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Salary below R17 712? You qualify for Employee Relief Funding


In his lockdown speech, President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed to prioritize the lives and livelihoods of all South Africans.

The president further assured the apprehensive nation that he will use all measures within his government’s power to protect employers and employees from the economic consequences of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

The Minister of Employment and Labour, T.W Nxesi corroborated with the President’s address by announcing measures that the Department will put in place under the current special circumstance relating to the Coronavirus and its impact on Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributors.

Following the Minister’s announcement, the UIF Commissioner, Teboho Maruping, after consultation with UIF’s Executive and the Board developed the COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (COVID-19 TERS) to contribute to the containment of the pandemic. 

According to Maruping, the UIF is ready to assist affected workers and companies. 

“First and foremost, I would like to wish everyone who has contracted the virus a speedy recovery and urge people to continue adhering to the health and safety measures from the Department of Health to limit the spread of the virus.

“As a caring organisation, we will continue monitoring the situation and assist workers and companies to limit the negative financial impact of the COVID -19 on workers, business and our economy,” said Maruping.

He further noted that there are malcontents who always want to take advantage of such noble initiatives by engaging in criminal activities, fraudulently submitting fake papers. 

“I would also like to caution workers and companies that submitting a fraudulent claim is a criminal act that will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Maruping.

What is COVID-19 TERS?

According to LegalWise, TERS is a special benefit created under the UIF. It aims to provide emergency relief to employers so that they may continue to pay their employees during a temporary lay-off.

The benefits under TERS are available to an employer who closes its operations due to the COVID-19 crisis for a period of three months or less and as a result, is in financial distress.

It is important to note that the employer submits a claim for the TERS benefit and, if successful, pays the necessary over to its employees. 

The benefit will be capped to a maximum threshold of R17 712.00 (may change from time to time) and will be calculated in terms of the income replacement rate sliding scale as provided in the Unemployment Insurance Act (from 38% for high earners up to 60% for low earners.

Affected workers of non-compliant employers have also been invited to apply for the relief fund so that they are not compromised because their employers are not UIF compliant. 

Upon receiving an application of such employees, the UIF will process the application and take the employer to task for the money that they owe UIF. The UIF has set 10 days as the turnaround time for those who approach the body.

How to apply for COVID-19 TERS

To mitigate the impact of the national lockdown on workers, businesses and the economy, the UIF will be electronically processing applications for the COVID-19 TERS Benefit.

According to the government, employers that are unable to pay the full salaries of the workers they send home for their health and safety due to the lockdown are encouraged to apply for the

Apply for COVID-19 TERS

This can be done sending an email to [email protected] 

Upon sending the email, applicants will receive an automated reply which outlines all the steps and details, including the requirements to claim benefits.

Note that during the lockdown period, manual claims will not be accepted to reduce contact between people to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

You are guaranteed of this relief if your employer is registered with the UIF and complies with the application procedure. The Employer must also provide information that the company closure is linked to the COVID-19

Is COVID19 TERS linked to other UIF Benefits?

This is a frequently asked question as people struggle to differentiate the UIF from this special TERS initiative. Well, the answer is, no. The COVID-19 TERS Benefit is de-linked from the other UIF Benefits and other processes, however, applications are subjected to normal verification and validation processes of the Fund.

It is also important to note that this intervention is only applicable to workers laid off as from the beginning of April when the lockdown was announced. If anyone was laid off before April, they are ineligible for the fund as they were not directly affected by COVID 19 lockdown.

Employers are also expected to have paid the March salaries minus the last four days of March when the shutdown started.

In case you have more enquiries, UIF has developed a hotline number: 012 337 1997 for COVID–19 TERS Benefit enquiries during the lockdown period. 

Workers, companies, and stakeholders are urged to follow @DeptofLabour and @UIFbenefits on Twitter and visit www.labour.gov.za for regular updates.

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Leslie Phiri

Leslie Phiri holds a Diploma in English Literature from the National University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of South Africa. At Rateweb he focuses on news and developing story in finance. He also hosts Rateweb's personal finance podcast. You can get hold of him at [email protected]

7 thoughts on “Salary below R17 712? You qualify for Employee Relief Funding

  1. can my employer claim for a full month from UIF TERS if my monthly wages is less than R16000 per month and am i to get the full payment. Please explain how it works and what amount am i looking at. As per employer i owe them days which confuse me.

    1. Here is a statement from the department of labour to guide you

      The Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi has called on employers who are registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to apply for the Covid-19 benefits through the temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme on behalf of their employees.

      As part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department has issued a directive for relief to be provided to contributors who have lost income or required to take annual leave as a result of the Coronavirus breakout.

      To date, the UIF has received just over 55 268 applications from employers representing about 1 601 767 employees. In total, the UIF has over 1 800 000 employers registered on its database representing more than 8-million workers.

      Of the received applications, the UIF has processed 37 673 employer applications which means that 606 462 employees will receive their benefit.  About 9 938 applications couldn’t 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.

      As of today, the cumulative amount paid from April 16 to date is R1.1-billion.

      “The UIF is working round the clock to meet the extraordinary volumes of requests for assistance presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 benefit scheme will provide much needed relief to employees who have been laid off work or unable to earn an income due to Covid-19,” said Minister Nxesi.

      Minister Nxesi has also acknowledged that the UIF system is under pressure as the Fund is currently experiencing extraordinary volumes of requests due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister says the department is in discussion with other public entities and the private sector to build additional capacity in order to fast track the processing of applications and payments thereof.

      “We have acknowledged that our system was not designed to accommodate the increased volumes of requests that we are witnessing due to the Covid-19. We have already taken steps to mitigate this risk. We have asked the South African Revenue Service to work with us to resolve the backlog we are currently experiencing. SARS has responded positively and they are sending a team to work with the UIF to ensure that we distribute funds to deserving beneficiaries as swift and cost-efficient as possible. We have equally engaged other private sector companies to work with UIF to enhance the capacity of our IT system to respond to the growing number of requests,” said Minister Nxesi.

      Besides the COVID-19 TERS benefits, the department continues to pay normal benefits. To this end, people who have already been approved to claim do not need to phone or go online. The continuation benefits will be paid at specified dates.

      As part of being more responsive to claimants, the UIF call center which initially had 75 agents, has increased its capacity and now has 200 agents manning the toll-free number (0800 030 007). More call center agents will be added should the need arise.

      “These are important interventions that would go a long way towards alleviating some of the challenges we have been experiencing. The President has enjoined all of us to ensure that citizens are not unnecessarily inconvenienced as a result of the pandemic. As the Department of Employment and Labour we realise the critical role we have to play and we are encouraged by the spirit of solidarity both in the public and private sector and we are doing our utmost best to ease the hardship on workers,” concluded Minister Nxesi.

      Employers can apply via http://www.ufiling.co.za or contact the UIF on 0800 030 007.

      Department of Employment and Labour – Working for you! 

      For more information contact:

      Teboho Thejane

      Departmental Spokesperson

      082 697 0694

  2. Good day my employer did not deduct UIF from me. I Did not get any salary from April . What can I do?

    1. Hi Maggie. Where you formally employed? Is the company registered with UIF? If the answer to both questions is yes, you can apply directly to UIF.

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