Relief for looted businesses

The Department of Employment and Labour has approved the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s temporary relief scheme to assist workers of looted businesses in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

In a statement on Friday, the department said the UIF’s Destroyed, Affected or Looted Workplaces: Temporary Financial Relief Scheme has finally been approved through the Government Gazette published on Tuesday, 10 August 2021.

“This financial relief scheme has been established to assist workers whose workplaces have been closed due to recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, resulting in either reduced pay or no pay at all,” the department said.

According to the department’s estimates, more than 75 000 workers have been impacted by the unrest in both provinces.

The scheme seeks to assist workers in affected businesses. However, every employer who is not yet registered with UIF will have to register first with the UIF to access the benefit.

Qualifying employers will be required to apply on behalf of their employees through a process that the UIF will specify.

The process will enable employers to make bulk applications and they will be required to meet the following conditions:

The employer must be registered with the UIF;

The employer’s closure must be directly linked to the destruction, damage or looting of its workplace;

The employer must provide details of the destruction, closure, or damage to, or looting of, its workplace and submit documentary proof of a report to the South African Police Services, with proof that a case has been opened by providing a case number, and, if insured, proof of submission and acknowledgement of receipt of the insurance claim;

The employer must confirm in writing or electronically that – he/she accepts the terms of the Scheme herein and any procedure document issued by UIF, and

Submit any other information that the Minister or delegated authority may require to assess eligibility of claim.

The department said payment of the temporary financial relief may only be done directly into the worker’s bank account, unless the UIF Commissioner specifies the conditions under which payments can be made into the employer’s account.

“The relief will be paid based on the income replacement rate calculated on the sliding scale of 38% -60% based on the employee’s remuneration. The maximum payment will not exceed R6 700 and the minimum will be not less than R3 500.00 per month or a flat rate, as the Minister or Accounting Authority may decide depending on financial considerations of the UIF,” the department explained.

The temporary financial relief is de-linked from the UIF’s normal benefits, therefore the “normal rule that for every four days worked, the employee accumulates a one-day credit, and the maximum credit days’ payable is 365 for every four years, does not apply”.

“This will enable workers who have no credits to receive financial support whilst their workplaces are in the process of rebuilding or reopening. The UIF is earnestly reconfiguring its systems for processing of temporary financial relief claims, and an announcement on the claims process and platforms and the date from which claims can be submitted will be made as soon as possible,” the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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