Last month, almost 700,000 applications from companies for special Covid-19 payouts from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) failed – because their employees were not registered with the fund.
More than 113,000 businesses submitted Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) claims for 697,418 employees who are not on the UIF data base.
The companies need to register the employees with the UIF before they can claim. The employees would have received R3 billion if they were registered.
The UIF says it is concerned about the high number of undeclared workers on whose behalf employers are putting in claims.
“For us to pay any claim we must find the employee on our system and it is the employer’s duty to declare the employee to us,” says Makhosonke Buthelezi, director of communication and marketing at the UIF.
The applications for May’s TERS payments opened two weeks ago, and so far there have been unsuccessful applications for at least 76,599 workers who do not appear on the database.
Last month, the rules changed for who is eligible for the TERS payments. While at first only companies who paid UIF contributions could get the payouts for their workers, now employees whose employers didn’t register for UIF can also apply for payments, directly from the UIF. Employees who are registered for UIF, but whose employers didn’t apply for the TERS payments, can now also apply directly with the UIF.
The UIF has paid out more than R20 billion in TERS payments to 3.5 million workers since the start of April. Prominent companies received money, including Sasol, Mr Price, Damelin, a number of Bidvest businesses, some Protea hotels and Engen service stations, as well as individual Spur, Wimpy and McDonald’s restaurants.
Workers who are put on leave, have been laid off temporarily, or whose employers can’t afford to pay their full salaries due to the coronavirus crisis are entitled to the TERS payouts.
The maximum a worker will get is R6,730 a month (if you earn more than R17,700) – while the minimum amount is R3,500.
The TERS payments were supposed to run only to the end of June, but it is not yet clear whether the payouts will be extended.
The Department of Employment and Labour also said on Tuesday that government’s Compensation Fund has received 212 Covid-19 related claims, with most coming from nurses in the private sector.
The department’s labour centres, which accept UIF and Compensation Fund applications, reopened on Tuesday for the first time since the start of lockdown.