DURBAN – Since the beginning of the national lockdown, measures have been put in place to aid businesses to pay their employees if they are unable to do so. The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) was the financial aid that companies could apply to, for the Covid-19 Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), however, some companies have not paid their employees’ UIF.
It was reported that approximately 725 000 applications failed to receive the Covid-19 UIF funding, for the month of May, as the employees were not registered by the companies they work for. The UIF has appointed auditors to investigate reports of companies stealing the Covid-19 employee pay-outs.
These pay-outs were created to assist companies that had to lay-off their staff temporarily or who could not afford to pay their employees’ salaries.
Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi said in a statement: "It is alleged that there are companies that have not paid the workers what is due to them. We are aware of some companies allegedly loaning employees the money and that is not legal. We are also aware of other companies that are allegedly paying part of the money and not the full amount, as well as companies using the money for something else other than the intended purpose.”
The approximately 725 000 applications of employees that have yet received any Covid-19 UIF pay-outs have information missing from their applications that their companies were supposed to provide.
Nxesi said: "It is tempting to think of this appeal as counter-intuitive in the sense that we would be wanting to save money because it is clear that the demands on the UIF going forward are going to be massive. But we move from the point that it’s important that workers are not disadvantaged and as such, we appeal for the details so that the Fund can help those who need the money or for whom this may be the only source of funds.”