In February the South African government, via the Department of Employment and Labour, announced updates related to the extension of the UIF TERS benefit period. Employers in sectors that have been targeted for relief have the opportunity to apply for the TERS benefits.

As many businesses continue to grapple with the realities of COVID-19, any and every opportunity to gain support and strengthen operations is very welcome.

Business leaders should be aware that in a regulation that is still to be issued, it is anticipated that sectors not fully operational since the beginning of the lockdown may be able to apply for TERS benefits from 16 October 2020 until 15 March 2021.

Reduced Work Time Benefits

In light of the extended UIF TERS benefit period, employers in the sectors targeted for relief will have the opportunity to apply for the TERS benefits.

Since the UIF TERS application period came to an end on 31 December 2020, employees could make use of the Short Term/Reduced Work Time Benefits.

It is also reassuring that the Department has confirmed it will continue to provide financial relief through the already existing Short Term/Reduced Work Time Benefit.

The Reduced Work Time covers employees whose working hours have been reduced or who are forced to stay at home due to work stoppage.

Normally, a claim for this benefit is submitted by an employee with the assistance of the employer.

However, the system has been enhanced to enable employers to submit bulk applications on behalf of employees and a spreadsheet has been designed to make this easy for employers.

As pointed out in a news flash from the South African Payroll Author’s Group (PAGSA) to its clients, employees and employers should be aware of the difference between the two benefits:

1. The Reduced Work Time benefit uses, and then reduces, the employee’s “credit days”. These days are then no longer available to the employee to increase the value of unemployment benefits at a later stage.

2. The TERS benefit does not use or reduce “credit days”. The value of the RWT benefit is, in almost all cases, less than the value of the TERS benefit.

To access the bulk Reduced Work Time benefit application spreadsheet, follow the link.

Contact our legislation team at [email protected] if you require any additional information.