UIF to open extended TERS benefits applications in first week of March

Marsha Bronkhorst. Image credit: Facebook/UIF

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) aims to open applications for extended temporary employer/employee relief scheme (TERS) benefits in the first week of March.

This is according to Acting UIF Commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst, who issued a statement on Wednesday saying NEDLAC had endorsed UIF’s proposals on how to extend UIF TERS benefits to sectors still affected by lockdown regulations.

2 payment iterations

She said NEDLAC’s social partners have agreed to two payment iterations in the new extension – the first for the period between 16 October to 31 December 2020 and the second from 1 January to 15 March 2021.

“We aim to open the system for processing of applications for the first period (16 October to 31 December 2020) by the first week of March 2021,” Bronkhorst said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension of UIF TERS benefits for some sectors during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament last week.

“We have also decided to extend the COVID-19 TERS benefit until 15 March 2021 only for those sectors that have not been able to open and operate,” Ramaphosa said.

“The conditions of this extension and the sectors to be included will be announced after consultations with social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).”

Sectors covered by UIF TERS extension

Bronkhorst said UIF’s proposals outlined plans for employees with co-morbidities and those aged above 60 who cannot be reasonably accommodated at work. They also addressed how employees who have had to self-isolate or quarantine can claim income replacement.

“The UIF confirmed that sectors ranging from tourism to hospitality and sectors involved in the manufacturing, sale, dispensing, distribution and transportation of liquor would be covered,” the Fund stated.

“The social partners, working with the UIF, will ensure that sub-sectors and other business activities in certain value chains will be included in the list.”

The government introduced UIF TERS in March last year to help cushion businesses and workers from lockdown restrictions taken to combat COVID-19.

To date, it has paid more than R58 billion in wage support to over 4.5 million workers.

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