Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has signed a direction for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to implement a third extension of the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits.
The UIF will open the system for applications from July 19 and commence payments from July 26.
Payments will, in the main, be made directly to the bank accounts of workers and not, as had previously been the case, through their employers. Employers are, however, still expected to claim on employees' behalf.
This third phase will bring relief for workers who have not been able to work from March 16, owing to Level 1, 2 and 3 restrictions preventing gatherings of a certain number of people, such as in the entertainment industry.
Further, workers who were and or are still impacted upon by the Level 4 restrictions which started on June 28 and workers who have not been able to work owing to the fact that they are over 60 or have co-morbidities and have not been able to work in the period, as well as those who have had to isolate or go into quarantine.
The period the direction covers ends on July 25. The direction follows the announcement by Nxesi three weeks ago that the department intended extending benefits to sectors affected by adjusted alert Level 4 restrictions.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on July 11 that the UIF had embarked on negotiations with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) social partners to address the difficulties faced by employees who lost income under Level 4 restrictions.
“After intense deliberations with social partners at Nedlac, the UIF agreed to open the window for Phase 3 of Covid TERS payments to cover the period between March 16 and July 25,” the department said.