If you’ve been forced to stop working due to the lockdown, you may be entitled to claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. In South Africa, every person who works more than 24 hours a month must contribute 1% of their salary into the unemployment fund. The employer matches this with 1% of their own.
Previously only employees who lost their jobs or whose working reduced hours could claim unemployment and only if you had sufficient credits. Credits earned were the equivalent of one day for every four days worked.
Recently the government made amendments to the insurance which will allow workers to claim if they have been placed on unpaid leave or if they are receiving only part of their salary. The temporary relief scheme is known as TERS. If a company had registered with the UIF before the crisis it may have compensation for all employees.
Because of the lockdown, the Department of Labour has also made it possible for unemployed claimants to receive their UIF funds without the need to go into the Labour Department offices. Under normal circumstances, unemployed people are required to go into the offices every month to prove that they are still unemployed before any funds are paid. Now claimants will receive an SMS asking them to confirm their banking details and their current employment status. Once that is done the department will transfer the funds electronically into the bank account.