The COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS)
Latest amendments to the COVID-19 TERS regulations say bosses must pay workers who lose wages because of the coronavirus lockdown. Bosses are now legally compelled to get money from the UIF’s TERS fund to pay workers who have been laid off. Workers who were forced to take annual leave can get their annual leave back because bosses can use the scheme to pay them.
Which workers qualify for a TERS benefit?
The scheme says workers who have lost wages because of the coronavirus must get a benefit. It is only workers who have contributed to the UIF who will qualify. Workers who have not contributed to UIF will not get money from TERS, even if it is their company’s fault that they were not registered.
Will workers from only partially shutdown companies also qualify?
A company that lays off only some of its workers but continues to operate must still claim for the workers who were laid off.
What about workers who were forced to take annual leave?
Workers who were forced to take paid leave at the start of the lockdown can now get back some or most of their annual leave days. Their boss must apply to the scheme to get back the money paid to workers as annual leave.
‘No work no pay’
Bosses who forced workers to take unpaid leave must now apply to the UIF’s TERS fund to pay their workers during the lockdown.
How much will workers be paid from the TERS and for how long?
Workers can get between R3 500 and R6 730 per month from the TERS, depending on how much they normally earn. The regulations do not say that workers must have worked a certain number of hours in previous months in order to qualify. R3 500 is the lowest amount that any worker can be paid from TERS, even if they normally have flexible hours.
Workers can get TERS money for up to 3 months, depending on how long the lock down lasts. TERS also allows bosses to top up workers’ wages so that they earn their normal monthly or weekly wages.
Who must claim from TERS, workers or bosses?
TERS says bosses must claim the money from the TERS and then pay workers, although the TERS ‘urges’ bosses to pay workers first and then claim the money back. Workers do not have to fill in any forms to get TERS money.
Workers falling under bargaining councils
Some bargaining councils have made agreements to pay workers the UIF TERS grant. All bosses whose workers fall under these bargaining councils must claim through the bargaining council. Workers will then be paid out by that bargaining council.
A worker in 14-day quarantine because of suspected coronavirus qualifies for a TERS illness benefit. No medical certificate is needed. If the quarantine is longer than 14 days a medical certificate will be needed.
Will claiming a TERS benefit affect workers UIF benefits?
The COVID-19 TERS money paid to workers will not come from their normal UIF benefits.
For more information, visit www.cwao.org.za or phone the CWAO coronavirus helplines:
Edgar – 072 324 7464
Jacob – 072 332 8731
Khongelani – 072 350 1481
Meme – 072 324 3865
Thabang – 072 324 5544
Joshua – 063 818 2868