Johannesburg, 7 April 2020: Business for SA, the grouping representing all major South African business organisations in respect of the COVID-19 disaster, has welcomed the agreement finalised between government, business and labour at Nedlac on the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS). The notices based on the agreement have been signed by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi and await imminent gazetting
The TERS will be funded through accumulated reserves of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) administered by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL), and operates in terms of a revised directive issued by the Minister of Employment and Labour on 4 April. In addition, the benefits are subject to the terms of the memorandum of understanding or standard terms, which have also been published.
Benefits are available to all employees who are, along with their employers, contributors to the UIF where the employer has closed its operations, or part of its operations, as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and where an employee has suffered, or will suffer, a loss of earnings.
The amount of the benefit will be based on a sliding scale amounting to 38% to 60% of earnings up to a set threshold. The benefit per employee is based on gross earnings and length of employment. A benefit calculator will be available on the DEL website. The benefits will be available for a period of up to three months. The maximum amount of the COVID-19 TERS monthly payment will be R6,730. The minimum benefit will be R3,500 a month.
In order to limit the complexity of administration, any business employing more than ten people will be entitled to apply for the TERS benefit on behalf of its workforce. Bargaining councils will also be entitled to apply on behalf of employees represented by the council. In companies with fewer than ten employees, the employees themselves will be able to apply.
The applying employer or employer group is required to pay the benefit to employees within 48 hours of receiving the monies from the UIF. The UIF will have the right to audit any applying company.
Employers may supplement these benefits, but the maximum that an employee may receive from the UIF and their employer combined is 100% of their salary. The employer must apply by reporting the total or partial closure to firstname.lastname@example.org. The employer will receive an automatic response outlining the application process and the documents and information that is required.
A detailed set of questions and answers on the TERS scheme can be found on the BSA website at https://www.businessforsa.org/daily-update/
Robert Legh, chair of BSA’s labour workstream who led the employer team at Nedlac says: “We are pleased that we managed to reach a consensus on a scheme that will provide some benefit to those who are losing income during this time of unprecedented crisis, and we hope we have established a system that will be able to deliver these benefits with optimal efficiency.”
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