Restaurants frustrated by lack of UIF payment
Pretoria - The lack of payment from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to restaurants continues to cause frustration and tension between owners and staff.
This was said by spokesperson for the Tshwane Tourism Association Andy Papadopulo who said the restaurant employment sectors experienced payment delays despite accounts having verified information provided by the restaurants.
He said what makes this whole situation more frustrating was the fact that the government lists publicly the names of restaurants that received UIF payment even when it’s only a portion of the staff that has been paid.
“This also causes some tension or problems because some employees are sitting at home calling the owners asking when they are getting paid.
“However, you find that a restaurant with 30 staff members only received UIF payment for fewer than 10 staff members. Some of the employees even begin to think maybe the owner is withholding money from them.
“This is the situation restaurants are facing and it really doesn’t make things easy because they are also dealing with the stress of severely declined sales. It’s just hard to keep staff members paid when you’re running at a loss this entire time, Papadopulo said.
Owner of Villa San Giovanni at Wonderboom Airport said: “I don’t want to lie, we are in dire straits and this UIF issue is just costing us more because we are paying third parties to help us with claims, but we’re still not winning.
“I have only received payment for 12 employees and 36 are not paid. None of the staff in management were paid and none of the foreign nationals staff were paid so far.
“I opened the restaurant for delivery and to rotate staff so that we can keep them paid for something. I also run Eat In Italian but that one is not open so you can see things are really tough.
“I have submitted about four times for payment from the UIF so I can pay my staff but to date we’re still waiting. We give them R500 so they can at least buy whatever they need. I am part of a group that represents 400 restaurants and every single day we’re coming across different frustrations experienced by other owners.”
Papadopulo said owners of restaurants have been updating their workers so that they know what is happening.
The restaurant owners would have loved for the government to create a platform for restaurant workers to also check with their ID numbers if their individual UIF payments were made. This would not cause misunderstandings.