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Reprieve for businesses

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“In instances where companies decide to close for a short period as a precautionary measure, the short-term UIF benefit will kick in.”

COMPANIES in distress as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak are set to receive government-backed reprieve, the Department of Employment and Labour has announced.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the department said measures are being put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact.

Addressing the executive committee meeting at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said: “To assist the distressed companies, a period of reprieve will be considered in order for companies not to contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).”

He said the Funds Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme will be used to ensure that workers are not laid off.

“In instances where companies decide to close for a short period as a precautionary measure, the short-term UIF benefit will kick in. If a company contemplates a short-term shutdown, they are required to inform the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Our team will visit these companies to provide assistance with the processing of the claims,” said Nxesi.

He said in instances where an employee has to be self-quarantined for 14 days, such a leave will be recognised as special leave which will be fully paid on condition that the reason for the quarantine meets the requirements and that employees can apply for UIF benefits.

In an event that an employee is required to be quarantined for longer than 14 days as a result of having travelled or been in contact with an infected person, such leave will be recognised as special leave and that employee will be eligible to apply for unemployment insurance benefits, added Nxesi.