R30bn allocated to UIF benefits amid coronavirus outbreak

Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: Moneyweb

Employees will get a minimum wage of R3,500 a month for up to three months.

A total of R30 billion has reportedly been allocated to a special National Disaster Benefit Fund, which will pay Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits for up to three months to qualifying workers amid the coronavirus outbreak that had infected 709 people as of Wednesday morning.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a total lockdown of the country for 21 days from midnight on Thursday that would see all businesses, including all restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops, not operating as they have not been deemed essential services.

While Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi could not disclose the figure of the benefit at a briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Parliamentary Coordinator Matthew Parks told Fin24 workers could be covered at a wage of R3,500 per month for three months.

According to Parks, this was discussed in a meeting between the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) government and business

“Based upon the existing UIF calculations formula, no worker should get less than R3,500, and all workers will be covered if they need help, even if they didn’t have enough funds in their credit profile in the UIF – for example, if they started working two months ago or something like that,” he was quoted as saying.

Because the fund was expected to cover millions of workers, delays could be expected on the release of the money and as a result, it was agreed that the employers should pay the workers and claim back from the UIF fund.

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