R11 billion disbursed in UIF COVID-19 benefits

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The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has in the past month disbursed R11 billion in benefits to over two million employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

A total of 161 567 companies launched claims on behalf of their workers over the course of the last month.

The funds were disbursed through the COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

This method of paying out was borne out of an agreement reached at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) which represents workers through unions, employers and the community.

In a statement on Monday, the Department of Employment and Labour said several companies and individuals have expressed appreciation at the work of the UIF during a time of financial distress.

In a testimonial letter, the Metair Group of companies expressed appreciation for the department’s efforts in paying relief benefits.

The intervention saw Metair subsidiaries pay almost 7 000 employees TERS benefits for April.

The Metair group consists of companies such as Smiths Manufacturing, Smiths Plastics, trading as Automould, Supreme Springs, ATE, HESTO Harnesses, Lumotech, First National Batteries, DENSO Sales South Africa and UNITRADE.

UIF Commissioner, Teboho Maruping, paid tribute to the Fund’s employees and their commitment to being change agents and a force for good during the pandemic.

“We have been at the receiving end of some of the vitriolic comments and I am happy that our colleagues have kept their eyes on the ball and delivered for most of the time. We have been ably led by Minister Thulas Nxesi and the Director General of the Department of Employment and Labour, Thobile Lamati,” said Maruping.

Maruping further urged companies that have not provided the UIF with all the pertinent details to do so. This is so that a further 503 629 workers can benefit from over R2-billion that the department is ready to pay as soon as the details are furnished.

“Taking into account that each breadwinner takes care of at least nine others, this means that millions of beneficiaries have been placed in an undesirable position and have been denied what, by law, should be relief benefits this time,” he said.

In addition, there are 22 781 workers who have also not received their monies because their accounts have failed bank verification.

The UIF is adamant that as soon as correct details are furnished, the benefits would be paid over to recipients. Just over R100-million has been held back pending correct details.

This is over and above the UIF continuing to meet its obligations for ordinary benefits. 

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