The government is in talks to reopen the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) for industries worst affected by the lockdown.
This was announced by Minister of Employment and Labour Thulasi Nxesi on Tuesday.
Nxesi said the department had already paid R60 billion to more than 5 million workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the department was also in talks with stakeholders find surplus funds to address the new lockdown conditions.
Nxesi said the department was trying to heed calls to consider reopening the scheme through the UIF for industries worst hit by the latest lockdown.
“From the side of the UIF we will be able to afford to support laid off workers in sectors which have been closed by the government during the 14 day lockdown priod, particularly the alcohol industry,” Nxesi said.
We have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the financial viability of the UIF in order to meet payment obligations.
“As we have always indicated, UIF has been there when the country needed it the most. All of this was done to support the country and ensure the lockdown does not lead to mass hunger as workers were denied the chance of making a living.”
Ters was originally introduced to support employees whose services were affected by the Level 5 lockdown last year.
There have since been mounting calls for the government to reopen the scheme for businesses and workers that won’t be able to operate over the next 14 days.
The DA and Cosatu have been at the forefront of campaigns challenging the government to avail Ters funds in the wake of the newly announced lockdown.