While many workers who have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus await the reopening of the Covid-19 Ters benefits application process, only a few will qualify according to the criteria set out by the Department of Labour.
Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi announced new deadlines for the UIF-funded Ters scheme which will now run until the end of the state of national disaster which expires in October.
The scheme was introduced at the beginning of the lockdown as a measure to cushion the blow of business closures.
Ters was meant to cover the period April to June, but several extensions have been implemented so far, with the latest expected to expire on October 15.
The criteria of those who will be covered remain the same as in the August extension.
The new directives cover the following categories of employees whose employers are:
(a) not permitted to commence operations under the Disaster Management Regulations;
(b) unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable workers, such as working from home or taking special measures under the OHS directives to protect them;
(c) unable to make use of their services because of operational requirements caused by compliance with the regulations and directives such as rostering, staggering working hours, short time and the introduction of shift systems.
The UIF announced this week that no applications will be processed yet as the system is being updated to ensure compliance.
The fund closed the application process following an investigation by the Auditor-General which found issues with the auditing process as millions of rand were paid out to persons receiving social grants, foreigners and people younger than 15.
There were also instances of double payments. Senior UIF officials were suspended following the A-G’s findings. Acting UIF commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst said the fund was working on improving its processes.
“While the A-G has shown us several deficiencies in the payment of the Covid-19 Ters benefits, I must hasten to add that many of these deficiencies had been picked up already by management. Some had already been corrected in the June payments but we will continue to improve the system so that it responds to needs of our beneficiaries and make the payments effective and efficient,” Bronkhorst said.
The dates for new claims is as follows:
Covid-19 Ters benefit applications for March 2020 to May 2020 will close on September 25, 2020.
Covid-19 Ters benefit applications for June 2020 will close on October 15, 2020.
Covid-19 Ters benefit applications for July to September 15, 2020 shall close on October 30, 2020.
No further applications for the above periods will be accepted beyond the cut-off dates given. – IOL