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Nedlac on Wednesday endorsed the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) proposals on how the COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme will be extended to sectors still affected by lockdown regulations.

The proposals also deal with response plans for the employees with comorbidities and those over 60 who cannot be reasonably accommodated at work. To date, the Fund has disbursed R58 billion to millions of workers.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the UIF said good progress was being made with regards to working out the details of the extension of the benefits.

The Fund also made proposals on how employees who have had to self-isolate or quarantine can claim income replacement – which proposals were welcomed by the social partners.

“These also include identification of which sectors would benefit as well as how many payment iterations or tranches there will be. The UIF confirmed that sectors ranging from tourism to hospitality and sectors involved in the manufacturing, sale, dispensing, distribution and transportation of liquor would be covered,” said the Fund.

“The social partners, working with the UIF, will ensure that sub-sectors and other business activities in certain value chains will be included in the list.”

Acting UIF Commissioner Marsha Bronkhorst in the statement said the business constituency has been tasked to review the proposed sectors to ensure that all business or establishments who are affected in one way or another are covered in this extension.

The Nedlac social partners agreed to two payment iterations in the new extension, the first will be for the period between 16 October to 31 December 2020 and the second from 1 January to 15 March 2021.

UIF has already started with systems configuration to accommodate the processing and payments for the first payment iteration.

“We aim to open the system for processing of applications for the first period (16 October to 31 December 2020) by the first week of March 2021,” reads the statement.

The UIF will announce once the system is open for applications and will also provide easy aid guides and frequently asked questions to assist applicants with application processes.

UIF urges employees to report employers withholding COVID-TERS payments or any suspected fraudulent activity via the following fraud hotline contacts:  0800 212 799, uif@thehotline.co.za, or SMS line 30916.

SAnews.gov.za

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