With the month of June coming to an end, so too ends the period that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is willing to pay out workers and employers who have found themselves financially incapacitated during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent nationwide lockdown. 

The financial relief structure was established in April with the aim of serving as a stop-gap measure for a period of three months, ending at the start of July. 

UIF/Ters application window closes end of June  

Department of Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said that fund will continue to pay out for applications that have been successfully submitted, but that the window for new applications closes as of 1 July. 

Employers and employees who have applied but are yet to receive their funds are still set to do so, according the department. 

They also said that unsuccessful applicants whose submissions lacked comprehensive details would still be permitted to amend their applications and, if those are found to be successful, will be paid out after the June cut-off.

In a statement released on 26 June, Nxesi said that payments will continue to be made to successful applicants according to the same benefits structure of the income replacement rate varying between 38% and 60%.

“The payments by the UIF should be seen in the context of government-wide basket of services and interventions to ease the burden of the coronavirus,” said Nxesi. 

“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,” he said.

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

DA complains of UIF tardiness 

This leaves of South African employers and workers scratching their heads, with many raising concern over the Department of Labour’s tardiness in administering funds, despite the fact that it has said that over R26 billion has been successfully disbursed to some 14 million people. 

The fund had R40 billion available to it at the start of the relief scheme period, initially demanding that employers apply for the fund on behalf of their employees and later amending this criteria to allow individual employees to submit applications. 

“Many workers have still not received their payments for April,” said the Democrats Alliance’s (DA) Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour Dr Michael Cardo. 

“Only about R6 billion worth of benefits have been disbursed for May, compared to R20 billion for April.”

May payments amount to R8.4 billion

Of the R26 billion paid out by the fund to date, R8.4 billion has been paid out to 149 120 employers in May, and R770 million has been paid directly into the accounts of workers and employees rather than their employers.

One of the major issues the fund has had during the stressful period has been technical glitches on its application portals, with compliants barraging the department’s ebsite on a daily basis claiming that other employer’s details were being shown to them, or that they simply could not process applications. The site was often out of service.

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Presh JM Reporter

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