It is cruel and insensitive for employers to not pay their employees after receiving funds from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme.
This practice has been condemned by the Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi.
The minister described the practice as insensitive to the needs of workers, especially when many people are facing financial distress due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown.
The UIF has been inundated with calls from workers complaining that employers have not paid them their benefits, despite having received funds from the UIF.
“I want to categorically state that this is inhumane and employers who are withholding funds meant for workers must immediately release payments. We are in the midst of a global pandemic that has brought the economies of countries to their –knees,” says the Minister.
How to check if your employer has funds
The UIF system has been upgraded to allow employees to check the status of claims submitted by their employers. Employees can access their employers’ records by entering their ID number. They will be able to see how much has been paid to the company and the specific amount paid to them as an employee.
“We have companies that are misrepresenting us by claiming they have not been paid when, in fact, they have,” the minister says.
He referred to a case in which Unibisco – a company in the Eastern Cape – accused the UIF of not having made a payment following its application.
“Our records indicate that this company was paid R539 595 on 24 April to pass on to their workers,” Minister Nxesi says.
How much has been paid to companies
The UIF says it has paid more than R11 billion in relief benefits to over 161 000 employers so that they can pay more than two million employees.
Other payments have been made through the bargaining councils for 56 641 employees, represented by 909 employers. They have been paid R155 481 810.86.
Commissioner of the UIF Teboho Maruping urges companies that have not provided the UIF with the details necessary to enable payments to be made to do so urgently, so that a further 503 629 workers can benefit from the over R2 billion that the department is ready to pay.
Just over R100 million has been held back, pending the provision of the correct details, which is putting these workers and their families in a desperate situation.
The full list of companies paid by the UIF is available on www.labour.govza. You can also reach the UIF at the toll-free number 0800 030 007.