A cushion for workforce during time of Covid-19

8 April 2020 by Michael Bagraim

The 21-day lockdown which began on March 26 is set to end on April 16, but we have no ways of knowing whether it will be extended.

Certain employees are exempted such as health workers both in the public and private sector, emergency personnel, security services, people involved in production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, maintenance of power, water and telecoms, laboratory services and the provisions of medical and hygiene products.

All employees will require the UI19 and the UI2.7 forms to be completed by the employer. There is an application form UI2.1 and a UI2.8 completed by a bank.

The employer must confirm the company’s shutdown with a temporary lay-off, there must also be a copy of the employees identity documents. Staff cannot claim both the R3500 (National Disaster Benefit) and UIF at the same time.

They can claim illness benefits if quarantined for 14 days. This can be claimed once there is a confirmation letter from both the employer and the employee asking for the special leave (this will take the place of a medical certificate). 

If, however, the employee is quarantined for longer than 14 days, a medical certificate must be submitted with the continuation form UI3. 

  • The Cape Town mailbox is capet.BCP@labour.gov.za, fax 0864397300. 
  • For Joburg, it is Johannesburg.BCP@labour.gov.za, phone number 0864397294. 
  • For Pretoria, it is Pretoria.BCP@labour.gov.za, 086 439 7290.
  • Port Elizabeth is portelizabeth.BCP@labour.gov.za, phone number is 0864397298 and 
  • Durban is durban.BCP@labour.gov.za and 0864397297. 

There are also rapid-response teams who can assist companies in the processing of claims for retrenchments of more than 50 employees. There will be teams in each province.

All the forms can be downloaded from the Department of Employment and Labour website (www.labour.gov.za)

The Western Cape Business Unit manager is Tony Lamati on 0214418054, call Dingaan Basimane (Gauteng) on 0118530303, Gugu Khomo (KwaZulu-Natal) on 0313662012 and Philiswa Madikazi (Eastern Cape) on 0437013342.

The Compensation Fund has also been set up to deal with the virus. Payment for temporary total disablement shall be made for as long as such disablement continues, but not for a period exceeding 30 days. The commissioner has a right to review the cases.

In the event of permanent disablement, the commissioner has a right to assess each case on merit. Online claims must be made through a Compensation Fund: CompEassy (www.labour.gov.za). Manual claims can be emailed to covid19claims@labour.gov.za or call 0860105350.

Section 12(1B); Reduced Work Time: There is a claim which cam be made through UIF.

There is a temporary employer-employee relief scheme (Ters), which can help distressed companies if they meet the key requirements of the UIF. The company must show that it has been compliant with the UIF. Applications can be made under the Ters for wage subsidy. All application forms must be emailed to infoters@labour.gov.za or to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration via mosaB@ccma.org.za. The UIF fund will accept applications via email, fax and drop box.

The Minister of Labour has announced a period of reprieve for companies not to contribute to the UIF and said that the funds temporary employer/employee relief scheme can be used to avoid workers being laid off in the long term.

Workers in essential services must ensure that health and safety risk assessments are done on a regular basis to ensure a healthy workplace.

* Michael Bagraim is the DA’s deputy spokesperson for Employment and Labour.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Source: IOL at https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/opinion/a-cushion-for-workforce-during-time-of-covid-19-45916790