Labour department to continue paying COVID-19 relief funds

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Minister Thulas Nxesi

Department of Employment and Labour will continue with payments of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to millions of workers under the COVID-19 TERS until the end of June, 2020.

Department of Employment and Labour Minister, Mr Thulas Nxesi, said, “We remain committed to pay the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) Benefits till June 2020 as per the initial Directive of 26 March 2020”.

He said the benefits will continue to be paid to eligible employees as set out in COVID-19 Directives of April, May, and June 2020 and will be paid according to the same benefits structure of the income replacement rate varying between 38% and 60%”.

He said the fund has also committed to ensuring that applications received in April and May that have been registered in the system will still be processed and paid once all the relevant documents and information have been received. In cases of claims that have been declined because of a lack of proper documentation, the Fund is committed to paying as soon as this information has been received.

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‘‘The Fund has made significant progress in the payment of May applications. As of 24 June 2020, the Fund has paid R8, 4-billion to 149 120 employers who submitted applications on behalf of 2 037 458 employees. In total, UIF has disbursed close to R28-billion since 16 April 2020.

‘‘The payments were intended as a stop-gap measure for a period of three months or until such time that lockdown restrictions were eased and the economy slowly re-opened.

“The payments by the UIF should be seen in the context of the government-wide basket of services and interventions to ease the burden of the coronavirus. In the process, and because this is unprecedented, a few mistakes occurred but detractors fail to see the magnitude of the work that has been done and the relief that it has brought to many people in our country.

“Using the measure that one beneficiary is responsible for eight others, the amount of money that has been distributed has covered at least 14-million people in this round of May payments alone.

“This is a real difference in the lives of workers and is evidence to government’s commitment to make a real difference,” said Minister Nxesi.

He said R770-million has been paid directly into the bank accounts of the workers instead of being paid through their employers even though the employers lodged the claims on behalf of workers.