NATIONAL NEWS - The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, has approved the decision for the Unemployment Insurance Fund(UIF) to implement a third extension of the Covid-19 TERS benefit.
Workers will now receive their Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits in their bank accounts.
UIF opened the system for applications on Monday, July 19 and payments will commence from July 26.
The minister said this third phase will bring relief to workers who have not been able to work from March 16, 2021, due to level 1,2 and 3 restrictions preventing gatherings of a certain number of people.
This includes workers in the entertainment industry.
Workers who were or are still impacted by the level 4 restrictions, which commenced on June 28, 2021 and workers who have not been able to work due to the fact that they are over 60 will benefit from the extension. This will also include workers who have co-morbidities and have not been able to work during this period as well as those who have had to isolate or go into quarantine.
The period the direction covers ends on 25 July 2021.
The direction follows the announcement by Minister Nxesi three weeks ago that the department intended extending benefits to sectors affected by Adjusted Alert Level 4 restrictions.
Advocate Mzie Yawa, Acting UIF Commissioner said that it is crucial for employers to provide valid and accurate details of their employees including identity document numbers and valid bank accounts.
He said while paying directly into employees’ bank accounts remains the most preferred payment mode, UIF is mindful of instances where this may be difficult.
“In such instances and upon provision of sufficient proof by the employer, funds may be paid into the employer’s account at the UIF’s discretion.
“We have learnt the lesson from the previous phases that some unscrupulous employers did not advance the funds to their employees and it is for that reason that we have opted for this mode of payment.
“As a result of the non-payment of workers, the UIF and the entire department were inundated with a lot of complaints as workers could see on the system that funds had been released but had not been paid by their employers who kept the Covid TERS funds for themselves,” explained Yawa.
Other operational details will be contained in a letter to be sent directly to employers and the letter together with directives will be available on both the TERS portal and the Employment and Labour website.