Government reopens lockdown financial support for South Africa, with key changes – what you need to know
Employment and Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi has issued a new directive that will allow the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to implement a third extension of the Covid-19 TERS benefit.
The UIF will open the system for claims from July 19, 2021 and begin payments from July 26, 2021, the department said in a statement Friday evening.
“However, there is one major condition – that payments are, for the most part, made directly to workers’ bank accounts and not, as has happened before, through their employers – but employers would still be required to claim on their behalf, “It said.
The ministry said this third phase will bring relief to the following categories of workers:
- Workers who were unable to work from March 16, 2021, due to level 1, 2 and 3 restrictions preventing gatherings of a certain number of people – such as in the entertainment industry;
- Workers who have been and / or are still affected by the level 4 restrictions that began on June 28, 2021;
- Workers who were unable to work due to being over 60 or having co-morbidities and were unable to work during the period, as well as those who have / had to self-isolate or self-isolate in quarantine.
The period covered by the management will end on July 25, 2021.
Background and details
The management follows Minister Nxesi’s announcement three weeks ago that the ministry intended to extend benefits to sectors affected by the adjusted Alert Level 4 restrictions.
This point was further substantiated when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced to the nation on July 11, 2021 that the UIF had entered into negotiations with the social partners of NEDLAC to deal with the difficulties faced by employees who lost income under the level 4 restrictions.
After intense deliberations with the social partners in Nedlac, the UIF has agreed to open the window of phase 3 of the TERS Covid to cover the period from March 16, 2021 to July 25, 2021,
An important change in management is that the UIF will pay employees directly, unless otherwise decided at the discretion of the UIF commissioner.
The application process and required information or documents are the same as for previous extensions, except for processing payments directly into employee accounts.
“It is therefore crucial that employers provide valid and accurate details about their employees, including valid ID numbers and bank accounts,” said lawyer Mzie Yawa, acting UIF commissioner.
While direct payment to employee bank accounts remains the preferred method of payment, the UIF is aware of cases where this may be difficult.
In such cases and upon presentation of sufficient proof by the employer, funds may be transferred to the employer’s account at the discretion of the UIF.
âWe have learned from the previous phases that some unscrupulous employers have not advanced funds to their employees and it is for this reason that we have opted for this method of payment.
âAs a result of the workers’ non-payment, the UIF and the whole department were inundated with numerous complaints because the workers could see in the system that funds had been released but had not been paid by their workers. employers who have maintained the Covid TERS. funds for themselves, âYawa said.
Further operational details will be contained in a letter to be sent directly to employers and the letter along with the guidelines will be available both on the TERS portal and the Job and work site.
Read: 3 lockdown scenarios for South Africa – and where things are going right now