Has your employer received Ters payment and not paid it over to you?

On 15 May 2020 the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thula Nxesi, amended the rules of the directives with the objective to make it easier for South African employees to receive financial support from the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS).

There are new changes to the claiming of these Ters benefits which every employee should know about.

The Ters scheme provides for employers who are suffering “financial distress” or hardship as a consequence of the national lockdown and find themselves unable to pay their employees’ salaries at all or partially. The Employers are required to apply for these benefits (which are on the normal UIF benefits) on behalf of their employees for the period that the relief is available and subject to certain criteria.

Employers failure to comply:

We have received many complaints from employees that their employers have not applied for Ters benefits for their employees or some have been paid but have not paid what is due to the employees s or some employers have received the full benefits for its employees but have only paid a portion of it to the respective employees on the basis that these funds will need to be utilised for the following month or some other similar excuse. This conduct by an employer is wholly unacceptable and is in fact unlawful. Should an employee be faced with this he can report the employer’s conduct to the Department of Labour.

The new directives provide that employees may now apply directly for financial assistance where:

  • The employee is a UIF contributor who has lost income due to the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • The employee’s employer has ‘failed or refused’ to apply for Covid-19 benefits;
  • No bargaining council or entity has concluded a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the UIF.

The actual process has not be expanded upon in the directives but it is assumed that it is likely to be the same as where the employer applies on behalf of its employees.

Annual leave

Another important amendment deals with annual leave and how it impacts TERS claims.

Where an employer has required an employee to take annual leave during the period of the lockdown in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, it may set off any amount received from the UIF in respect of that employee’s Covid-19 benefit against the amount paid to the employee in respect of annual leave.

This is subject to the proviso that the employee is credited with the proportionate entitlement to paid annual leave in the future.

Another important aspect is that the directive urges employers to pay employees first before claiming reimbursement or setting-off the claim through the UIF in order to speed up the process to accessing the benefits.

Any company that was a contributor to the UIF before 15 March is allowed to apply for the TERS scheme. This means that all businesses with employees, from spaza shops to hair salons, domestic workers etc. can apply for this relief in other words anyone who is registered with UIF can apply for this relief.

NB: Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Should you require more information on this topic or any issue arising out of this please contact Allardyce & Partners on 011-234 2125 or enquiries@www.allardyce.co.za



UIF has developed a hotline number: 012 337 1997 for Covid–19 TERS Benefit enquiries and/or complaints. 

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