Employers urged to apply for UIF benefits for millions of employees

Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu is urging employers to apply
Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu is urging employers to apply
Image: GCIS

Only a fraction of the almost two million companies registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) have applied for the Covid-19 relief benefits on behalf of their employees during the national lockdown.

This is a worrying matter for the government who on Tuesday appealed to employers to register for the government scheme meant to benefit employees while they are not going to work during the lockdown.

The economic cluster ministers revealed on Tuesday that of the 1.8-million companies registered with the UIF, only 103,000 have applied for the relief scheme benefit.

This means that only 1.75-million employees from the over eight million registered with the UIF stand to benefit.

The relief scheme was made available by the government over a month ago and has so far paid out R3.3bn to just under 60,000 processed applications from employers, meaning that only 862,000 employees will receive their benefits.

“Of the received applications, the UIF has processed 59,000 employers’ applications which means that more than 862,000 employees will receive the benefit,” tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said.

“About 10,000 applications could not be processed due to errors and the affected companies have been notified to correct their applications and resubmit. Some of the errors identified relate to incorrect banking details, making it impossible for payments to be processed.”

The government appealed to employers to take advantage of the benefit scheme in order for their employees not to be left in the lurch.

The national lockdown has now been in effect for five weeks which has resulted in millions of South Africans confined to their homes with only essential workers allowed to go to work.

“Can we appeal to employers, there are very few employers who are applying on behalf of their workers and employees for this UIF relief benefit. We are asking them to do so, particularly in the farming sector and in the domestic sector,” minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu said.

“We are really appealing to all our employers to use this facility because there are vulnerable workers who could benefit from this facility but they can’t because employers are not taking advantage on behalf of their employees of this UIF benefit scheme.”

The ministers in the economic cluster were giving an update on the government interventions since the lockdown was effected and what to expect as the country gradually opens the economy.

Kubayi-Ngubane said the interventions spanned over a period of six months as they believe that the coronavirus curve peak will only be seen in September.

She said that on small, medium and micro enterprises, at least 11,000 jobs had been saved to date after the department of small business paid out at least R235m to  SMMEs.

Owners of 104 spaza shops have also applied for the support scheme launched over a week ago.​

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