The government has extended the COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) payments to 15 September, 2020.
In a statement on Monday, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said the decision followed negotiations at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).
He said, “With the lockdown for some industries extended to September 15, it only makes sense for us to continue to shield workers from the worst effects of the pandemic by extending the relief payments which have placed much-needed cash into the hands of ordinary workers in this country.”
March to July period
This UIF TERS latest news means that the UIF will continue receiving applications for the period between March and July 2020. However, no further applications will be accepted after 15 September, 2020.
“The receipt of COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for August 2020 to 15 September, 2020 shall close on 30 October, 2020, and no further applications shall be accepted beyond that date,” Nxesi added.
The Minister said the UIF has paid out more than R41 billion in TERS benefits so far. The payments have been made through more than 825,000 employers.
The extension will come as a welcome relief to millions of workers who may still face uncertainty about their jobs and sources of income.
Concerns have however been raised about payment delays as well as reports of alleged fraud. In a report released last week, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu uncovered startling irregularities in the administration of UIF TERS.
Makwetu said his audit had discovered TERS payments made to deceased people, prisoners, people below the legal employment age of 15 and people who had provided invalid ID numbers.
His report stated, “Individuals below the legal age of employment of 15 years were paid by the UIF. A total amount of R224,677 was paid for 53 applications. Individuals who were indicated as deceased per the Home Affairs database received TERS benefits totalling R441,144.
“A total amount of R169,900 was paid to individuals who were indicated as being in prison according to the Department of Correctional Services database.”
UIF payment status check
To perform a UIF payment status check, applicants need to visit the official UIF COVID-19 TERS website link: https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/paymentStatusJsp. They would need to provide their applicable lockdown period and ID number.
UIF TERS payment status contact details: Applicants can call the UIF call centre at 0800 030 007.