TERS Phase 2
One of the notable highlights of the State of the Nation address earlier this year was the announcement of the extension of the COVID-19 TERS relief scheme from 16 October 2020 to 15 March 2021. This ‘Phase 2’ of the COVID-19 TERS relief scheme is split into two payment iterations which will focus on claims based on loss of income during two periods.
- The first period is between 16 October to 31 December 2020; and
- The second period is between 1 January to 15 March 2021.
Only claims for the first period are currently being accepted by the UIF and claims relating to the second period will be dealt with at a later date.
Under phase 2, only certain categories of employees will be eligible for relief. The criteria for the eligibility of employees have been split into four separate claim codes, which are discussed in detail below.
To effectively assess and process the claims under the conditions stipulated by the TERS Extension Direction, the UIF has made changes and adjustments to the online portal as well as the actual application process.
Please take careful note of the details below, including the method of capturing claims and supporting information, as well as which documentation to be provided.
TERS Phase 2 Extension Periods
The UIF’s correspondence with employers on 3 March 2021 defines the two new extension periods for the applicability of the Phase 2 relief being 16 October to 31 December 2020, and 1 January to 31 March 2021.
These claim periods are going to be dealt with separately and employers may only currently claim benefits, on behalf of affected employees for the listed categories, for the first extension period which is 16 October to 31 December 2020.
The second claim period will be dealt with at a later stage and the UIF will communicate the opening of these claims for all categories in future.
Eligibility for Relief
In order to claim for relief in terms of Phase 2 of TERS, the employee must fall into one of the following claim codes:
- Claim Code 1 – Employees on temporary lay-off or Reduced Work Time within those sectors that have not been able to operate due to regulatory restrictions as per directives issued;
- Claim Code 2 – Employees aged 60 and above, and who cannot be reasonably accommodated at work;
- Claim Code 3 – Employees with co-morbidities and who cannot be reasonably accommodated at work; or
- Claim Code 4 – Employees in isolation and quarantine to prevent the spread of Covid19.
In addition to this, the employee must be a current UIF contributor.
Once eligibility has been established, the application can be lodged via the UIF online portal.
As with previous TERS claims, to apply for the first period of Phase 2 employers will be required to upload the following documentation:
- Signed approval / acceptance letter;
- Bank Confirmation Letter (current);
- Proof of payment to employees for previous benefits claimed & received for the prior period (e.g. EFT, payroll report, pay recon);
- Refund to the UIF (if applicable); and
- Letter of authority.
After the above documents have been submitted, the next step of the process will differ depending on the type of claim being processed.
Changes to the Application Process
The application process and the information required to complete a TERS Phase 2 application will be different depending on what type of claim is made.
SECTOR BASED CLAIMS (Claim Code 1):
Employees who are on temporary lay-off or Reduced Work Time within those sectors that have not been able to operate due to regulatory restrictions as per direction issued.
A list of the business activities within the major economic sectors that qualify for relief under Phase 2 of the initiative can be found here.
When applying under this claim code, the employer will be required to provide their business’ Sector Industry Classification (SIC) to allow the UIF to verify eligibility.
Where online verification is not successful, an employer is allowed to make an appeal utilising the form and process for Sector Appeals.
NON-SECTOR BASED CLAIMS (Claim Codes 2, 3 and 4)
Claims under Claim Code 2, 3 and 4 are not restricted to employees in any particular sector, but each have their own unique requirements which have been identified by the UIF.
Inspiration for these categories have been taken from the guideline on the submission of COVID-19 related health data from workplaces to the National Department of Health (NIOH), which states that all employers are legally bound to collect data on the below mentioned categories of affected employees and to submit that data to the NIOH on:
Employees (in all sectors):
- Aged 60 and over and who could not be reasonably accommodated in the workplace;
- With co-morbidities and who could not be reasonably accommodated in the workplace; and
- required to self-isolate or quarantine to prevent the spread of Covid19.
Claim Codes 2, 3 and 4 are based on these same categories and the UIF have decided to utilise an employers registration and submission of this data to the NIOH as a means of verification for the processing of these types of claims.
Employers who are not registered with the NIOH will be unable to proceed with a claim under Claim Code 2, 3 or 4.
When making an application in terms of one of these claim codes, an employer will be required to complete a two step verification process which will confirm the employers registration with the NIOH and will cross reference the employees’ details with that captured in the NIOH database.
Important Details to Note When Applying
To accurately calculate benefits, the UIF relies on the employer to capture the claim details and the onus is on the employer to capture the claim correctly and reconcile it with payments received.
The following fields could have a significant impact on calculations and extra care should be taken to complete them accurately:
The lockdown period for claims under Phase 2 is from 16 October 2020 to 31 December 2020. Any date earlier than 16 October or later than 31 December 2020 will not be accepted on the system; however, any dates within that range will be accepted.
For example, if loss of earnings was restricted to a 14-day quarantine period, then insert start and end date of quarantine, i.e.: 22 October – 5 November 2020.
Employers must ensure accurate selection when capturing the lockdown period dates as benefits will be calculated on the selected number of days.
Regardless of the lockdown period being claimed (even if for the full two-and-a-half months’ lockdown period) you must only enter the normal monthly salary for the employee. DO NOT alter/extrapolate this value to meet the cumulative lockdown period.
Where a difference exists between the monthly salary provided with the claim and what is recorded as an average salary on the UIF system, the calculation will be based on the lower of the two values. However, the UIF will for the purposes of the TERS extension period calculate an “average” salary of the contributor by looking at the six months’ period 1 October 2019 – 31 March 2020, rather than only March 2020 as was previously utilised.
Remuneration earned for hours worked (excluding leave income and advance)
Unlike monthly salary, this column must reflect the full lockdown period’s cumulative remuneration. The remuneration earned for the entire period must be stated.
For example, if an employee earned R3 000 in the last two weeks of October plus R10 000 earned in November and R0 remuneration in December, then the total amount to be entered into this column is R13 000. If the employee did not work during this period, then the value entered should be zero (0).
All advances, ex gratia payments, or income related to annual or other leave, should be excluded.