Business for South Africa (B4SA) has requested a decision reversal following President Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Coronavirus Command Council’s (NCCC's) decision to halt the Covid Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefit.
B4SA says that, “if government believes the remaining Level 1 restrictions are necessary, TERS must be retained”.
The NCCC decision not to extend the TERS benefit “will have serious negative implications for employers and employees, and the economy as a whole,” B4SA stresses.
Under the current TERS direction, the benefit applied to September 15, but B4SA states that Ramaphosa had committed that the benefit would be available until the end of the State of Disaster.
B4SA says there are still significant numbers of employees who are vulnerable and whose employers are unable to implement special measures to ensure their safe return to work, or who are unable to return to work on a full-time basis on account of the current government restrictions under the State of Disaster.
At the suggestion of the National Economic Development and Labour Council and government, the social partners and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) have been engaged in extensive investigations regarding the affordability of extending the benefits, says B4SA.
Those investigations indicate that there are sufficient liquid funds, of R51-billion, available in the UIF to maintain benefits until the end of December, B4SA notes, adding that, as at the evening of October 29, there was a consensus between the social partners and the UIF that every effort would be made to ensure that this is what would happen.
These funds are employee and employer contributions, B4SA notes, stressing that “there are liquid funds available to fund the benefit until the end of 2020”.