Labour department denies lockdown relief deadline claims
Pretoria – The Employment and Labour Department on Thursday refuted claims that it has reached its deadline in processing relief claims during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“We would like to make it clear that we have not reached the deadline yet. The period will depend on the memorandum of understanding signed, but it shall not exceed three months, which is the period given for the Covid-19 (Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme) TERS relief benefit,” said director-general Thobile Lamati.
The department said that in the last two days, they have seen a spike in online traffic, which resulted in a slowness on the entire system.
The department also encouraged people to continue applying for lockdown relief benefits for the foreseeable future until the department indicated otherwise.
"The fund has also improved the functionality of the online system to enable employers, employees and organised labour to be able to see which companies have been paid."
The department said this was because the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has received a number of queries where workers have been unable to determine if their companies have applied for and or received payment on their behalf.
The department said since April 16, UIF has paid out R 4 473 126 648.12 in lockdown relief scheme for the benefit of 1 110 729 workers.
“We are, however, still worried that there are 384 239 workers who may be disadvantaged because their details on our systems are missing and therefore cannot access the relief.
"More than one-and-a-half-billion rand (R1 574 564 427.30) is being held by the fund as it awaits further particulars from employers,” Lamati said.
The department said the fund continued to pay normal benefits, with over R1 014 780 488.86 paid to 62 213 claimants in April. This has been broken down as follows:
* Unemployment benefits for 49 770 recipients to an amount of R811 824 391.09;
* Maternity benefits to 9 332 recipients to an amount of R152 217 073.33;
* Dependant benefits covering 1 866 beneficiaries to an amount of R30 443 414.67; and
* Illness and Adoption benefits for 1 245 beneficiaries to an amount of R20 295 609.77
African News Agency (ANA)