nxesiBusinessLive reports that the government is putting measures in place for payment of unemployment insurance benefits to workers affected by Covid-19 through their companies and bargaining councils.  

Some two weeks ago, employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi announced that the government would use the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to ease the burden on employees and employers during the coronavirus pandemic.  The minister also said at the time that distressed companies would receive a period of reprieve from UIF contributions and would be helped to avoid layoffs through the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme.  On Tuesday, Nxesi said because the labour centres could not deal with the “millions of individual claims” during this period, “we have put in place systems to pay out UIF benefits through companies, sectoral associations and bargaining councils”.  Last week, the clothing manufacturing bargaining council announced that parties in the sector had reached a “groundbreaking agreement” that would allow workers to receive their salaries during the lockdown period.  Accordingly, payment to the industry’s 80,000 workers would be made up of UIF monies and employers funds, while the bargaining council would be the institution for the distribution of payments to workers through company payroll systems.  Nxesi appealed to other sectors including the banking industry “to agree to this arrangement”, as he wanted to move away from the traditional model of claiming through the labour centres.


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