The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will start opening and processing the July/August COVID-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits applications from next week, while winding down outstanding claims.
This follows the signing of the new Direction on an extended period of benefits by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on 11 August 2020.
According to the new Direction, an employer or employee may claim COVID-19 TERS benefits for the extension period, starting from 1 July 2020 until 15 August 2020.
The new directives cover the following categories of 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; and
- 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.
“As with previous claim processes, to apply in the new period, employers are required to upload similar documentation that include signed approval or acceptance letter, bank confirmation letter, proof of payment to employees and refund to the UIF – if applicable,” said UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping.
In keeping with strict governance principles, Maruping said they 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.
“UIF will issue a letter to employers who have applied for COVID-19 TERS benefits outlining the process to be followed when making applications for the extension period, and will also update the Frequently Asked Questions document to serve as a quick reference for applicants,” Maruping said.
The updated FAQs, new Direction and explanatory memo will be available on the department’s website www.labour.gov.za
The New Direction and the extension have been subject to robust discussion with social partners at National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), and they have agreed that the cut-off date for the application window for April and May will be 15 September 2020.
“All new applications for these periods must be uploaded on or before this date to qualify for processing and payment. Existing claims will remain open for corrections and finalisation beyond this date.
“Employers who experience technical difficulty in creating or accessing their profile should immediately contact the department’s 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,” Maruping explained.