Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
15 May 2020
12:33 pm

Labour dept reaches out to domestic workers, farmers over UIF payment

Citizen Reporter

Since the lockdown was announced, the department has through the Unemployment Insurance Fund handed out almost R11 billion in benefits to workers through employers.

23/11/2018, Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi giving a keynote address during the National Stakeholder Forum meeting in Hatfield. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/ANA

The department of employment and labour has begun efforts to reach domestic workers and farmers to enable them to benefit from the Covid-19 relief scheme.

In a statement, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said: “Society is judged by how it tries to take care of the most vulnerable in its midst. This is why government in general and the department of employment and labour in particular, are doing everything in their power to shield the most vulnerable from the worst of the pandemic.”

Since the lockdown was announced, the department has through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) handed out almost R11 billion in benefits to workers through employers.

“We have appealed to employers, especially those who employ domestic workers and farm labourers, to apply on their behalf so that they are not left wanting.

“We sincerely hope that employers, especially in these two sectors heed our call. We have also enlisted the help of a private company which is helping us trace these workers through their cell phones so that they are aware of the benefit and either get the employers to claim on their behalf or reach out to the UIF themselves,” the minister said.

Private company Interfile has offered to run the SMS service to these sectors at no cost to UIF.

The department is currently working on the database it has, to try and reach these workers.

According to department records, at least 91,406 domestic workers are on the database – however, only 2,968 (3%) have their cell numbers listed and only 25,518 (28%) have emails.

“We appeal to employers of domestic workers, those who may have difficulties paying them, to ensure that they access these services as soon as possible. The disbursements from UIF could also act as a top-up for reduced salaries and these are necessary for our mothers and sisters as they really need the break,” said Nxesi.

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