Businesses who were on the verge of retrenching their employees due to the fact that they are struggling to stay afloat will get relief through a strengthened Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says relief will be given to struggling businesses as the department gets reconfigured to save and create jobs.
The Minister said this when he tabled the department’s Budget Vote to a mini plenary of the National Assembly on Friday morning.
“As part of the reconfiguration of the Department to give effect to the additional employment mandate, the Labour Activation Programmes, funded by the UIF, were refocused to contribute directly to job creation and preservation,” he said.
Nxesi said the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will strengthen the normal TERS to give relief to struggling businesses to save jobs.
“Typically, businesses that have notified the CCMA of their intention to retrench, would then be invited to apply for support from the UIF normal TERS, and where approved referred to Productivity SA to develop sustainable business strategies.
“From 2020/21, the UIF has invested R104 million to assist distressed businesses,” he said.
CCMA records unprecedented retrenchment notices
The Minister said, meanwhile, that the CCMA has, in the financial year that ended on March 31, received an unprecedented number of retrenchment notices.
“The CCMA has recorded an unprecedented number of referrals of Section 189A (retrenchment) matters.
“The processes facilitated by the CCMA in 2020/21 resulted in 42% of notified at-risk jobs being saved: some 58,000 jobs.”
He said the UIF Labour Activation Programme targets for 2021/22 includes training 12 000 young people; targeting 41 000 UIF contributors for job retention or re-employment; as well as supporting SMMEs and establishing 30 cooperatives.
“In 2020/21, under the normal TERS programme, Productivity SA supported 25 companies at a cost of R5.6 million directly saving 3 000 jobs.
“Productivity SA’s Business Turnaround and Recovery Programme capacity will be further enhanced in 2021/22 to support 191 companies at a cost of R115 million, saving some 10 000 jobs.”
The Minister said, meanwhile, that the COVID-19 TERS benefit, which started paying out from April 2020, has, as at 31 March 2021, made payments to 267 000 employers and to 5.4 million individual employees at a cost of R 58.7 billion – providing support to laid-off workers, their families and communities across the country.