Many companies unclear on salaries relief package

5 May 2020 by Ted Keenan

Agility is one of the keys to business success but unpacking the UIF wage supplements in the Covid-19 stimulated barrage of Government Gazettes and changing business landscapes has created new hurdles for businesses, and often inertia.

Even successful companies were struggling, said Natalie Singer of East London-based Global Business Solutions (GBS).

“GBS has created a team of experts — legal and human capital — that helps businesses make sense of, and react to new Covid-19 business requirements.

“The rules can change fast.

“Our team analyses new regulations and breaks them into easily digestible pieces.

It is essential for businesses to understand and implement changes as they happen, to ensure sustainability now, and into the future

“It is essential for businesses to understand and implement changes as they happen, to ensure sustainability now, and into the future.”

She said GBS offered daily real-time support, incorporating morning webinars and business and legal advisory services, ensuring business leaders had the latest, accurate information to guide their decisions.

Singer said central to GBS’s services had been simplifying the C19 TERS (Temporary Employee/ Employer Relief) Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Many companies still have the wrong impression about the wages and salaries relief package, which supplements a portion or all of salaries or wages.

However, the maximum payment is R6,638 for salaries above R17,700 and the minimum R3,500.

UIF pays over three periods.

The first is for temporary closure for 30 days from the date of lockdown; second for any period of temporary closure during the following 30 days; and third, for temporary closure during the balance of the memorandum of agreement. From the date of confirmation,  employers must inform the UIF if they can pay any portion of wages or salaries.

“Since the announcement, the process has been full of challenges and amended three times due to changing realities of accessing benefits.

“This includes employers asking employees to take annual leave during the national lockdown.”

Singer said businesses should credit the department of employment for its astute handling of the processes, especially the C19 TERS online portal.

The portal, now into its third week and oveovere initial teething process, has processed 55,000 applications from employers, resulting in more than 1.6m people registered for payments.

“UIF officials are very receptive to our engagements. They are working late into the night.”  

However, with huge job-loss clouds hanging over SAA, SA Express and late last week Edcon, she urged companies that had not acted to move fast.

While the call centre has expanded from 75 to 200 operators, there is likely to be a deluge of claims and possible delays.

Adding weight to Singer’s caution for urgency, minister of employment and labour Thulas Nxesi said in an address to parliament on April 23 that “at some stage we will have to rationalise”.

A Google search for TERS UIF shows nearly 60 million recent hits.

Source: DispatchLive at https://www.dispatchlive.co.za/news/business/2020-05-05-many-companies-unclear-on-salaries-relief-package/