such as ASATA. Read more...
In summary, no matter which sections are relied upon, the end result remains the same. The CPA's overall position is that consumers who are unable to travel due to travel bans or a cancelled flight by the airline, are entitled to a full refund from the supplier if they do not receive the goods or services for which they paid. You can view the Consumer
A travel agent's business model affects how the law applies to their situation. This has to do with the contracts in place. For instance, you may just act as a go-between for your client and the supplier where the contract is actually between those parties, and thus the booking is subject to the supplier's terms and conditions. The other scenario is when travel agents act
The current situation in which travel agents, travellers, and suppliers find themselves is truly unprecedented. Our laws and regulatory bodies, including the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CSGO), were not developed with a pandemic of this magnitude in mind and are, therefore, unclear in some instances. As ASATA, we will continue to seek clarity and answer all of your
If you are not sure what you should have received and suspect it is the incorrect amount, double-check the amount you declared. If you under or over declared, you can resubmit the information and the payment amount will be corrected. In some cases, employers have been paid in two batches as the first calculation was incorrect and TERS made an additional payment to rectify it.
The Government has issued the COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Workplaces COVID-19 (C19 OHS) Directive, which set out the measures that businesses must take when re-opening to ensure the safety of employees and customers. ASATA has also conducted a webinar to answer all your questions, which can be found here with a FAQ and various resources.
Please see the official TERS Guide for a detailed formula explanation. The pay-out works on the IRR (Income Replacement Rate) calculated at a pay-out running between 38%-60% of the employee’s salary up to a ceiling of R17 712. The maximum amount that could be paid by the UIF is R6 638.40 and the minimum amount is R3 500. Please see a detailed explanation of how this formula
The Department of Small Business Development has established Business growth/Resilience Facilities. This facility will fund the following: Production/supply of health care and related products that will be utilised to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Local production/manufacturing/supply of various products that will be required by the country emanating from a shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic Priority will be given to businesses owned by
The company must: be registered with the UIF comply with the application procedure, and have temporarily closed business operations, or part of its operations directly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 TERS Directive has been amended several times since its first publication. The latest consolidated directives can be accessed here. The main amendments made are as follows: Employees who were required by their employers
10. What is the application process for coronavirus Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Covid-19 TERS)? Employers must follow these steps to apply for COVID-19 TERS benefits: Step 1: Apply Employers must apply at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/covid19. Step 2: Submit Employers must submit documents required including: · Letter of authority on an official company letterhead granting permission to an individual specified to lodge a claim on behalf of the
Employers must complete the required forms. The employer or employee should then submit the completed forms through the following methods: A claim for illness can be lodged online at: ufiling.co.za. (Illness benefits) Email the application to the nearest UIF processing Centre. (Illness/ Reduced Work Time/Death benefits) Fax the application to the nearest UIF processing Centre. (Illness/ Reduced Work Time/Death benefits) Application forms can be downloaded from
You should immediately classify your workforce in the following categories: Staff who are critical to your business and who can work remotely. Staff who can work reduced hours and can work remotely. Staff whose services are not needed right now (whether they could work remotely or not). Staff who cannot work remotely. You can take different approaches to these different categories of employees. This will
When you retrench, you have to pay any accrued annual leave, notice periods and severance (one week for every completed year of service). And you cannot arrange for payment plans. So, it won’t solve your cashflow problems. Retrenchment processes take a lot of time – and you have to continue paying your employees while you do it. So, it won’t solve your immediate problems. Here
This depends on how much cash you have on hand and how long you think it will take before bookings pick up again. You need to calculate something called your cash burn rate to figure out how much time you can trade for. If you don’t think things are going to pick up before you run out of cash, you should consider starting the retrenchment
You can ask your employees to work for less hours or less days per week than they would normally. This means that you will also pay them less. They will be able to claim from the UIF for the difference between what they used to earn and what they will earn now. The UIF formula of 38-60% of the UIF cap of R17 712 will be applied,
When employees do not work at all for a certain period. This period can be days, weeks or months depending on the circumstances. In such circumstances, the employees would not be paid, but would still be the company's employees. They will be able to claim from the UIF during a temporary lay-off. The UIF formula of 38-60% of the UIF cap of R17 712 will be applied,
You can’t just unilaterally change your employees’ conditions of employment, so you are going to have to consult, but it is not as onerous as the retrenchment period. Here are the steps you have to take: Issue staff with the “notice of intention to introduce short time/temporary lay-off” document you will find here. During lock-down it will be considered reasonable to cut the consultation process
What is the benefit called and what is it for? When should you claim? How does it work? What application forms are required? Reduced work time benefit This benefit applies if a company shuts down for a certain period, employees are laid off temporarily, or short time is implemented. Employees can claim for this benefit during and after the lockdown. Employees can
