Domestic workers in South Africa were buckling under debt and underemployment due to the Covid-19 lockdown, a survey revealed.

COVID-19 TERS: Your questions answered

CAPE TOWN –  The Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (COVID-19 TERS) has been implemented by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

This is to ensure all non-essential workers stay inside during the lockdown, maintain their livelihoods and to take the pressure off  employers who cannot afford to pay their workers as a result of the lockdown.

 

There have been a number of concerns raised by employees  in regard to this process, as a result, many of them are extremely anxious about how their income will be supplemented.

 Here are your questions –  answered:

 

What if my employer does not submit the application to COVID-19 TERS?

If employees do not submit the applications to COVID-19 TERS, it means the business has enough funds to pay its workers during the lockdown. The responsibility of paying salaries then solely falls on employers. UIF commissioner, Teboho Maruping,  urges workers not to apply on an individual basis. Businesses have all the required documentation, can submit online and therefore all non-essential personnel can remain indoors. Ultimately reducing the spread of Covid-19.

 

What if I do not get paid at the end of the month? 

If employers do not submit applications, which therefore means the business has enough money to pay salaries during the lockdown period. And workers still do not receive it, then workers are encouraged to call the dedicated Covid-19 TERS hotline 012 337 1997. Workers will then be given a number of an inspector in their specific region to investigate further.

 

I’ve heard salaries been mentioned, what about wages?

COVID-19 TERS will be able to pay wages too if those businesses in question have applied and met the requirements stipulated. As of Wednesday, April 2, Maruping stated that wages will be processed in the next week or two.

 

If the business meets requirements, how will I be paid?

Maruping says; “We will either pay the employees directly or we will pay the fund into the account of the employer. And then the employer will pay the employees”.

 

When can successful applicants be expecting payouts? And how long will it take?

If employers submit all documentation that is required, it will take approximately 10 days. Please note that only salaries for April will be paid, as March has already been paid by your employers.

 

As a business who meets requirements, will all my workers receive their full salaries from COVID-19 TERS?

There is R10 billion allocated to the fund. Maruping says; “it is a sliding scale. From 38% up to R17 712 that we are paying to employees”. The highest potential claim for one salary is R17 712. 

Maruping goes on to say that COVID-19 TERS encourages businesses who can only pay a portion of their worker’s salaries to apply, the fund will cover the rest. 

“Even if they [businesses] contribute 50%, we will do a calculation and pay the difference”. 

 

I’m an employer and have followed the process and emailed, but I received no response. I called numerous times too, and the lines were off?

It is extremely important to email the correct email address: [email protected] and the lines are operational. Upon investigation, it took 15 minutes to get through, and it might take longer or shorter depending on capacity of those manning the lines. However, all those assisting are extremely competent and sensitive in these tough times. The correct number is 012 337 1997.

 

Must employers submit forms at UIF offices?

By all means no. The email is dedicated to this process only. Employers have all the documentation required and can only submit applications online. Those who are going to UIF offices are putting themselves, families and others at risk of contracting Covid-19. It will also be defying lockdown regulations and the reason for the lockdown in the first place, which is to reduce the spread of the virus.

 

Is there a limit for the number of workers an employer has in order to apply and be successful?

No. There are businesses who applied have three workers, and there are some who have 10 000 workers. 

 

Can businesses who have not been compliant with UIF still apply and be successful?

According to Maruping, the majority of big businesses are compliant. Small Medium and Micro Enterprise’s (SMME) generally take compliance lightly due to a possible lack of infrastructure on their part.

Maruping adds; “I think about 70% of them [SMMEs] are not compliant. So when they apply [to COVID-19 TERS] during this time we will work through our processes. If we need to raise a debt against them, we’ll rais a debt against them. But we will not compromise the employees”. 

 

There is a dedicated Covid-19 TERS hotline for all enquires: 012 337 1997 and workers and businesses are encouraged to follow @DeptofLabour, @UIFbenefits on Twitter as well as the Department of Employment and Labour’s website to stay updated.

 

For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor

 

 

 

CORONAVIRUS MONITOR