How to claim for maternity UIF without losing your cool

Claiming for maternity UIF benefits successfully will require that you equip yourself with information.

According to the government of South Africa as an employed female contributor to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), you can apply for maternity benefits when you go on maternity leave. To qualify for the benefits, you must be receiving less than your normal wages while you are on maternity leave.

As if moms don’t have enough to deal with during the nine-month period of pregnancy, often one of the other major stressors is planning for maternity leave and applying for maternity UIF benefits as part of this. Many women who have gone through this process have experienced frustration with the delays caused by the system’s bureaucracy. Take these five steps to ensure to make this process easier:

Who can claim:

You must be a South African citizen and have a bar-coded ID Book. Moms, who pay UIF every month, can claim UIF maternity benefits, from the department of labour for four months.

Self-employed individuals, who are members of a closed corporation or a company, may claim maternity UIF. If you are adopting a child under the age of two years, you may also claim maternity UIF. Foreign nationals with a valid passport who fulfil all other UIF criteria may also claim.

Create a UIF maternity claim folder on your desktop:

This folder then becomes the singular place where you save all the documents that you have filled out, scanned and submitted as part of your claim. Having all submitted documents on hand will come in handy should you later on be told you need to resubmit one or two of them.

Call the UIF to check your employment history:

The money you receive from the UIF when you are on maternity leave is a reimbursement of the money that our employer deducts of your salary toward UIF insurance each month. Over the years if you have worked for different employers they would have been deducting the money of your salary and would appear on the department of labour’s records as a UIF contributor under your profile.

Before you submit your claim, call the department and check that the employment record they have for you is up to date. Then ensure that each employer they have listed on the system under your name completes a UI.19 form for you. This is because if they were a contributor, part of your maternity monies will be from contributions made while y0u worked for them.

Get your claim documents together:

Before workers can claim, they must get the following documents ready:
  • 13-digit bar-coded ID or passport
  • form UI-2.8 for banking details
  • form UI-2.7
  • form UI-2.3 (application form)
  • medical certificate from a doctor or birth certificate of the baby and form UI-4 (follow-up form)

Tip! Make sure all the writing on your documents is legible.

Submit your claim:

Submit all the required documents on the day that your maternity leave starts. You cannot submit before that as the department of labour will not take it. You can submit online on or go to your nearest Labour Centre. Once successful your claim should be paid out within 6-8 weeks of your application.

Tip! Ensure that you follow up on the status of your claim. This will ensure that you know if there are any issues that may be preventing y0ur claim from moving forward.

How long will it take for you get paid:

You can claim UIF benefits for a maximum of 121 days (four months). If you have been contributing to UIF for the last four years, you are entitled to four months of UIF maternity leave. For every six months worked, you can claim one month of UIF maternity benefits from the department of labour. The UIF uses the last four years of your employment records to calculate the number of credit days you have.

You can only claim for the time you are actually on maternity leave i.e. if you take two months of maternity leave, you can only claim two months of UIF maternity benefits. The department does, on occasion pay the entire four months, in one or two payments.

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