Employers may choose to shut down operations during the lockdown or (if possible) implement reduced working hours. In the first instance, the employee will receive no income and in the second instance, the employee will receive part of his/her monthly income. 

The UIF can be approached to claim benefits and the Department of Employment and Labour has urged that employers assist with submitting the claims (rather than employees).

Where the employer has shut down operations for the period of the lockdown then it is best to use the COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme mechanism (TERS) (click here to read more on TERS).

Where the employer has temporarily closed or reduced working hours then benefits will be made available using the UIF mechanism as follows: 

UIF benefit types available for COVID-19 scenarios are: 

UnemploymentUses credit days
IllnessUses credit days
Reduced Work Time (RWT)Uses credit days
Temporary Employer Relief SchemeDoes not use credit days

Types of layoffs that are applicable and the appropriate benefit are: 

TypeDue to Benefit type
PermanentRetrenchmentUnemployment benefit
Temporary“Short-time”RWT benefit
“Forced layoff”Due to lockdownRWT or COVID-19 TERS benefit

Reduced Working Time (“RWT”):

  • Used if “short-time” has been agreed to,
  • Uses and then resets to zero the employee’s credit days, 
  • Applies the income replacement rate sliding scale (38% to 60%), and 
  • Takes into account the wages paid by the employers to reduce the amount of the benefit. 

Benefit payable is the difference between what employer pays and normal UIF benefits payable should an employee lose employment.

Illness benefit

This is where the employee has been quarantined for 14 days and in this case the illness benefit will apply and uses credit days. 

  • A Confirmation Letter from both the employer and employee must be submitted together with the application as proof that both the employer and employee have agree to the 14 days ‘special leave’.
  • In this instance the letters will stand in place of the medical certificate as the beneficiary would have self – quarantined without prior consultation with a medical practitioner. Benefits will be paid based on these letters.
  • Should an employee be quarantined for more than 14 days, a medical certificate from a medical practitioner must be submitted together with the Continuation Form UI3.
  • Where an employee has contracted CONVID-19 diagnosis and medical certificate is required, and application must be made for illness leave as normal.

Further information can be found at https://www.fasa.co.za/corona/corona-uif-info.pdf

During the lockdown and COVID-19 crisis, claims for UIF benefits can also be done online by visiting https://www.ufiling.co.za/uif/unemployment-benefits.