FEDHASA hosted a webinar on Wednesday 20 May during which UIF Spokesperson, Makhosonke Buthelezi, offered clarity on some of the questions and issues UIF TERS applicants are experiencing.
When will it be possible to submit applications for May?
UIF has been reconfiguring the online submission system during the last week(s) to improve the process and common remove glitches that were experienced in April. The development was finalised on Sunday 17 May, followed by testing in the first part of the week.
There will be an announcement made today or tomorrow (21 or 22 May) as to when the submission portal will be officially opened for May submissions. Applicants can expect it to open sometime next week (25-31 May).
All required documents must be submitted to UIF online via https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/.
The benefits calculation will be the same for May, between 38% and 60% of an employee’s salary, applied up to a salary limit of R17 712.
What are the lockdown dates for May applications?
When submitting your May application, the lockdown dates will be for the full month, 1-31 May 2020.
Is there a different application process for foreign nationals?
If the employer has sent monthly UIF declarations to the Department of Labour for foreign national staff, the online application process is the same for those members of staff.
However, the employer needs to additionally submit the following to covid19Terssupport@labour.gov.za on behalf of foreign national staff:
- Completed UI-19 form
- Completed salary schedule
- Copy of passport
- Copy of work permit or asylum certificate
- Proof of UIF declarations
Some employers and their foreign national staff have experienced a delay in payment for April. This is because the system does not recognise foreign ID numbers and cross-validation if required between SARS and the application details. In a bid to expedite payments, UIF has asked SARS to assist with the validation process.
How can I contact UIF or TERS to unblock an account or query the process?
The dedicated TERS hotline can be reached at 0800 030 007. You should phone the hotline to assist with unblocking an account.
To help reduce waiting time, UIF has increased the number of call centre agents to 500 and is in the process of training them to assist with queries and refer callers to the correct information.
UIF is also working to improve email capacity by adding additional email addresses and updating its auto-responses to give more effective and precise information and instructions.
Is it an overpayment if an employee received more than their monthly UIF calculation for the first TERS submission in April?
When the initial lockdown was extended in April, UIF had not yet started to make payments to employers. For this reason, UIF decided to calculate payments for the full 35 days of lockdown (alert level 5), 27 March to 30 April. Therefore, it is not an overpayment if an employee received more than they would for a single month’s benefit and you do not need to pay back the five days in March.
Other messages from UIF:
- There are still outstanding payments for April applicants.
- If you under or over declared, you can resubmit the information and the payment amount will be corrected.
- Click here to access the UIF TERS Troubleshooting Matrix.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), joined the FEDHASA-UIF webinar panel on 20 May to discuss TBCSA‘s continued actions and engagements with government on behalf of the industry.
Will the TERS agreement be extended beyond the current lockdown period (alert level 4) that ends in June?
The agreement between TBCSA and UIF arose as a response to the lockdown period. It is initially for three months, beginning at the start of lockdown on 27 March.
However, the contract has been signed for a full year to allow for extensions, with the understanding that the recovery of the sector will take time. TBCSA will continue negotiations with government and the UIF Commissioner to ensure that our industry is prioritised as the events around COVID-19 continue to unfold.
Securing clarity on the duration of TERS is a priority for TBCSA, knowing that this information is critical for business planning and avoiding retrenchments if possible.
While there is no guarantee of extension at the moment, TBCSA is lobbying government for the best outcome. This week there is a meeting with the president in which TBCSA will represent the industry’s needs.
Department of Employment and Labour amendment to COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme, 30 April 2020
Can employees individually apply for TERS?
In most cases, employers should apply on behalf of their employees.
However, a new amendment to the TERS regulations states that an entity, such as an employers’ association, can apply on behalf of its members, and an employee may individually apply if their employer fails or refuses to apply on their behalf.