Employee Benefits: temporary employee relief scheme from UIF & free life cover for healthcare workers from Old Mutual

 In Articles, Blogs

The emergence of the Corona virus pandemic has created many problems throughout the country for employers and employees alike. But the Government, along with Old Mutual, has developed special benefits to help employers, employees, and health workers overcome the worst of this dramatic economic downtime.

Old Mutual and free Life Cover Benefits for Healthcare workers

“We were compelled to respond to the immediate need by our employees and by our responsibility as the country’s leading insurer.” ~ interim Old Mutual CEO, Iain Williamson.

Old Mutual is providing R4bn worth of free life cover for healthcare workers on the front-lines of the Covid-19 outbreak. The cover is not a product nor a policy, and no premiums will be recovered from it. The cover includes R10,000 payable in the event of the death of qualifying healthcare workers. It will run from April 1 to December 31 2020, and is intended to provide relief to families who may lose a loved one during this period. The cover, available to qualifying categories of members who are registered with the Healthcare Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA), as well as all registered practitioners of the SA Nursing Council (SANC), has no exclusions, and will include death related to any cause.

COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (C19 TERS)

In view of the Presidents declaration of the National Disaster on 15 March 2020 in respect of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Employment and Labour has issued a Directive called the COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (C19 TERS).
C19 TERS is a special benefit created under the UIF to cater for situations where it will not be economically possible to pay employees as a consequence of the lockdown.

The purpose of this benefit is to make provision for:

  • Payment of benefits to the Contributors who have lost income due to COVID-19 pandemic; Minimising the economic impact of loss of employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic; Avoiding contact and containing the spread of COVID-19 during the process of application for benefits.
  • Establishment of the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme and setting out the application process for benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic, and alleviating economic impact of COVID-19.
  • Provision of online applications for benefits in order to avoid contact during the national disaster period.
  • The benefit will apply to employees who have lost income by being temporarily laid-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If a company can only pay a percentage of salaries, they can apply to this fund for the remainder to top it up.

Qualifying Criteria:
In order for a company to qualify for the temporary financial relief scheme, it must satisfy the following requirements:

  • The company must be registered with the UIF.
  • The company must comply with the application procedure for the financial relief scheme.
  • Closure must be directly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specific Terms of C19 TERS:

  • Should an employer as a direct result of COVID-19 close its operations for a period of three months or less, and suffer financial distress as a consequence, the employer will be able to qualify for this benefit.
  • The benefit is not linked to the UIF’s benefits and the rules applicable to the accumulation of benefits will not be applicable to the benefit.
  • The benefit shall only pay the cost of salary for the employees during the temporary closure of the business subject to the maximum benefit of R17,712.00 per month per employee.
  • The employee will be paid in terms of the income replacement rate sliding scale as contained the Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001.
  • Qualifying employees will receive a benefit calculated in terms of sections 12 and 13 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, provided that an employee shall receive a benefit of no less than sector specific minimum wage.

Illness Benefit:

  • Employees who have been quarantined for 14 days due to COVID-19 shall qualify for illness benefit.
  • Confirmation from both the employer and the employee must be submitted together with the application as a proof that the employee was in an agreed pre-cautionary self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Should an employee be quarantined for more than 14 days, a medical certificate from a medical practitioner must be submitted together with continuation form for payment.

Application procedure:

  • Caring and responsible employers that are unable to pay the full salaries of the workers they send home for their health and safety due to the lockdown are encouraged to apply for the Covid-19 TERS Benefit from the UIF by sending an email to covid19ters@labour.gov.za
  • Upon sending the email, applicants will receive an automated reply which outlines all the steps and details, including the requirements to claim benefits. During the lockdown period, manual claims will not be accepted to reduce contact between people, and to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
  • The benefit is paid on a sliding scale, from 38% of the salary to a maximum threshold of R17,712.00 per month. If a company can only pay a percentage of salaries, they can apply to this fund for the remainder to top it up.
  • The employer shall be required to furnish the Unemployment Insurance Fund with the following completed documents: Letter of authority from the company; A signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) from the employer or Bargaining Council with the UIF.

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Find out how you can benefit at: www.empfinsolutions.com

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