Life is unpredictable, and often circumstances outside of our control can lead to unfortunate outcomes. In South Africa, amidst a huge battle with Covid-19 and attempts to contain the virus outspread, the country is suffering from the increasing rates of unemployment, which has reached 30%.
Being unemployed can be incredibly overwhelming and stressful. To help reduce the potentially devastating effects of not having an income, South Africa has an Unemployment Insurance Fund.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has been established to provide short-term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of illness, maternity or adoption leave.
How UIF is funded
Employers are required by law to register with the UIF. It is the duty of an employer to make sure that all employees are registered with the UIF. Each employee then pays 1% of their salary to the fund, and employers match that 1%. So, there is a monthly contribution of 2% to UIF.
If an employee has been registered and the contributions are paid, then that employee will be able to claim from the fund.
All employees may claim from the UIF, except for:
Ø employees that work less than 24 hours a month;
Ø employees in the national or provincial Government;
Ø employees that do not comply with the law; or
Ø employees suspended from claiming benefits from the UIF, for example, when making false statements, committing fraud, not informing the UIF that they were re-employed, and so on.
The UIF provides five types of benefits:
Ø Unemployment benefits;
Ø Illness benefits;
Ø Maternity benefits; Adoption benefits;
Ø Dependants’ benefits.
How an employee can claim benefits from the UIF
Step 1: Visit the department of labour to sign an unemployment register. You will need documents; the types of documents you need will depend on the benefit you are applying for. Documents include:
Ø an ID, a payslip as proof of income, your banking details, certificate of service, medical certificates, adoption order, birth certificate, marriage certificate, and/or death certificate (Safety Tip: do not leave the original documents with the UIF, only copies).
Step 2: It will be necessary to complete and submit a claim form. You can only apply:
Ø If you are unemployed for longer than 14 days, but not longer than 12 months
Ø If you are ill for more than 7 days, the application must be made within the first 6 months of becoming ill.
Ø If you are employed for a minimum of 13 weeks, you can claim maternity benefits. The claim can before giving birth or within the first 12 months of giving birth.
Ø If you are adopting, only one parent can apply for adoption benefits if the child is 2 years and younger. The claim must be submitted in the 12 months of the court order for the adoption to be granted.
Ø If an employee passes away, the claim must be made within the first 18 months of the passing.
Step 3: Assist the investigation by providing the claims officer with any additional information.
Step 4: Always follow up on the investigation of your claim and whether or not it claim was approved.
Step 5: Collection of your claim will be available at the employment office where the claim was submitted or at the employment office indicated on the claim form.
When an employee can NOT claim UIF
The fund is reserved for employees who have involuntarily lost their job or who cannot work due to pregnancy, illness, or the death of an immediate family member.
This means that you cannot claim if:
Ø You were suspended from your job because you committed fraud or another criminal act;
Ø You voluntarily quit your job;
Ø You refused required training or advice;
Ø You already qualify for a benefit from an unemployment fund under the Labour Relations Act; and
Ø You are already receiving benefits from any other scheme established by the Labour Relations Act.
Are you looking to apply for UIF anytime soon? We’ll have some tips for you! Make sure you have all your documents in order. Skips the queues and use uFiling.
uFiling is an online system that provides to employers to register, proclaim and payout UIF contributions. The system also enables employees to apply for all UIF claims.