The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) gives short-term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of maternity, adoption and parental leave, or illness. It also provides relief to the dependents of a deceased contributor.
What is the Unemployment Insurance Fund (“UIF”)?
- The UIF is a fund created to lighten the effects of unemployment for a short period of time.
- An employer and their employee must each contribute 1% of the employee’s salary to the UIF monthly (“contributions”) in exchange for UIF payments (“benefits”). It is the employer’s responsibility to register an employee and pay these contributions over to the UIF.
- When an employee (“contributor”) becomes unemployed or is unable to work, they may claim benefits from the UIF. Also, when an employee dies, the dependents of that employee may claim benefits from the UIF.
If an employee was injured or becomes sick while at work, then they are eligible for a worker's compensation benefits.
Injured workers do not only face challenges that impact on their functioning, but in some instances, they get caught up in a perpetual cycle of poverty due to loss of income.
The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, No. 130 of 1993 was established and thus provides compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries and diseases.
The Act also makes provision for a minimum assessment to ensure the injury or illness is not less than the administration costs incurred.
In the case of a person that was not injured in their workplace, then there are other benefits that they will need to make use of such as sick leave days during this time and when they return to work.
What are the types of benefits that may be claimed from the UIF?
- Unemployment benefits
- Illness benefits
- Maternity benefits
- Adoption benefits
- Dependant benefits
- If an employee loses part of their income, while being employed, due to reduced working hours, they may claim benefits from the UIF.
- An employee is paid benefits in accordance with a benefit scale determined by the Minister of Labour, taking into account the employee’s monthly income earned.
Are there employees not entitled to claim from the UIF?
- The following employers and employees are not covered by the law relating to unemployment and may not claim from the UIF:
- an employee that works less than 24 hours a month, or
- independent contractors.
- Learners, foreign employees and employees working for the State (public servants) may also claim UIF.
To qualify for UIF, you must register as a work seeker and apply as soon as you become unemployed or within six months of the termination of your employment.
It is equally important to note that you can only apply for and receive UIF benefits if you have been contributing to the UIF while you were employed.
You cannot claim if you have resigned, been suspended or absconded from work. You may claim if the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) considers the resignation as constructive dismissal.
UIF claims can either be submitted at a labour centre or through the uFiling website online.
You will then be notified regarding the outcome of your claim after it has been processed. Benefits are paid based on the contributor's available credits.