Covid-19: South African Minister orders release of relief funds to workers

by Muizat Hameed

South African Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, has called on employers to ensure that the money paid over by the Unemployment Insurance Fund for the COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme is disbursed to the workers.

This follows a number of complaints received from workers who called in alleging that their employers have not paid them the money the UIF has disbursed as part of COVID-19 TERS, which is meant to provide temporary relief for workers who are at home or to at least meet some of their salary demands.

“To date we have paid close to R7-billion in COVID-19 relief. This is the amount that we are paying for relief for workers and we appeal to the employers to ensure that it is paid to the workers without any further delay”, Minister Nxesi said.

To ensure that there was no delay in payments to workers, the UIF has provided the employers with the breakdown of how much each worker deserves. This was after there were complaints that the lump sums were confusing employers.

He stated further that, “We took a decision to break-down even the payments, a decision that saw our systems almost overwhelmed with information as we did not want workers’ funds to be delayed even further. We once again appeal to employers with outstanding information regarding claims to ensure that they forward these as soon as possible.”

“A total of 481 911 workers have been disadvantaged to the tune of close to R2-billion. In addition there are also 12 959 workers who are also disadvantaged because of failed bank verification and an amount of R67 924 874 will be paid over as soon as this is resolved”, said Minister Nxesi.

To date the fund has paid, R6, 890,323,916.47 TERS benefits to 98,720 employers for 1,134,822 workers and R151,687,085.44 through 845 bargaining councils affecting 56,456 workers.

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