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Minister concerned over too few employers and employees applying for UIF Covid-19 funds

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Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says about 20 000 workers who qualify for UIF Covid-19 funds have not applied for relief.

Johannesburg – Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says about 20 000 workers who qualify for UIF Covid-19 funds have not applied for relief.

Nxesi and other ministers who form part of the national command council dealing with the economic cluster briefed the media on Tuesday on the adjustments to regulations as the country heads to level four of the national lockdown.

The minister said he had several concerns about employers that were not assisting employees to access the relief funds provided by the government. The funds will be paid out by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and employers were encouraged to apply on behalf of their workers. Only 33% of a workers’ salary would be covered by the fund and not the entire salary.

“We are not paying the whole amount. We pay 38% because it is a relief and we had budgeted for a period of three months. We pay according to the payroll submitted. 20 000 workers entitled to pay have not done so. Some employers have not even dared to help their employees,” Nxesi said.

The minister said so far, over 100,000 companies had applied to access UIF benefits and a total of R3.3 billion had been paid out. He said 59,000 applications had been processed and that 10,000 had been rejected for various errors which may include missing banking details.

Nxesi said he has heard calls from freelance workers who want to know if they can access the funding relief. He said, unfortunately, freelancers could not access the funds as the current legislation does not allow for such applications. To benefit from the funds from the UIF one should be registered and paying the fund every month.

On the employers that were defaulting with payments or had not registered their employees, Nxesi said they should come forward and acknowledge their debt and pay it forward so that workers could benefit from the fund.

There was also a concern that employers in vulnerable sectors such as farming and domestic were not approaching the fund on behalf of their employees.

“We are asking the employers in the farming and domestic sector to apply on behalf of their employees. These are vulnerable sectors,” said Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

IOL

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** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za