UIFThe Star reports that some workers who are forced to stay home because of the nationwide lockdown might also face poverty, as payments from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) might not be processed on time.  

Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) spokesperson Thembinkosi Mkhaliphi advised on Thursday that private companies were not obliged to pay salaries upfront.  Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi on Wednesday announced the UIF would compensate the workers affected by the lockdown through the Illness and Reduced Work Time benefits.  Mkhaliphi said it was understandable that during the lockdown companies would experience cash-flow problems as there would be no production.  He indicated that even though the DEL had appealed to companies to approach the UIF for assistance, they were not obliged to do so.  “Those workers should on their own apply for UIF but it’s going to take a bit longer to claim the money from the UIF,” he advised.  The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said while it supported the lockdown, the government did not adequately consult with the union before implementing the measures that would affect workers.  Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said:  “We demand and call on the government to ensure that workers across all sectors of the economy are guaranteed full pay during this 21-day shutdown.  We reject the notion that employers use workers’ wages to pay them through paid leave.”  Thulani Nkosi of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) said domestic workers should also be paid because the lockdown was not their fault.

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