More than 1.6 million South Africans may get Covid-19 payments – with R1.1 billion now paid

Business Insider SA
  • More than 1.6 million South Africans are covered by applications already made by employers for payments from the UIF's special coronavirus scheme.
  • Some R1.1 billion has already been paid out – and that is with more than 60% of applications still to be processed, as measured by employees.
  • The Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) has seen extraordinary volumes of requests from people needing help, the labour minister says.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

More than 1.6 million South African workers are covered by applications already lodged by companies for special coronavirus payouts, the department of labour said on Monday.

According to broad statistics released by the government, 55,268 employers had asked the state to help pay their employees, at an average of a little under 30 employees per company.

As of 16 April the special Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) had paid out a total of R1.1 billion in Covid-19 support, the department said.

That is after processing applications dealing with some 600,000 employees – which means more than 60% of applications, as measured by employees not fully paid by their employers, are yet to be dealt with.

The process of dealing with applications has not been smooth, the statistic suggest. Around one-fifth of applications from companies considered were not successful because of errors such as incorrect banking details, the department said. Those companies have been told to resubmit their paperwork.

"We have acknowledged that our system was not designed to accommodate the increased volumes of requests that we are witnessing due to the Covid-19," said minister of employment and labour Thulas Nxesi in a statement.

His department has called in help from the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and technology providers.

The UIF has put aside R40 billion to deal with claims around the coronavirus and associated lockup.

TERS payments
The payouts work on the same principle as maternity benefits currently paid by the UIF. If a company can still afford to pay employees a part of their salaries, the TERS money will “top up” these payments – but employees can’t earn more than 100% of their current salaries.

The amounts paid will be a percentage of an employee’s salary, according to a legislated sliding scale from 38% (highest earners) to 60% (lowest earners)

The maximum you will get is R6 730 a month. The sliding scale stops at R17 702: All workers earning more than this will only get the 38% maximum benefit (R6 730). The minimum amount will not be below the minimum wage (around R3 500).

Businesses must have been registered with the UIF before the crisis started to qualify for the benefits. 

Employers who are unable to pay the full salaries of workers during the lock down period must send an email to, and enquiries about the scheme can be made at 0800 030 007.

The UIF can take up to ten business days to review applications.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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