Do You Know Your Employment Rights During The COVID 19 Pandemic
As a result of COVID 19 the Minister has set up a COVID 19 TERS relief fund, as highlighted below, which is a separate fund linked to UIF and which every employer is obligated to register for. I set out the salient points below:
The Covid-19 TERS Gazette
Thembelani Waltermade Nxesi, the Minister of Employment and Labour has issued the Covid-19 TERS Gazette which purposes are as follows:
To make provision for:
- Payment of benefits to the Contributors who have lost income due to Covid-19 pandemic;
- Minimize economic impact of loss of employment because of the Covid-19 pandemic;
- Avoid contact and contain the spread of Covid-19 during the process of application for benefit;
- Establish the Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme and set out the application process for benefits of the Covid-19 pandemic and to alleviate economic impact of Covid-19.
The Covid-19 TERS Gazette states that should an Employer as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic close its operations for a 3 (three) month or lesser period and suffer financial distress, the Employer shall qualify for a Covid-19 Temporary Relief Benefit and the benefit shall be de- linked from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s normal benefits. The benefits will only pay for the cost of salary for the Employees during the temporary closure of the business operations and the salary benefits will be capped to a maximum amount of R17 712, 00 per month, per Employee and an Employee will be paid in terms of the income replacement rate sliding scale (38 % -60 %) as provided for in the Unemployment Insurance Fund Act 63 of 2001. Should an Employee’s income determined in terms of the income replacement sliding scale fall below the minimum wage of the sector concerned, the Employee will be paid a replacement income equal to minimum wage of the sector concerned.
Further to the above, to qualify for the TERS benefit the Employer must be registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund and must comply with the online application procedure as set out in the Department’s media statement.
We encourage Employers to remain compliant with labour laws and to take heed of the plea from the Department of Employment and Labour to compassionately engage with Employees in attempt to find reasonable solutions to avoid retrenchment and short time work implementation. If you are an Employer in financial distress due to COVID-19 we can assist you with your TERS application, alternatively if your application is declined we can assist you with cost effective methods to assist your business during this time.
Their website is updated daily, and publishes calls for action or assistance on important topics, such as:
- Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) under Rebate Item 412.11 for Business importing Critical Supplies during the National State of Disaster.
- Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Business to request an update of critical supplies under COVID-19 project as managed on HS Supplies List under ITAC and SARS.
- Companies requested to divert stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Urgent call for businesses to divert PPE inventories to national healthcare sector.
- Business for South Africa, Covid-19: LRN Escalation Procedure.
- Payment of employees during the COVID-19 lockdown.
- Solidarity fund update.
- Statement on lock down regulations.
- Update: COVID-19 testing.
- South African business collaborates with government to reduce COVID-19 risks and economic impacts.
We have also included the following documents to keep you updated.
- Corona Virus Easy Aid UIF.
- Notice of Compensation for Occupationally Acquired Corona Virus under COIDA Amended Act.
- Guidelines for the Workplace.
- Compensation For Occupational Injuries And Diseases – Period of Returns for 2020.
- Compensation For Occupational Injuries And Diseases Increases.
Contact Nicole Ross Attorneys for advice regarding any Labour Law related issues.