The Unemployment Insurance Fund’s Temporary Employment Relief Scheme application window has closed, effective yesterday (June 30), and won’t be extended.
Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, said this was because the payments were intended as a stop-gap measure for a period of three months or until such time that lockdown restrictions were eased and the economy slowly reopened.
“The payments by the UIF should be seen in the context of government-wide basket of services and interventions to ease the burden of the coronavirus. In the process and, because this is unprecedented, a few mistakes occurred but detractors fail to see the magnitude of the work that has been done and the relief that it has brought to many people in our country,” said the Minister.
To date, an amount of R8,4 billion has been paid out (as of June 24).
‘Please extend for those still in complete lockdown’
Pieter du Toit, HR and payroll administrator of Nomad Africa Adventure Tours, has written an open letter to the Minister calling for further support from the UIF TERS.
“Based on the announcement from the Minister I wish to make an appeal to our government to extend its support of the TERS programme.
We are a tour operator – one of many in South Africa. We are still completely unable to return to any kind of operations – and it seems by all indications that we will still be in the same boat for quite some time.
We want to suggest that the Honourable Minister, in discussions with government, consider the continuation of the TERS benefit for those companies still under complete lockdown and unable to return to operations.
Whether we continue to claim TERS or have to send our employees off to the Department of Labour’s Offices with UI-19 forms in their hands declaring no income from the company is one and the same – the government benefit of UIF will apply to them.
Unfortunately, our company can’t sustain support of our employees without assistance. We will be forced to go the retrenchment route, adding to South Africa’s already significant unemployment figures.
This is a lose/lose situation for all parties – but without the support of government we face a very bleak and damning future.
We wish to thank you, Minister, for your time and all the assistance government has been able to render throughout this pandemic. We, and many others in our industry, do truly appreciate it.”