The employer may decide to close their entire business for a period and send employees home. If the employer cannot pay his employees for this period, the employer can apply for the “National Disaster Benefit” from the UIF. This benefit will be at a flat rate equal to the minimum wage (R3 500) per employee per month for the duration of the shutdown or a
When an employee is infected, because they came to work, they may claim from the Compensation Fund in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA). Here is the link to the Government Notice which extended these benefits to COVID-19 cases. Please note that it is compulsory for all companies with one employee or more to register with the Compensation Fund and
Each organisation will have different leave policies suited to their particular needs. In this section we attempt to answer some of your questions relating to leave. 15.1. When do employees qualify for paid sick leave for COVID-19? If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 (confirmed by a medical doctor) or if they have symptoms and get booked off by a doctor, normal sick leave
In addition to keeping tabs on the Government interventions discussed above, ASATA members are encouraged to take the following actions to preserve their cash flow in the short term: Consider our employment FAQ for options such as short time and temporary lay-offs. This is the single biggest cost saving measure you can employ now. In extreme cases, consider whether you shouldn’t close your business temporarily.
We realise that a lot of these interventions are aimed at propping up SMMEs and that large businesses will feel over-looked. The information is still coming in and ASATA is closely monitoring what the Government is doing and will provide regular updates.
In his speech on 23 March 2020, President Ramaphosa said the following: ‘Commercial banks have been exempted from provisions of the Competition Act to enable them to develop common approaches to debt relief and other necessary measures.’ Banking Association of South Africa members have agreed to do all in their power, while operating within regulatory frameworks, to responsibly support their customers and preserve the safety and
What other assistance is available for businesses that are in distress? President Ramaphosa announced these relief measures as part of the COVID-19 economic stimulus package. The Ministry of Finance released a media statement and draft explanatory notes on Covid-19 tax measures on 29 March. These tax measures will take effect from 1 April 2020 and are regulated in terms of the proposed Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill. SARS
6.1. What is TERS? There is also the Corona Virus Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (COVID19TERS) which is being administered by the UIF. Employers that have to enforce lock down and who require financial assistance from the UIF can access information about available funding through a dedicated mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an automated response outlining the procedure and documents required to process an application. Here is an ‘easy
The National Small Business Chamber has launched the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Centre. You can sign up for free for ongoing tips, news and support. They will also campaign on your behalf to encourage providers to implement: low-interest disaster recovery loans, moratoriums on vehicle and equipment leases, bond repayments etc, negotiating and staying in contact with suppliers, landlord negotiation with regard to property leases. Here is an
The Department has made R200 million available to assist SMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector who are under particular stress due to the restrictions placed on travel. The Department has specified that funding is capped at R50,000 for each individual entity who is awarded funding through this scheme. On 30 May the Department also announced that a further R30 million will be made available
What is the SMME Debt Relief Finance Scheme? The Department of Small Business Development has established the Debt Relief Finance Scheme. The Scheme will provide soft loan funding to keep existing businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic for 6 months from April 2020. It is aimed at businesses which are negatively affected, directly or indirectly, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Priority will be given to
You can read more about the Solidary Fund here. The aim of the fund is to prevent the spread of the disease by supporting measures to flatten the curve and lower infection rates detect and understand the magnitude of the disease care for those in hospital or medical care support those whose lives are disrupted by the pandemic. Individuals and organisations are invited to support these
Sometimes it does. It will depend on where the contract was concluded. To determine this can be quite technical, but here are some pointers: If the travel service provider has an office here and the transaction took place over the counter or telephone, the CPA will apply. For online transactions, section 22 of the Electronic Transactions and Communications Act will apply. The transaction is concluded
When flights get cancelled, a lot of consumers are trying to claim for accommodation and other bookings they have made that they can no longer honour. Under these circumstances, can an airline be held responsible for those costs if the consumer can’t get a refund? If there has been a travel ban or other circumstances beyond the travel service provider’s control, the consumer is not
The fact of the matter is that many travel service providers are not currently offering cash refunds, because of the severity of the COVID-19 crisis or because they believe that the CPA doesn’t apply to them (whether they are right or wrong is immaterial right now). Technically speaking, travel agents are considered retailers in terms of the CPA. You can argue that you are just
Strictly speaking, that has never been legal. Consumers always have the right to cancel (for no reason) in terms of section 17. All the airline is entitled to do is charge a reasonable cancellation penalty. The cancellation penalty can be quite high, particularly when tickets were sold at a discounted price, but refusing to give any refund at all is not considered reasonable. For more
No. Whether there is a travel ban or not, the travel agent has already performed a service and should be paid for that. For more information on cancellations and refunds, please click here.
