Applications for the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) will reopen in March. This comes after the President announced that the relief scheme would be extended for sectors affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.
After much anticipation, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has confirmed that applications will be processed by the first week of March.
“We aim to open the system for processing of applications for the first period (16 October to 31 December 2020) by the first week of March 2021,” said the UIF in a statement.
The UIF will announce when applications reopen, as it is currently using this time to work out the details of the extension and who can apply.
There have been proposals made about allowing employees to claim income replacement if they had to self-isolate or quarantine.
“These also include identification of which sectors would benefit as well as how many payment iterations or tranches there will be. The UIF confirmed that sectors ranging from tourism to hospitality and sectors involved in the manufacturing, sale, dispensing, distribution and transportation of liquor would be covered,” said the UIF.
“The social partners, working with the UIF, will ensure that sub-sectors and other business activities in certain value chains will be included in the list.”
The UIF has already started organising a system to accommodate the process of making payments.
The previous cycle of UIF TERS payments in 2020 came to a total of R58 billion. Millions of workers benefited from these payments.
However, some claims were made fraudulently in 2020. This was discovered after the UIF decided to audit TERS payments.
UIF Spokesperson, Makhosonke Buthelezi said irregular payments slipped through the cracks because the UIF system was not linked to other databases.
This made it difficult for the UIF to verify information through Home Affairs or Sassa.
"Out of our attempt to make sure no employee is left behind, we said even those who were not contributing that we don't know of, their employers can apply for the UIF. The only thing that we wanted was for them to declare the relationship between the employer and the employee. I think that's where we opened the floodgates which might've led to us paying people who were not supposed to be paid." said Buthelezi.
The audits began in December 2020 and will continue to take place over 6 months, or more if more audits need to be done.
The UIF has encouraged employees to report employers withholding payments or anyone suspected of fraudulent activities against the UIF.
Reports can be made on the fraud hotline: 0800 212 799, [email protected], or SMS line 30916.