Yesterday (21 July 2020), the Department of Employment and Labour announced a very welcome extension of the COVID-19 TERS scheme until 15 August 2020. The Deputy Minister announced this, along with some other noteworthy points at the Budget 31 conference. Therefore, in the blog today we will be looking at these latest proposals to counteract COVID-19 and stimulate the economy.
Update 4 August: The cut-off point for April and May TERS applications has been extended and closure will be subject to 14 day’s notice – Read more here.
As stated above, the TERS scheme has been extended from 31 June to 15 August, providing an extra one and a half months of crucial support to help retain employees.
In her speech, the Deputy Minister also stated that the UIF is considering closing applications for April and May at the end of July, so we would strongly encourage you to apply if you haven’t already . It should be emphasised that all valid applications made before 1 August will still be processed and evaluated; 31 July is just a cut-off point for new applications.
The Compensation Fund has stated its commitment to consider any claim from workers who contract the virus while at work. Successful applications could receive:
- a pay-out for temporary disablement while the worker is in quarantine, self-isolation or hospitalized;
- a payment of medical expenses; and
- where the illness tragically results in fatality, the Fund will pay out survivor benefits to dependents in the form of a monthly pension and funeral benefit.
We covered such applications to the Compensation Fund in our very first COVID-19 Blog and more information on how to make submissions can be found in this Government Notice.
Additionally, proposed amendments to COIDA were outlined, showing the Compensation Fund’s new direction towards a “Rehabilitation and Return to Work Programme”. We shall keep our eyes open for updates on this in the near future.
Contacting the UIF
The UIF is revamping its call centre to better meet your needs. Changes include the introduction of an App and USSD services, which are due to go live in August. These changes are based on the feedback and issues encountered during the running of the TERS scheme; hopefully this will mean that we will benefit from a sleeker and more efficient system in the future.
Additionally, the UIF has indicated that 10% of its assets will be set aside for use in Labour Activation Programmes. These programmes will support jobs and training as dictated by the needs of the labour market.
The following additional points are important to note based on the topics discussed:
- If your business relies upon non-resident workforces, you should keep abreast of policy changes in this area. A National Employment Policy is being developed, starting with the fast-tracked creation of a Labour Migration Policy to address immediate challenges.
- If operating back at the workplace, you must ensure your workplace has a workplace plan and is compliant (see this blog). The recruitment of an additional 500 Occupational Health and Safety Officers by the Government’s Inspection and Enforcement Services branch is likely to be completed this month. This will help ensure compliance with the Health and Safety Regulations for returning to the work-place.
- You should check your current health and safety protocols in preparation for updates to the legislation. The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill is to be tabled for the current session of Parliament.
- It is imperative that you are complying with the National Minimum Wage Act. The CCMA (Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) has been working closely with Government branches to help enforce compliance with the National Minimum Wage, resulting in the recovery of short pay to workers.
- Public employment services are to start operating mobile services across all provinces to bring the services to work-seekers. Additionally, an online registration process will be put in place to help accommodate social distancing.
Although this was just a speech, the proposals outlined are encouraging as they indicate an intention to continue supporting South African Businesses and people. Hopefully they will come into force smoothly.
If you would like to read the full speech by Deputy Minister Moloi, you can find it here.
We hope that you have found the above information useful. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.co.za.
Keep well and stay safe.