Employment and Labour eases lockdown burden with timely relief payments
The Department of Employment and Labour is continuing to ease the burden, not only of the lockdown but the financial strain attached to it through timely disbursements of relief benefits to qualifying workers.
So far the Department through its entity, the Unemployment Insurance Fund has eased the burden of 862 550 workers by paying COVID-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme to the tune of just over R3-billion (R3 283 896 482.46) since April 16 2020.
We know that these payments made to employees through 59 161 employers who have claimed on their behalf have not only positively affected more than the 862 550 workers, but also provided much-needed relief to their families and extended families. The payments are designed to ease the pain of the salary shortfall as most companies are closed because of the lockdown.
These payments are over and above the ordinary benefit payments that the Fund has been paying to qualifying beneficiaries.
In this period, the fund has paid:
- Unemployment benefits to 43 878 claimants totalling R717 631 099.31
- A sum of R134 555 831.12 to 8227 mothers on maternity leave
- Benefits to 1645 dependants which amounts to R26 911 166.22, and
- Illness and adoption benefits for 1098 individuals totalling R17 940 777.49
This means a total amount of R897 038 874.14 has been paid out.
Despite these payouts, the Department still feels that a lot more employers should be availing the funds to ease the burden not only to the businesses but also to the employees who are at home.
“We have at least 1.8-million employers on our database with the payroll to over 8-million workers. So far 59 168 employers have accessed the funds. We are still holding in abeyance just over a billion rand (R1 138 604 496.33) in funds that workers could potentially be paid depending on the information that still needs to be furnished to the fund.
“It is important that employers log in online and access our easy to follow claiming procedures at https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/ . We particularly appeal to the employers of domestic workers to ensure that they are not left behind and inconvenienced as a result of the lockdown,” said Minister Mr Thulas Nxesi.
Any company that was a contributor to the UIF before March 15 should apply as those that registered after that date does not qualify. The UIF exists as a social safety net and it would be sad if workers lost out on potential relief benefits that could possibly make their lives a little better during this difficult period,” Minister Nxesi said.
The Minister also thanked the bargaining councils who have also been instrumental in ensuring that workers in their different sectors are not left behind. Some of these bargaining councils are:
- The KwaZulu-Natal Clothing Industry whose 174 employers represent 21 758 workers who have been paid a total of R28 287 145.60
- The Bargaining Council for Textile Industry who claimed for their 67 employers representing 2 513 employees and they have been paid R4 600 000.00, and
- Clothing Industry Bargaining Council who have been paid R13 600 000.00 on behalf of 7 404 workers represented by 154 employers
If the application is complete, accurate and valid, at best the Department will process the payment within 24 hours and at worst within 48 hours. All employees will be checked against UIF systems and if the employee is not registered, the application will be returned back requesting additional information from the employer.
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