The Employment and Labour Department has expressed satisfaction at the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s disbursement of R5 billion in relief to workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak lockdown.
This comes after the department said it has tweaked its systems to ensure that more pertinent information is available on its online platform for it to operate more efficiently. According to Employment and Labour spokesperson Teboho Thejane, the department upgraded the system to allow employers, employees and organised labour to monitor which companies have been paid.
“This is in respect to several queries where workers have been unable to determine if their companies have applied for and received payment on their behalf from the Department of Employment and Labour COVID-19 Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS),” he said.
“This relieves the overwhelmed call centre as information is available on the fingertips.”
These enhancements have seen the UIF paying just over R5 billion in combined normal and COVID-19 benefits since April 16. As of Wednesday, the UIF has paid more than 1 035 303 workers COVID-19 TERS relief benefits to the tune of R4 109 434 596.70. For normal benefits, the UIF has paid nearly R1 billion. Employers will also now be able to log on and check the status of their claims and see the schedule of the approved claim which shows how much is due to each employee.
“Again, employers have inundated the UIF with requests for information on the exact amounts for different employees,” he explained.
In addition to that, employers who do not know their UIF reference number but know their Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) can now retrieve the UIF number by using their PAYE number. UIF Commissioner Teboho Maruping said as a public service institution, they must ensure that they listen to their stakeholders and make necessary adjustments to make sure those who use their services do so with relative ease and minimal issues.
“We continue to listen to our stakeholders, and we will make a further enhancement to the system in response to the identified needs of our stakeholders,” said Maruping.
The enhancements have also ensured that the online systems for claims capturing, processing and eventual payment have been stress-tested and came out tops with the overflow of applications that have been received.
“At some stage, it looked like our system could not handle the overwhelming interest but we are happy that we have managed to meet the demand and pay in record time – with some people indicating that they have been paid within 24-hours of lodging the claims,” said the Commissioner.
The department urged and continues to urge employers to apply for relief on behalf of their employees. The figures paid to-date represent successful claims submitted by 72 221 employers. However, claims by some 55 169 employers representing 361 557 workers are still in abeyance pending submission of further particulars by employers.
“This means that these workers are missing out on one and a half billion rands (R 1 469 123 104.45) and the Department of Employment and Labour has appealed again to employers to help with further information.”
Edited by: Bradley Brizzy