It’s a moving target. Airlines are also finding it incredibly difficult to manage this situation. The airline terms and conditions are very different to any other contract. For more information on cancellations and refunds, please click here.
There are no measures in place. It sounds very blunt but the travel industry in South Africa is not regulated. Ultimately, you are selecting your suppliers based on confidence and trust that they are delivering the product and services you have been requested to deliver to your customers. There are no mechanisms, there are no requirements to put money in trust funds. I think it's
There are some challenges with regards to how the Consumer Protection Act works. One of the challenges is an ongoing delay in terms of the airlines providing specific codes of behaviour and conduct in terms of airlines and Consumer Protection. The Consumer Protection Act was always designed for consumer items that are disposable and easy to replace. The situation will be different depending on whether
In terms of suppliers, ASATA is currently developing a table of content where you will have one point of resource with all the change policies, cancellation policies and communication strategies. You will find that on our website. Keep in mind that the situation is incredibly fluid and we’re seeing changes happening multiple times a day. For more information on cancellations and refunds, please click here.
This is a challenging issue for us. Travel agents have commercial agreements in place with suppliers. We are not involved in your commercial agreements. In fact, we cannot get involved in your commercial agreements because ultimately the association cannot be seen to be attempting to influence specific commercial policies. It would look as if we were colluding or working collectively on one particular outcome. Having
IATA has advised that remittance periods will be kept in accordance to the current BSP Calendars. Extending the periods will disadvantage both Airlines and Agents. Agents refunds would be delayed if Remittance periods were to be extended.
IATA has advised that a blanket exception to suspend compliance with Resolutions may result in a risky situation impacting Agents and Airlines alike. The BSP needs to receive complete remittances from Agents as well as negative settlements from Airlines to be able to settle all payments, including balances due to Agents.
