It is day two of level three lockdown, and while some South Africans are heading back to the workplace, many are still not able to do so. It is part of the reason why government announced a COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) or UIF COVID-19 fund a couple of months ago, in a bid to assist those struggling to keep their business afloat or pay its employees at this time.

Thus far, the UIF COVID-19 fund has paid out a reported R16.5 billion, according to the Department of Employment and Labour, which issued a statement on the progress of the process earlier this week.

Said statement also confirmed that an estimated R1 billion had been paid out Monday, with it helping roughly 252 378 workers represented by 26 648 employers. Added to this was the payment of R331 million for 79 507 workers represented by 13 503 employers, as part of the outstanding claims for April.

The department says it is now on track to meet the requirements moving forward, following some initial teething problems in disbursing funds.

“Payments this time around should be a lot quicker as the UIF already has the details for most of the claimants,” it explained.

“As we indicated when we addressed the country last Friday, we are committed to ensuring that to the extent possible, the department through the UIF plays its role in shielding workers from the worst effects of the pandemic,” added Minister Thulas Nxesi.

“We are doing this by providing cash payments to workers who may have found themselves in the lurch as a result of lockdown. The payments have been significant in saving at least 3-million workers from poverty,” he continued.

The department has also been working on a new submission system to make the re-submission of claims easier, specifically in cases where the information has not changed.

If the details have changed, employers will need to recapture employee details on the system, with the following documentation required:

  • Proof of TERS payment to employees for April such as electronic bank statement, a letter of acknowledgement of payment between employer and employee (Mandatory),
  • Re – upload employer bank confirmation letter or latest bank statement,
  • Signed approval or acceptance letter from the UIF for April payments between employer and employee, and
  • Proof of refund to the UIF attached if applicable.

“I have been assured that we would realise significant improvements in terms of payment turnaround time from claim submission. Already, with all the information supplied, the UIF was able to pay some claims in 24 hours at best or 48 at worst which is far more from when we started around April 16,” concludes Nxesi.

We hope that this is indeed the case, especially as this UIF COVID-19 fund will be a lifeline for many during lockdown and into the future.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]