Employers may now indicate whether UIF TERS benefits should be paid to the company or whether payment must be made directly into employees’ bank accounts as the application process has been amended.
Employers will be entitled to receive payment if they require a refund from the UIF, which would be the case where the employer has paid the benefit to the employees, or where the employees have been required to take annual leave. In other circumstances, the UIF will make payment directly to the employees.
The addition of this second option has essentially been introduced with the intention of ensuring that the payments of the UIF Covid19 TERS benefits are smoother for May and June.
Anyone with queries should be directed to the UIF call centre at 0800 843 843 or visit https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/
BUSINESS FOR SOUTH AFRICA PROVIDES UPDATE ON PPE PROCUREMENT
In March, Business for South Africa (B4SA) was set up as an independent and broad coalition of volunteer resources, made up of business organisations and large and small companies, to assist the country in its response to the pandemic. Its core executive sponsors are the Black Business Council and Business Unity South Africa.
As part of this coalition, B4SA established an independent, efficient and scalable procurement platform to urgently help secure the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed in South Africa. This is a critical function that is underpinned by a team of skilled and capable volunteers with a robust governance structure, and enables buyers and donors of PPE to timeously access bulk orders of products which meet the necessary specifications, on a cost effective basis.
B4SA’s PPE procurement platform is one of many initiatives that are assisting the country to procure critical PPE for frontline health care workers. All parties involved in B4SA operate on the premise that they do so on either a pro bono or not-for-profit basis.
The pandemic has exposed the global risk of an over-reliance on single markets for the supply of PPE. South Africa, as a historic net importer of PPE, is no different. At the onset of the pandemic, PPE represented less than 2% of the overall medical equipment sales in the country, with surgical gloves making up the vast majority of this. To compound this, South Africa, like much of the world, had limited internal manufacturing and supply capacity and capability to deliver the vast quantities of PPE needed in the country.
The country’s projected required spend for PPE until October 2020 is R7.5 billion. While donors are helping to bridge this gap, and B4SA has, to date, facilitated donations in excess of R1.2 billion, much more is needed.
B4SA’s order book is currently at R1.1 billion. This includes the procurement of:
○ N95 respirators: 12 million
○ Surgical masks for patients and health care workers: 38,2 million
○ Gowns: 100 000
○ Goggles / face visors: 120 000
○ Gloves (pairs): 900 000
○ Sanitizers: 275 000 litres
○ Ventilators: 200
The forward looking procurement pipeline stands at R200 million and B4SA’s procurement focus is on securing gloves, gowns, scrubs, sanitiser, face visors, biohazard bags and FFP2 masks.
To read the full update, please go to https://www.businessforsa.org/b4sa-provides-update-on-ppe-procurement-efforts/
MINIMUM PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYERS TO ENSURE A SAFE RETURN TO WORK – UPDATED
Every employer will, during each of the levels of lockdown and for the foreseeable future, have to adhere to detailed occupational health and safety protocols. This means that all employers must re-examine their activities, work environment and policies in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and may need to change, adapt or enhance these in order to operate.
The Return2Work website provides valuable tools and guidelines to expedite a safe, effective and structured return to work plan.
The Minimum Practice Guidelines for all employers operating in South Africa including all types of businesses have now been updated. Each employer is unique in its activities, environment and workforce demographics and should, where reasonably practicable, apply these minimum controls as well as any additional controls appropriate for its organisation, workspaces and commuting arrangements. This practice note provides guidance to employers on the application of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) and the regulations and Disaster Management Regulations and the Ministerial Directives.
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