Push to extend Ters benefit scheme beyond mid-August
CAPE TOWN - The Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefit might see another extension if the country’s social partners agree.
Business for South Africa (B4SA) yesterday said that the scheme stood a good chance of being extended beyond mid-August if partners in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) had their way.
B4SA said it applauded the “positive and co-operative nature of the engagements on this issue at Nedlac over the past couple of weeks by all the social partners”.
On Monday, the Department of Employment and Labour announced that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefit scheme would be extended until August 15 in keeping with the extension of the Disaster Management Act.
UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping said the benefit structure and criteria would remain the same.
Maruping said that applications for June were open for processing. Details regarding applications for July and part of August were expected to be announced nearer to the time, and the department was “in consultations with the social partners at Nedlac in this regard,” Maruping said.
B4SA said it was hopeful the benefit would be extended to the end of September, even though it appreciated that the current extension coincided with the current timeline of the statutory State of Disaster.
The business lobby group said it also hoped that the UIF would be able to open applications for the July benefit as soon as possible.
Stanford Mazhindu, a spokesperson of the trade union Uasa, said workers were bearing the brunt of the financial implications of the lockdown, and the Ters benefit had gone a long way to assist workers in the difficult times.
Mazhindu said the extension of the scheme was in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s extension of the national state of emergency.
He said given the rapid spread of the pandemic, the state of emergency might be extended, in an announcement to be made a few weeks before August 15.
The current extension of the relief scheme comes as the UIF has put cash in the hands of workers of R34billion in 7.4million payments, while maintaining its normal benefits disbursements that have amounted to R4bn in 677000 payments to beneficiaries since March 26.
B4SA said its Labour Workstream task team, together with representatives of organised labour, was engaging with the UIF daily, in order to unblock a significant backlog in paying out claims for April, May and June.
The Department of Employment and Labour did not respond to further questions by the time of going to print.