Employers cannot force workers to take annual leave during lockdown - Labour minister
Cape Town - Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says his department has received numerous complaints about employers attempting to shift the financial burden of the 21-day lockdown onto employees. Nxesi said that this was being done by various means, including insisting that workers use their annual leave allocation during this period.
Nxesi said that some workers had complained they were being forced to take unpaid leave during the lockdown.
Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, Nxesi reiterated that the government had made funds available to businesses to mitigate some of the losses experienced due to the shutdown.
“As a department we have issued a directive explaining the process to follow and the kind of benefits employees will be entitled to under the Unemployment Insurance Fund. We have also announced a national Covid-19 Benefit Fund that the UIF has put in place as an instrument to mitigate effects the layoff of workers during the lockdown.
“It is important though that all parties must understand that the UIF cannot deal with the millions of individual claims that will come through at the same time. This will lead to delays in the processing.
“Rather, we have put in place systems to pay out UIF benefits through the companies, sectoral associations and bargaining councils, including, but are not limited to, sectors like tourism and small businesses,” Nxesi said.
He added discussions with the tourism and travel sector was under way and would be concluded by the end of the week.IOL