Employees of a company which has to close for three months or less because of the Covid-19 pandemic would qualify for the Ters benefit, provided:
– the employer is registered with the UIF;
– the employer complies with the application procedure; and
– the company’s closure is directly linked to Covid-19.
Werksmans said on its website that the benefit would be based on a salary up to a maximum of R17,712 a month for each employee, and an employee would be paid a percentage (38%-60% depending on income) as set out in the Unemployment Insurance Act.
At no time can the salary paid fall below the minimum wage in a particular sector. As the benefit is not linked to the UIF’s normal benefits, the rule that workers accumulate one day’s credit for every four days worked to the maximum 365 days payable for every four years worked will not apply.
Applications will be subject to the fund’s usual verification and validation processes.
Where a company can still afford to pay part of a salary, the payout will work the same as maternity benefits, and Ters will top up earnings to a set sliding scale.
In addition to benefits when an employer closes, if employees are ordered to go into quarantine for 14 days because they have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, the employee will qualify for illness benefits.
Earlier last week, labour lawyer and DA deputy shadow minister of labour and employment, Michael Bagraim, expressed concern that there wasn’t enough time to get the new initiative up and running.
He said he worried about individuals who don’t have easy access to the internet and the fact that they can’t queue at the department for help.