Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has hailed the improved Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) systems, where Covid-19 relief payments can now be paid directly into a worker’s bank account.
Nxesi said in a statement: “Of importance is that we have now started paying workers directly to their bank accounts, not through employers only. What this means is that workers do not have to wait until employers transfer their benefits to their accounts.
“While the claim is submitted by the employer who would have all the information that is pertinent to make the payments, the actual payment goes straight to the account of the worker, thus eliminating a further waiting period.”
As of Thursday the UIF had processed just over R800 million, benefiting 195,521 workers represented by 8,495 employers.
Just over 2.2 million workers have received relief packages during this lockdown, with the total amount paid out since 16 April just below R13 billion.
“The fact that this week we paid 45,547 employees in claims submitted by 5,975 employers to the tune of R211 million directly means that we are fine-tuning our systems and improving on our response times with regard to payments,” Nxesi said.
The call centre now has 500 agents, handling up to 70,000 calls per day.
“Already, we are at the stage where, if the application is complete, accurate and valid, at best the department will process payment within 24 hours and worst, in 48 hours. We are working hard to ensure that our systems respond to and accommodate the needs of our prime stakeholders, the workers,” the minister said.
(Compiled by Sandisiwe Mbhele)