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UIF to probe Ters delays to employees despite R21bn paid out

More of your claim questions answered

The Unemployment Insurance Fund is to investigate cases where employers have received a Covid-19 relief benefit and failed to pay it to you.

A police officer is busy keeping UIF claimants in line. UIF says it has paid R21bn to 3.6 million workers. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NARDUS ENGELBRECHT
A police officer is busy keeping UIF claimants in line. UIF says it has paid R21bn to 3.6 million workers. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NARDUS ENGELBRECHT

The Unemployment Insurance Fund plans to investigate cases where employers have received a Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (Ters) benefit and failed to pay it to you, or have been deducting UIF contributions without registering you with the fund.

“We are going to publish a toll free number where these cases can be reported because we’ve appointed a forensic company to follow up on complaints of this nature,” Makhosonke Buthelezi, the UIF’s director of communication, told Sowetan Money.

In the meantime he suggests that workers report their cases to their nearest labour centre so inspectors can follow up.

Thousands of workers are still waiting for their Ters benefits despite some R21 billion being paid to 3.6 million workers whose 314,454 employers’ claims have been successful.

Since May 28, South Africans have been able to check the status of an application for UIF benefits, and some are seeing that payments have been processed and amounts paid, but they have not received the money.

If your status is “Application not processed yet”, the fund is awaiting documents from your employer, Buthelezi says. The fund is waiting for more details from more than 120 000 employers for the April payments and R356m owed to workers for May is also on hold because details are missing.

If your status says “no employee found” it could mean that your details have not been loaded on the UIF system, possibly because your employer has loaded the wrong file format, Buthelezi says.

It may also be that your employer has not registered you for UIF. Employers are obliged to register you if you work more than 24 hours a month and employers whose businesses closed or partially closed due to the lockdown were also obliged to apply for the Ters benefit for you.

They are also obliged to register foreigners who are employed permanently. Buthelezi says the UIF has found that many foreigners are not registered with the fund and has appealed to employers to declare foreigners via uFiling so that they can receive the Ters benefits.

By June 8, the UIF had paid Ters benefits of R534m to more than 114,000 foreigners.

The South African Revenue Service is assisting the UIF to validate all employees it can’t find in its system, including foreign nationals, he says.

If your status says “payment sent to financial system”, it means your application has been approved and sent to the financial system to verify the bank account. Once the account is verified a payment will be made, Buthelezi says.

If the payment was not made directly to you but to your employer or your bargaining council it will take longer to get to you, but they have two days to pay you according to law firm Cliffe Dekker.

If your employer has failed to claim the Ters benefits for you, you can now apply for the benefit yourself on the UIF’s website.

In its survey of its member employers, the National Employers Association of South Africa, recorded this week that 19% of employers who applied still have not received Ters benefits for April, down from 21% last week; and 76% had still not received May benefits, down from 79% last week.

Only 54% of those paid for April and 42% paid for May received full benefits, the association says.

Communications and Marketing Manager at the UIF Makhosonke Buthelezi. Picture: UIF Twitter
Communications and Marketing Manager at the UIF Makhosonke Buthelezi. Picture: UIF Twitter

More of your UIF Ters questions answered

The UIF's Makhosonke Buthelezi answers some of your questions.

Q: I was working for security company who had failed to pay me from January to March but my payslips show they where deducting UIF from my salary. Do I qualify for this relief?

A: If you were not working during the lockdown, you qualify for the Ters Benefit.  

Q: I worked through the lockdown but my employer claimed the Ters benefit. Is this is allowed?

A: This is not allowed, and UIF’s auditors will follow up on all payments done to employers. If the auditors find employers did not pay the monies to the employees, the employer will have to pay the money back to UIF, or will be taken to court.

Q: My employer claimed for me but says it is keeping the money for “when I get sick”. Is this allowed?

A: This is definitely not allowed, and it is for this reason that the UIF is appointing auditors.

Q: My employer has claimed the benefit and not paid it over to me. Will it reduce what I can claim if I am retrenched?

A: The employer has no right to claim the benefit and not pay it over to the employee – this is wrong. If the employee is retrenched, he/she can claim for the unemployment benefits – this won’t be affected by the Ters Benefits.

Q: I was retrenched two years ago and claimed UIF for six months. Can I now claim the UIF Ters benefit?

A: No, the benefit is only for those who are employed and were contributing to the fund up until the lockdown.