The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) says temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) payments to domestic workers have been below expectations.
In a statement on Friday, UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping encouraged employers who have not applied for the relief on behalf of their workers to do so.
He said, “Between April 16 and 17 June, we paid a total of 35,374 domestic workers a collective amount of R128,904,782. Even taking into account that live-in domestic workers are back at work already, it seems that we have not done enough to give proper sustenance to this vulnerable group.
“We have done something, but it may not be good enough. We have been, and continue to encourage employers to lodge claims on behalf of their workers, particularly workers in vulnerable sectors like domestic workers and farming to apply for May relief payments. And again, based on the figures, it seems not enough people have taken the opportunity to apply.”
R23b paid since April
UIF TERS payments for May have totalled R5.8 billion so far. These payments have benefited around 1.4 million workers, with the Compensation Fund (CF) also receiving 448 claims.
The Fund said it has paid over R23 billion to 3.6 million workers represented by 322,422 employers since April.
“Of significance is the continued direct payment of workers even though the claims were lodged by their employers. A total of 154,310 workers have been paid relief benefits directly to their bank accounts to the tune of R679 million since April to date, which means that the workers get the relief payment much quicker,” it added.
Maruping nevertheless expressed concern that continued job losses will put a strain on the Fund’s liquidity. Job losses are still expected even though more South Africans will be returning to work under advanced level 3 announced this week.
“This is a good time for employers to do right and declare and contribute for workers to the UIF. If ever UIF demonstrated how critical it is to the lives of workers, the contribution that it has made during the lockdown should be evidence enough. We hope those companies that have not declared their workers will do right and declare all workers,” he said.
Some companies ‘not passing on payments’
Besides some employers not applying for TERS for their workers, others are allegedly not passing on the payments once they receive them.
In a statement earlier this week, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said auditors have uncovered instances where some employers are “seeking to enrich themselves.”
He explained, “It is alleged that there are companies that have not paid the workers what is due to them. We are aware of some companies allegedly loaning employees the money and that is not legal.
“We are also aware of other companies that are allegedly paying part of the money and not the full amount, as well as companies using the money for something else other than the intended purpose. If all these allegations are true, we appeal to companies to do the right thing still.”