No. However, IATA is considering giving travel agents some leeway - up to three days outside of the normal cycle - to make the payments. Obviously, if you are planning to use that service, you will need to request it. IATA has advised that in case an Agent’s Remittance to the BSP is delayed, the Agency Administrator will exercise his/her authority and, on a case-by-case
We were advised that when IATA finds that an airline may be in financial difficulty, they would request for that airline to put up additional guarantees to protect the money within the BSP. I have suggested to IATA that they need to take a long hard look at the policy around business- As-usual when we are not operating in business-as-usual times. So, I have suggested
In our survey, we asked you whether you believe that your BSP refunds would exceed forward sales. It is very evident that has already happened and that is going to have a severe impact on your cash flows. Until the end of April, South African travel agents are on a monthly remittance. That means that you are remitting money this month for sales that took
ASATA is working with the government around travel bans; visa requirements. We are liaising with them to know how long they believe this ban will be in place. The government has given us a promise that they will continue without giving a specific timeline. It will continue to review the current travel ban and make decisions based on information that is available to them whether
ASATA’s role is to represent the industry on the Tourism Business Council of South Africa. The TBCSA is our primary channel to government when it comes to lobbying and engaging on issues that affect us. There have been engagements with the Minister of Tourism, and we have used the platform made available to us to engage her directly and indirectly on some of the issues
There are a number of ways travel agents can improve their cash flow. If you're providing a provident fund, contact the provident fund and speak to them about having some sort of deferment of contributions for the next two to three months i. Take those discussions up with medical aid as well. There are probably a number of other areas were your business can minimise
It depends on what was agreed with the customer. If you agreed upfront that a fee would be payable for changes to the booking, you can still charge that fee. If there is no agreement about cancellations, the travel agent can try to conclude a new agreement with the customer for the subsequent cancellation, or deduct it from the refund as part of the reasonable
The short answer is, it will depend on the specific circumstances and employers should get legal advice before you consider it. Here are some guidelines: • You can offer reduced hours, reduced pay or voluntary unpaid leave to all of your employees in an effort to save the business until the crisis ends. If they all agree (and we have seen examples of that already),
Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act provides for the dismissal of employees based on ‘operational requirements’. The Labour Relations Acts defines ‘operational requirements’ as the ’requirements based on the economic, technological, structural or similar needs of an employer’. Section 189 has specific steps an employer is required to follow, many of which require consultation with impacted employees and considering alternatives. If an employer chooses
Many employees who are not ill may have to stay at home nonetheless, because they have: • travelled to a high or medium risk country, • been in contact with someone who is sick, • to look after their children who are home from school, • pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable and are staying home as a precaution. It is also possible that the
If the employee is sick for more than seven days and does not have any paid sick leave left, the employee can claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. For more information on workforce and labour regulations, please click here.
If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 (confirmed by a medical doctor) or if they have symptoms and get booked off by a doctor, normal sick leave applies. The employee will be required to produce a medical certificate from their doctor confirming the employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus or is too sick to work. For more information on workforce and labour regulations,
South Africa has 72 ports of entry – 53 of which are land ports of entry. Of these, 11 are airports and eight are sea ports. These were evaluated individually, and it was decided that: None of the 11 airports are going to be interfered with. These will run as normal, but with heightened activity and vigilance by port health authorities and immigration officials. Of
Government has stated that all travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing. Travellers who must present themselves for testing should phone the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) toll-free hotline (080 002 9999), or a nearby healthcare facility to receive advice on what to do and where to go for testing. Despite the
For any queries regarding flights, cancellations, and refunds, the airline in question should be the first contact. The aviation industry is changing quickly as the situation unfolds, and airlines will have the most up-to-date, accurate information when it comes to their own policies. It depends on the airline, but in most cases, the passenger should be given a full refund if the airline has cancelled
All entry, regardless of compliance with visa requirements, of foreign travellers with ordinary passports, travelling from or transiting through high-risk countries, is prohibited until further notice. In a case where some of the passengers from high-risk countries arrive in South Africa, connecting or transiting to other neighbouring countries, the airport authorities, port health, together with the immigration team will conduct a robust assessment and do
South Africa will renew expired visas – long or short – for nationals specifically due to COVID-19 reasons for up to July 2020 after which this will be evaluated. In the spirit of international solidarity, if South Africa is asked by another country to safeguard its citizens – in the same way, South African citizens were retained in China – South Africa will not refuse
South Africa believes that the only mechanism to deny access to high-risk travellers is by imposing visa requirements, even for those nationalities which have not traditionally required visas to visit South Africa. Further to requiring a visa, South Africa will also review the Advanced Passenger Process (APP) lists of passengers prior to the arrival of passengers by air and flag any potential cases. The flight
It is important to note that while France was not on President Cyril Ramaphosa's list of high-risk countries, this was an oversight and it is certainly on the list that South Africa has included in its travel ban. The high-risk countries have been designated by the World Health Organization, not the South African Government. The Swiss Confederation (Switzerland) was also added to the list of
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 15 March 2020 that the government would impose the following travel restrictions: A travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, the USA, the UK and China from 18 March 2020. Travellers from medium-risk countries – Hong Kong, Singapore and Portugal – will be required to undergo high-intensity screening upon