The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will open COVID-19 temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) applications for July and August on Monday, 17 August, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi finally signed directions on the extended period of TERS benefits on Tuesday (11 August), paving the way for applications.
UIF TERS July and August applications
The extension period for UIF TERS July and August applications starts from 1 July and ends on 15 August, 2020. UIF said the new directions cover employees whose employers are:
- Not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations.
- Unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable workers, such as working from home or taking special measures under the OHS Direction to protect them.
- Unable to make use of their services because of operational requirements caused by compliance with the Regulations and Directions such as rostering, staggering working hours, short time and the introduction of shift systems.
Similarly, the required documents are unchanged and include a signed approval or acceptance letter, bank confirmation letter, proof of payment to employees and refund to the UIF, if applicable.
UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping said, “In keep with strict governance principles, we will still subject payments to bank verification prior to releasing the funds into the applicant’s accounts.
“The immediate past has taught us that even under the pandemic, criminals are at large and looking to benefit through their nefarious means. We have an obligation to do everything in our power to ensure that that funds are not paid into the incorrect accounts.”
Employers will receive a letter from UIF outlining the application process for the extension period. In addition, the Department of Employment and Labour will update its frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) section on its website.
The Fund said according to an agreement reached at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), the cut-off date for April and May applications will be 15 September, 2020.
Maruping said, “Existing claims will remain open for corrections and finalisation beyond this date. Employers who experience technical difficulty in creating or accessing their profiles should immediately contact the Call Centre 0800 030 007 for assistance.
“A reference number will be issued that will enable resolution follow-up and, in the event of non-resolution by application cut-off date, it will serve as evidence of efforts to comply within the time-frame.”
The decision to open UIF TERS applications for July and August follows pressure from the Democratic Alliance (DA), which issued a statement on Tuesday calling on Nxesi to issue directions.
DA MP Michael Cardo also cited a survey by the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA), which found that nearly 60 percent of employers have not received their June TERS benefits.