There appears to be extensive confusion regarding the two types of UIF claims during the lockdown. The previous article published lists the information required for the employer to kickstart the process so that the employer can submit a claim when the Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme TERS route is utilised.
The first type of claim is called TERS. This is the COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (TERS). It is a scheme where employers claim on behalf of their employees who have lost income due to COVID-19. The employee does not fill in any documents as part of this process.
The second type of claim is called Reduced work time / Short Term Closure benefits. This is where the employees claim for themselves when a company shuts down for a certain period or implements reduced working hours / short time / lay-offs. The employee fills in ordinary UIF forms as part of this process (with some help from the employer on certain forms).
The differences between the two types of claims are as follows:
1. Doesn’t use employees’ UIF credits
2. Application is done by employer – no forms completed by employees
3. Ensures that low paid workers get at least the minimum wage for their sector
4. Is likely to be paid out quicker than the normal UIF claims
5. Can be claimed for up to 3 months
Reduced work time / Short Term Closure benefits:
1. Uses the employees’ credits
2. Application is done by the employee (with the employer’s assistance in completing some of the forms)
3. Claim payouts could be less than the minimum wage for the sector
4. Will probably be paid according to normal UIF turnaround times
5. Can be claimed for up to 12 months
Requirements for the employer to apply for TERS:
• Company registered with UIF
• Closure must be directly linked to COVID-19
• Employees must not be paid by the employer during the closure
• The employer must follow the application procedure – send email reporting the closure to firstname.lastname@example.org and automatic response will be received explaining the process. The dedicated phone line for TERS queries is: 012 337 1997 and they operate from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.
Requirements for the employee to apply for Reduced work time / Short Term Closure benefits:
• Form UI-19 – to be completed by employer – “Employers Declaration of Employees for the Month of” – termination code must be 17 – “reduced work time”
• Form UI-2.7 – to be completed by employer – “Employer Declaration” (response to coronavirus)
• Letter from employer confirming that company shutdown or reduced working time/temporary lay-off is due to coronavirus
• Form UI-2.1b – to be completed by employee – “Employee Declaration” (response to coronavirus)
• Verified bank statement from Internet banking can be provided instead of Form UI-2.8
• ID copy
The claim can be done online using uFiling (https://www.ufiling.co.za) – this is the recommended method – you use the unemployment benefits tab on the website. Here is the guide for the online claims.
Alternatively, the forms can be submitted to the nearest UIF processing centre via email for manual processing.
The UIF has said that both claims cannot be done at the same time. It makes sense for every employer to first consider claiming TERS before letting their employees claim using their own benefits.
Be safe and practice social distancing during this lockdown phase.
Author Craig Tonkin