Domestic workers can now get coronavirus cash from the UIF – even if they're not registered

Business Insider SA
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  • Domestic workers who have not been registered for UIF are now also entitled to a special Covid-19 benefit during the lockdown period.
  • They could get a minimum amount of R3,500 a month during the lockdown.
  • But they need to have been employed for at least 24 hours a month by a single employer.
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Hundreds of thousands of domestic workers who are not registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) can now claim special Covid-19 payouts.

As part of the Covid-19 Temporary Relief scheme (TERS), workers who are put on unpaid leave, have been laid off temporarily, or whose employers can’t afford to pay their full salaries are all entitled to the special payout from the UIF.

The minimum amount paid is R3,500 a month during the lockdown period.

Until now, only employees who were registered by their employers for UIF could receive these payments. The UIF has paid out TERS benefits to only 14,113 registered domestic workers since last month.

But on Tuesday, government gazetted a new rule that all employees who have never been registered by their employers as required by the Unemployment Insurance Act, can now also claim TERS cash.

The Act requires that all workers who work for an employer for more than 24 hours per month must be registered for UIF.

Makhosonke Buthelezi, director of communication and marketing at the UIF, confirmed that unregistered domestic workers will also get the payouts.

By some estimates there are more than one million domestic workers in South Africa.

As the function of TERS is to support lost income, domestic workers should be eligible for a payment in April – as they weren’t allowed to work during that stage of lockdown, says Amy Tekié of the Izwi Domestic Workers Alliance.

Domestic workers should eventually be able to apply online on the TERS platform to register for the payout. But Tekié says the application process for domestic workers is not yet in place - and indications are that it could take up to three weeks to be finalised. 

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