UIF to employers: Let us pay Ters benefits directly to employees

While commissioner lambasts rumours that the fund is not paying foreign workers.
Selecting to have the funds paid into employees’s bank accounts will speed up the process. Image: Supplied

The Unemployment Fund (UIF) advises employers to select having the Covid-19 Ters (temporary employer/employee relief scheme) benefit paid directly into employees’ bank accounts to fast-track these payments.

This was recommended by the fund on Thursday after it confirmed that applications for Ters benefits claims for May are now back online.

This followed a damaged fibre link between the UIF offices and the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita) putting paid to plans for the platform to go live on Tuesday.

Green light

UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping says the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) partners have given the fund the green light to pay claims directly to employees.

“The Nedlac partners have given UIF a mandate to pay directly into the employees’ bank accounts in order to avoid delays and to deal with complaints where employers were alleged to be withholding the money or underpaying employees.”

Maruping says in order for the much-needed payments during the pandemic to be successful, it is “critical” for employers to provide clear and accurate banking details of employees.

Maruping says the option to pay the funds to employers, bargaining councils or industry associations is still available.

However, the UIF advises employers to select paying directly into employees’ accounts to fast track payments to employees.

Outstanding claims

Maruping says the UIF is working around the clock to finalise outstanding claims for April.

“The new features in the system will enable applicants to make corrections on the previous submissions and that will assist in fast-tracking the finalisation of outstanding applications for April.”

Corrections may also be made on rejected applications, which can then be resubmitted.

“The system will make it easier to resubmit because in cases where the information has not changed, the claim will be processed immediately on confirmation by the employer. But if the information has changed, employers will be required to capture employees’ details directly on the system or attach the CSV file,” Maruping says.

Payments to foreigners

Maruping disputes accusations that the UIF is not paying claims to foreign nationals, says the fund has paid up to R100 million to 23 000 foreign nationals declared on the database.

It is continuing to validate and process these claims. “We want to assure every employer and employee of our commitment to settle every outstanding claim still in our system as soon as possible,” Maruping says.

Shane Johnson, a professional support lawyer at Webber Wentzel, says foreign nationals may apply for the benefit “if they have a work permit and they are registered as contributors to the UIF”.

The following is necessary for the May submissions to be successful:

  • Proof of Ters payment to employees for April such as electronic bank statement or a letter of acknowledgement of payment between employer and employee;
  • Re-upload employer bank confirmation letter or latest bank statement;
  • Signed approval or acceptance letter received from the UIF for April payments between employer and employee.

Applicants who would like to check the status of their application can follow the steps in this link.

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Regarding the decision for May payment to be made directly to employees. This is a good step for employees with banking accounts.

Our domestic worker, a gardener, is a Malawian citizen with a valid ZA work permit. He has thus far declined to open a banking account, preferring that we use ABSA’s “ÇashSend” process, which is effective but somewhat user intensive, and surely too much so for the UIF authorities.

Does anyone know if this new May month process makes any provisions for employees who do not have banking accounts?

The Dept if Labour is totally out of their depth.

Is the UIF trying to shift some blame for delays here?

As a company accountant I will rather do the paperwork myself and have it go through the company thanks.

They are so trying to shift blame. I elected from the start to have my employees paid directly, completing all documentation correct in mid April. Some staff have yet to be paid. I have now been told that for May submissions, I have to give them an affidavit stating that the staff have been paid (information that they have on their very own system) before they will accept my May submissions. W.T.F.

We got the payment for all our employees within 24 hours in April, but then also had to sign the affidavit that the money had been received, which we did immediately afterwards. We have not claimed for May. It is just their system.

I have full confidence in Minister Thulas Nxesi, who, at a press conference not long ago, told the whole nation that a swimming pool is in fact a fire pool.

Since the May payments are now open, does that mean that those who are eligible and were not paid in April will get double benefit? I’m staying with two foreigners who work in the same company and have valid work permit, paying UIF according to their payslips. They haven’t been paid and are relying on me for assistance. Please try to fast track the payments of those who haven’t been paid in April.

Cant register my employees on Ufiling – just need a password reset. 2 weeks and waiting and no response. tried over 5 different mailboxs for support and numerous calls.

The people that are assisting the dept of laboour from other Gov departments are useless, only know how to give you an email address and tell you to wait.

We have an employee with a Zim passport who has been registered with the UIF and payments have been made every month on the EMP201 but Ters is still not paying out for this person !

The UIF has NOT paid employees who do not have an SA ID number. We received payment for all our employees for April, EXCEPT those with foreign passport numbers. And here I am referring to Zimbabweans with valid permanent residence permits for whom monthly contributions have been made to UIF for many years!

Why not exempt employers from paying UIF for 2 months, provided that the saving was actually paid to the employee?Itwould be self policing by the employee and no extra paper work for the Fund

Self-policing might be an answer going forward, but it certainly never worked in the past. Why wasn’t every single qualifying employee, and every single qualifying domestic worker, registered for (and paying over) UIF long before the lockdown? It has been mandatory for years. How many employees complained to the UIF that no deductions were coming off their salaries or wages?

One of the very few silver linings that might come out of this, is that companies and other employers (including people who employ qualifying domestic workers) who blatantly ignore tax, UIF, workmens compensation, and other regulations – which are supposed to be for the benefit of all employees – might be brought to account, and forced to look after their staff properly.

Of course, this assumes that none of the money is diverted along the way into paying for firepools or private jets. So perhaps it is a pipe dream, after all. Or at least, it would be, if smoking was allowed.

2% is hardly going to make any difference.

Well make it 6 months then. No system will prevent fraud by the Government or an employer but at least it will be self monitoring and will catch those employers who are not paying.

Liers. I’m a foreign national who was denied purely on nationality grounds. Yest I pay my contributions monthly without fail. I am legally in SA on a critical skills work visa. They must just admit that they are out of their depths and have not planned for a scenario like this.

End of comments.

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