Answers to more of your questions about payments

UIF pays more Ters benefits but many still waiting for relief

21% of employers still have not been paid April benefits

The struggle for thousands awaiting temporary relief from the Unemployment Insurance Fund continued this week despite evidence that more employees have been paid.

There were long queues at the UIF offices when they reopened as many employees have not yet been paid their UIF Ters monies. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NARDUS ENGELBRECHT
There were long queues at the UIF offices when they reopened as many employees have not yet been paid their UIF Ters monies. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NARDUS ENGELBRECHT

The National Employers Association of South Africa’s latest survey of its employer members released on Monday shows that 21% of employers who applied still have not received their April UIF Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (Ters) benefits.

This is an improvement from two weeks ago when 32% of employers reported that benefits had not been paid for their employees.

The results from this week’s survey show that among the 79% of employers who were paid April benefits, only 53% were paid in full, the association says.

Only 11% of employers have been paid their May UIF Ters monies but only just under half of them (49%) were not paid in full.

Foreigners continued to email Sowetan to say they had not been paid despite UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping saying in a statement last week that R275m had been paid to 65,823 foreigners.

He did, however, admit that  the process is taking longer because passport numbers rather than ID numbers are used to capture foreigners' details and these numbers have to be verified with the Department of Home Affairs and at times with the South African Revenue Service.

The commissioner said to speed up the processes, the UIF has appealed to employers and bargaining councils who are applying on behalf of foreign workers to supply not only their name, passport and work permit number but also proof of how the employee was declared at UIF and/or SARS; and three months’ bank statements showing payment of salary to that staff member.

How to check on a UIF TERS benefit

If you want to check on the status of a UIF Ters claim, visit the the UIF website. Look for “My payment status”. Enter the Captcha code and your ID number. 

If an application has been lodged for you, you should be told the status of that application – if a benefit has been paid, you will see “Payment processed”, the amount and the date on which it was paid. If you have not received your amount paid to you, you need to take the matter up with your employer.

Unfortunately, the UIF site does not say to whom the benefits have been paid – they may have been paid to your employer or to the bargaining council for the industry in which you work.

Your Ters benefit questions answered

Sowetan Money asked Rob Cooper, chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of SA, to answer more of our readers’ common questions about the benefits. 

Q: My employer has claimed from the UIF, but says it has only received a small amount for the whole staff. Is that possible and what is the way forward?

A: Assuming that you have an accurate idea of what the value of the Ters benefit should be, and if the benefit paid by the UIF is lower than what you expect, there are two possible reasons:

  • The value of the benefit is determined partly by the number of days in the shutdown period that were declared in the application for the benefit - the more days, the bigger the value of the benefit.
  • If your employer paid you any “top-up” remuneration during the shutdown period, and declared it as it should have in its application for the benefit, then this can result in a reduction to the benefit amount.

Q: I have not worked since the lockdown began and although my employer has promised I will get the UIF Ters benefit, I have not received any payment. What can I do?

A: The approval and payment of the Ters benefits for April was understandably a slow process as a result of the UIF developing, and changing, a new system under pressure.  This has improved since the benefit application process was re-opened on May 28.

If your employer is well-intentioned, and has genuinely applied for the benefit, you should give this more time. If however, you think that your employer has not applied for the benefit, you can now claim directly from the fund in cases where your employer has not registered with the fund; it has not declared its employees to the fund each month; or it has not paid UIF contributions to the SA Revenue Service when it should have.

Q: Is the UIF Ters benefit a once-off thing?

A: Yes, the Covid-19 Ters benefit will only be paid within the period that is declared a National Disaster.

Q: I was laid off during May on the no-work-no-pay policy. My salary was R7,500. How much can I expect to get from the UIF and when as my employer has applied for me?

A: All employees who earn less than R8,015 a month can expect to receive a monthly Ters benefit of R3,500.

Q: My employer applied for the UIF Ters benefit for the employees. The payment has been processed but my employer says it is for the loan and he needs the money back. He hasn’t applied for May but we are not working. Only a few workers are working this month.

A: In terms of the rules applicable from 28 May, if your employer paid you an “Advance on the Ters benefit”, then when the fund pays the Ters benefit at a later stage, your employer is allowed to deduct the advance from the Ters benefit and pay you the balance.

Q: I earn R5,500 a month and the UIF Ters benefit link shows the UIF processed an amount of R4,027.45. How do they calculate it?

A: The amount of R4,047.45 is the equivalent of the minimum of R3,500 for a month, but that was claimed for a shutdown period of 35 days, being the period from 27 March until 30 April.

Q: I am paid fortnightly R2,900. My employer applied for the Ters benefit on April 19 but we have not received a cent. I have been borrowing money from people whose workplaces didn't shut down. Now I see our government is talking about R3,500 from the UIF. Is that all we can get after this long time?

A: Firstly, you must follow up with your employer to find out the status of the claim for the Ters benefit. It should have been paid by now, so there must be a problem somewhere.

Secondly, if your normal monthly pay is R8,019 or less, you will be granted the minimum benefit value of R3,500. This means that someone who normally earns R4,000 will also be getting R3,500.

Thirdly, the length of time that you’ve been contributing to the UIF has no impact on the value of the Ters benefit.

Q: My salary before deductions was R9,500. How much will I get from UIF Covid-19 relief?

A: If your employer did not pay you any top-up remuneration during a month of 30 days, then you can expect a benefit of R3,968.70.

Q: My employer applied the first time for the UIF Ters benefit. Now there’s an option for the benefit to be paid to the employee, employer or the bargaining council. If I update it to pay the employee, will the UIF pay directly to me because you can add the employee’s banking details?

A: Yes, that is correct. 

Q: If I earn R6,810.49 a month and during the April lockdown I earned R6,101.66, how much am I supposed to get from UIF Ters and how is it calculated?

A: In your example, the Ters benefit value for a 30-day month is R708,33.

Q: This month I worked for two weeks and only got the relief fund money. Was my boss supposed to pay me for two weeks and claim from the fund for the balance? Or was he supposed to pay me with that relief fund benefit? 

A: If you worked as normal for two weeks then by law your employer must pay you your normal remuneration for that period. If your employer didn’t pay you for your services rendered during those two weeks, then you can take this to the CCMA.

If you didn’t work for the rest of the month because of the Covid-19 shutdown, then your employer can claim the Ters benefit for the rest of the month, and pay that to you when the fund pays your employer

Q: I earn R12,000 a month. Last month, my employer paid us R2,300 and said that is what the UIF paid. Is that right?

A: If your employer claimed for a full month of 30 days, then the Ters benefit is R4,809.30.