Our country went into lockdown on midnight 26 March 2020 to stop the spread of the virus together as a nation.
Since President Ramaphosa addressed the nation and announced COVID-19 a national disaster on the 15th of March 2020, uncertainty, concern and fear was spread amongst South African employers and the workforce. We are now in day 2 of lockdown and the uncertainty of what our future hold has not disappeared.
On the 25th of March 2020, a directive by the Minister of Employment and Labour was signed and circulated. The directive is called the COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (C19 TERS).
The purpose of the Directive is to make provision for:
Payment of benefits to the contributors who have lost income as a result of COVID-19
Minimise economic impact of the loss of employment
Avoid contact and to contain the spread
Establish a Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme
Online applications for benefits in order to avoid contact during the national disaster period.
2. COVID-19 Employee / Employer Temporary Relief Scheme (C19 TERS)
Should the employer close its operations for three months or for a lesser period and suffer financial distress, the company shall qualify for the benefit
The benefit is delinked from the UIF’s normal benefit. The rule will apply: the employee will accumulate 1 day for every 4 days worked
The benefit only pay for the cost of salary for employees during the temporary closure
The salary benefit will be capped at R 17 712.00 per month. The employee’s benefit is calculated in terms of the income replacement rate sliding scale (38% - 60%) as per the UI (Act)
Should the employee’s income determined by the income replacement sliding scale fall below minimum wage of the sector, the employee will be paid a replacement income equal to minimum wage of the sector
3. Who qualifies for C19 TERS?
The company must be registered for UIF
The company must comply with the application procedure
The company’s closure must be directly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic
4. Employee illness benefit
Employees who are quarantined for 14 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic as instructed by the authorities, qualified for illness benefit
Confirmation from both the employer and the employee must be submitted together with the application form
If the employee is quarantined for longer than 14 days, a medical certificate from a medical practitioner must be submitted together with a continuation form or payment
5. Application procedure for Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (TERS)
The Minister has announced measures that the Department will put in place under the current special circumstance relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on UIF contributors. The Unemployment Insurance Fund will assist affected workers through existing benefits including Illness, Reduced Work Time, Unemployment and Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits. The Unemployment Insurance Commissioner, after consultation with Unemployment Insurance Executive, has also developed a Corona Virus Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (COVID19TERS) to contribute to the containment of pandemic and its impact. Employer/s that have to enforce lockdown as regulated and who might require financial assistance from the UIF can access information regarding available funding by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1: Employers shall apply by reporting their closure of business via email to email@example.com. An automated response will be received outlying the procedure and required documentation
Letter of Authority, on an official company letterhead granting permission to an individual specified to lodge a claim on behalf of the company
MOA (completion of the agreement between UIF, Bargaining Council (If applicable) and Employer)
Prescribed template that will require critical information from the employer
Evidence/payroll as proof of last three months employee(s) salary(ies)
Confirmation of bank account details in the form of certified latest bank statement
All documents submitted will be subject to verification
Step 2: Submission Process
Submit/transmit all documents as required in Step 1 to UIF via dedicated mailbox: Covid19UIFclaims@labour.gov.za
NB: If the spreadsheet is complete; valid and accurate, it will dumped into an automated calculator to produce the benefit amount due to the beneficiaries and the total amount to be transferred to the employer or bargaining council or whichever method agreed.
Step 3: Conclusion
Conclusion of the MOA between parties. Payment will only be effected after MOA sign off between the Fund and the Employer/Bargaining Council (if applicable).
The UIF will provide a dedicated line that will assist all employers / employees / Bargaining Councils on COVID19TERS. The contact number is 012 337 1997.
6. Commencement of the Directive
The directive shall commence immediately from date of publication (25 March 2020)
The directive remains in operation for a period of three months or until the directive is withdrawn by the minister
We may be in lockdown but we have not shutdown.
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