Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
2 minute read
17 Mar 2021
5:00 am

More than R60bn in temporary Covid-19 relief paid out so far

Ina Opperman

The Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme is a special UIF benefit employers can claim to pay employees who are not being paid or paid less as a result of Covid-19.

Image: Shutterstock.

The Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) has paid out close to R60 billion to 267,414 employers after applications opened in March last year.

According to the Department of Employment and Labour 16,992 claims were not paid out for various reasons.

However, one employers organisation, the National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) says its weekly survey found about a quarter of their members had not received their payments for June to October last year.

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NEASA said 24% of employers had not received their payments for June last year, while 30% did not receive their payments for July, 26% did not receive for August, 39% did not receive for September and 41% did not receive payments for October.

In addition, only 77% of those paid in June received full payments, while 68% received full payments in July, 67% in August, 67% in September and 66% in October.

A spokesperson for the department said some claims had not been paid due to discrepancies such as failed bank account verification, incorrect salary details during lockdown and employees who were claimed for but not registered with UIF.

Since April last year, 267,414 employers had been paid in full, he said.

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Unfortunately, corruption also got its claws into TERS and the department had to take steps to recoup money and bring offenders to book. The latest unaudited amount for money that was recouped is just more than R2 billion, while 14 people were arrested for TERS fraud, the spokesperson said.

He was unable to give details about how much money is still left in the fund.

“It is not easy to just give a figure because we have reserves for payment of normal benefits. I can only indicate that we have sufficient funds to cover our liabilities,” he said.

Any UIF-contributing business facing distress that was unable to pay salaries as a result of the lockdown could claim TERS for any employee who works more than 24 hours a month and has an employee relationship with the employer and had been contributing to UIF for at least three months.

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