Employers urged to apply for UIF benefits for millions of employees
Only a fraction of the almost 2-million companies registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) have applied for the Covid-19 relief benefits on behalf of their employees during the lockdown.
This is a worrying matter for the government, which on Tuesday appealed to employers to register for the government scheme meant to benefit employees while they are not going to work during the lockdown.
SowetanLIVE reported that the economic cluster ministers revealed on Tuesday that of the 1.8-million companies registered with the UIF, only 103,000 have applied for the relief scheme benefit.
This means only 1.75-million employees from the more than 8-million registered with the UIF stand to benefit.
The relief scheme was made available by the government more than a month ago and has so far paid out R3.3bn to just under 60,000 processed applications from employers, meaning only 862,000 employees will receive their benefits.
“Of the received applications, the UIF has processed 59,000 employers’ applications which means more than 862,000 employees will receive the benefit,” tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said.
“About 10,000 applications could not be processed because of errors. 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.”
The government appealed to employers to take advantage of the benefit scheme in order for their employees not to be left without funds.
The lockdown has been in effect for five weeks, resulting in millions of South Africans confined to their homes with only essential workers allowed to go to work.
“There are very few employers who are applying on behalf of their workers and employees for this UIF relief benefit. We are asking them to do so, particularly in the farming and domestic sectors,” said minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu.
“We are appealing to all our employers to use this facility because there are vulnerable workers who could benefit from this facility.”
The ministers in the economic cluster were providing updates on government interventions since the lockdown was effected, and detailing what to expect as the country gradually opens the economy.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the interventions spanned six months as they believe the coronavirus curve peak will be seen only in September.
She said in small, medium and micro enterprises, at least 11,000 jobs had been saved to date after the department of small business paid out at least R235m to SMMEs.
Owners of 104 spaza shops have also applied for the support scheme launched more than a week ago.