The Free State Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Assistant Director, Tahlo Sabatane, revealed during a virtual media briefing that the company has approved 51 723 normal benefit claims and paid R671 million to beneficiaries in the Free State during the 2020/2021 financial year.
According to the media release issued by the Department of Employment and Labour, the R671 million is broken down as follows:
- 43 219 unemployment claims worth R603 million;
- 4430 reduced work time claims worth R25 million;
- 3041 maternity claims worth R23 million;
- 1032 illness claims worth R19 million; and
- 1 adoption benefit claim worth R5147.
Sabatane explained that the Covid-19 pandemic came with challenges such as long queues at Labour Centres in the Free State but the following solutions were quickly put in place to ensure that UIF claims are assessed and paid:
- Processing UIF payments without physical submission of continuation forms;
- Accepting applications via email and drop boxes;
- Leverage online platforms for a request for payments;
- Processing bulk applications through a spreadsheet; and
- Appointment of Queue Marshalls to ensure adherence to Covid-19 regulations.
“Our officials also worked overtime on weekends and we extended the working hours to 06:00-18:00 at labour centres to clear backlogs,” added Sabatane.
It is added in the statement that UIF Director: Communication and Marketing, Makhosonke Buthelezi, presented UIF’s Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (Covid-19 TERS), revealing that the fund had disbursed slightly over R62 billion to millions of employees via 780 051 employer applications since the start of the lockdown in April 2020, nationally. He added that common reasons for rejection of claims included deceased employees, duplicate IDs, inmates and incorrect banking details.
He further stated that currently there was no further Covid-19 TERS extension beyond 15 March 2021, however, social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) are discussing the matter and the outcome would be communicated.