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About UIF Claim
The coronavirus crisis and lockdown have paralyzed businesses and rendered many South Africans jobless.
Enter the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), which should provide some assistance to people in the formal sector during this difficult time.
Everyone who works more than 24 hours per week shall contribute 1% of their earnings to the UIF, which will be taken from their paychecks and turned over by their employer.
In South Africa, 1.5 million businesses contribute to the UIF on behalf of their employees.
When a contributing worker becomes unemployed, is unable to work due to illness, or goes on maternity leave, they may be eligible for UIF benefits. You can also file a claim if your employer decides to limit your working hours (this is known as a “reduced working time” claim).
The government has also launched a new coronavirus benefit aimed at workers affected by the outbreak.
Who Can Claim From The UIF At This Time?
If you lost your job, you can file a claim with the UIF for unemployment benefits; if your employer cut your working hours, you can also file a claim.
However, if your company placed you on unpaid leave during this time, or if you were temporarily laid off – or if a company could only afford to pay a portion of your salary – you may be eligible for a special payout from the UIF under the Covid-19 Temporary Relief scheme, also known as the special Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS).
To obtain funds to pay employees, a company must apply to the UIF. It will have to demonstrate that the lockdown had a significant impact on it. If authorized, the UIF will pay out money for up to three months per worker.
Unlike conventional UIF benefits, which are paid to employees, the money may first be distributed to the corporation, which will then pay the employees. (However, this arrangement has not yet been finalized.)
In addition, unlike standard UIF benefits, you do not need to have enough “credits” with the fund to receive the money. The standard UIF regulation states that you can receive one day’s salary for every four days of employment (up to certain maximums). However, this is disregarded in favor of the new coronavirus benefit. Payments will be made to all employees at authorized companies.
To be eligible for the benefits, businesses must have been registered with the UIF prior to the commencement of the crisis.
How much will I get?
The sums paid will be a proportion of an employee’s pay, ranging from 38 percent (highest earners) to 60 percent (lowest earners) (lowest earners)
You will be paid a maximum of R6 730 per month. The sliding scale ends at R17 702: all workers earning more than this will only receive the maximum benefit of 38% (R6 730). The minimal sum will not be less than the minimum wage (about R3 500).
It will operate on the same basis as maternity benefits. If a corporation can still afford to pay employees a portion of their compensation, TERS money will “top up” these payments – but employees cannot earn more than 100% of their present wages.
Currently, the Ters payment will cover the five-week lockdown period.
How do I claim UIF?
If you are unemployed or have had your hours reduced, you can claim directly from the UIF. The UIF offices are closed, but you can register online at https://www.ufiling.co.za/. From the home page, click on the ‘Activate my uFiling account’ button and follow the on-screen instructions. You will receive a case number to track your progress. Alternatively you can email [email protected] for guidance.
For the coronavirus benefit, you can’t apply – your employer has to. Businesses have to apply online on the Ters platform to register their companies for the payout. The UIF hotline for the coronavirus benefit is 012 337 1997.
Confirm with your employer that they have registered, and if they haven’t, notify the Department of Labor and the UIF directly.
Recently, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi stated unequivocally that the government will take a tough stance if it is discovered that enterprises that are not paying their employees are not claiming from the UIF under the new plan.
“Workers should not be penalised because of negligent bosses,” Nxesi said, asking enterprises to choose this choice in order to mitigate the impact of the lockdown on employees.
When will you get the money?
Currently, the processing time for approved unemployment claims is 15 working days. The timetable for the additional perks is unknown, although several businesses have already been compensated.
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