The Department of Employment and Labour says thousands of employees, who may qualify for COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits, may not receive their due.
This, according to the department, is because companies have either not applied on their behalf or have not corrected the information to enable the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to pay timeously.
The UIF is concerned that as of 24 April 2020, a total of 220 768 employees – who collectively may be entitled to as much as R927 694 773 in benefits – have their payments delayed, pending verification by the employers, as some of the beneficiaries either do not appear on the UIF’s system or the information given is insufficient.
“When we receive applications from employers, we verify the information to ensure that the employees they are claiming for appear on our system. When we identify inconsistencies, we send the enquiry to the employer for verification,” said UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping.
In total, over 77 000 employers have submitted applications. After verification, the UIF paid R2.2 billion for COVID-19 relief benefits and R838 699 117.41 for normal benefits from 16 April 2020 to date.
Companies that are facing distress and contribute to the UIF should apply through https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/ for assistance. However, companies that were not registered with the UIF by 15 March 2020 may not apply, as they will not qualify.
The fund emphasised that all businesses with employees, from spaza shops to hair salons, who are registered with the UIF, can apply for this relief. Employers of domestic workers should also apply for the relief, as domestic workers are included in the UIF.
Unfortunately, commission earners and freelance employees are not contributors to the UIF and therefore, they do not qualify for this benefit.
The money is being paid either through employers, bargaining councils, employer associations or directly to employees.
Maruping said while the employer has the right to let employees stay at home for the period of the lockdown, they still need to assist them to apply for the COVID-19 TERS benefits, so that employees do not lose income.
While the UIF remains concerned with companies that refuse to claim on behalf of their employees, it welcomes the effort of all those companies who have heeded the call and claimed on behalf of their employees.
The UIF encourages companies that encounter challenges with applications to contact their offices. – SAnews.gov.za