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UIF-Ters benefits extended until August 15

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From Times Live: The department of employment and labour has extended the Covid-19 Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) benefit until August 15.

This was confirmed by deputy minister Boitumelo Moloi during a virtual presentation of the employment and labour department budget vote on Tuesday.

Last month, the department indicated the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) would pay workers their relief payments under the Covid-19 Ters scheme until the end of June. The payments were intended as a stopgap for three months, until such time that the lockdown restrictions were eased and the economy slowly reopened.

Moloi said in response to the lockdown, and in line with government’s call for social solidarity, a complete repurposing of the UIF was required to provide income support to temporarily laid-off workers on an unprecedented scale.

“To date some R34 billion in benefits has been distributed through employers in 7.4-million  payments to recipients. This was in line with the commitment to provide income support for three months,” Moloi said.

She said during the same period, a further R4bn was disbursed in normal UIF benefits in 677,000 payments to beneficiaries.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that, following due diligence and consultation with the UIF actuaries, and in line with the president’s decision to extend the life of the Disaster Management Act until  August 15, we have taken the decision to similarly extend the Covid-19 Ters benefit until 15 August 2020,” Moloi said.

She said the benefit structure and existing criteria remained the same.

“Applications for April and May will be closed by the end of July 2020, although applications already received for these two months will be processed,” she said.

Moloi assured minister Thulas Nxesi, who was hospitalised on Monday with Covid-19 symptoms, and other department officials who are battling the illness that the country was in solidarity with them.

The deputy minister said the department had registered 134 active Covid-19 cases. She said 705 department employees were in quarantine.

Six officials had died as a result of Covid-19, she said.