Workers in the agricultural sector whose workplaces were closed due to recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, can soon apply for relief payment. The payment from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) temporary relief scheme will be capped at R6 700.
Musa Zondi, acting spokesperson for the department of employment and labour, tells Food For Mzansi this relief scheme was established to assist workers, including people in the agricultural sector, whose workplaces were closed or destroyed due to recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and where workers received either reduced pay or no pay at all.
“For example, we are well aware that sugarcane farmers were affected and this is the harvesting season, therefore workers have been severely affected. Employers have the responsibility to apply for relief that will be paid directly into the accounts of workers,” he said.
In a statement, the department of employment and labour estimated that more than 75 000 workers have been impacted by the unrest in both provinces.
“The scheme seeks to assist workers in affected businesses. However, every employer who is not yet registered with the UIF will have to register first with the UIF to access the benefit,” reads the statement.
Qualifying employers will be required to apply on behalf of their employees through a process that the UIF will specify. The process will enable employers to make bulk applications and they will be required to meet the following conditions:
- The employer must be registered with the UIF.
- The employer’s closure must be directly linked to the destruction, damage or looting of its workplace.
- The employer must provide details of the destruction, closure or damage to, or looting of, its workplace and submit documentary proof of a report to the South African Police Service, with proof that a case has been opened by providing a case number and, if insured, proof of submission and acknowledgement of receipt of the insurance claim.
- The employer must confirm, in writing or electronically, that he or she accepts the terms of the scheme and any procedure document issued by the UIF and submit any other information that the minister or delegated authority may require to assess eligibility of claim.
- The department also states that payment of the temporary financial relief may only be paid directly into the worker’s bank account unless the UIF commissioner specifies the conditions under which payments can be made into the employer’s account.
Payments will be calculated according to the income replacement rate (a sliding scale of 38%-60%) based on the employee’s remuneration. However, payment will not exceed R6 700 or be below R3 500 per month, or can be “a flat rate as the minister or accounting authority may decide depending on the financial considerations of the UIF”, the statement read.
The department further said that the temporary financial relief is de-linked from the UIF’s normal benefits, therefore the normal credit calculation (a one-day credit for every four days worked) does not apply. This will enable workers with no credits to receive financial support while their workplaces are being rebuilt or reopened.
“The UIF is earnestly reconfiguring its systems for processing of temporary financial relief claims, and an announcement on the claims process and platforms and the date from which claims can be submitted will be made as soon as possible.”
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