UIF – What You Need to Know
UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) benefits are like a watered-down income protection plan for qualifying employees who “forgot” to take out a plan with a reputable insurance company. People may view it as a grudge expense, but, in light of COVID-19 and consequent retrenchments, there are probably numerous South Africans who are now glad for that 1% deduction off their salary.
Here’s what you need to know about UIF contributions and why it’s important to pay yours on time.
UIF benefits provide temporary relief to workers who have lost their income because they became unemployed or are unable to work due to maternity or adoption leave, or due to illness. Dependants of a deceased contributor may also claim. If an employee resigns, they cannot claim UIF benefits.
Qualifying employees are all employees who work more than 24 hours per month for the same employer, earn a salary, and make their monthly contributions to the UIF. If an employee works for multiple employers, he/she would have to make multiple UIF contributions but would also be able to claim benefits from the UIF for each employer where he/she experiences a loss of income.
Qualifying employees can claim within six months after they stopped working if:
they are retrenched
their employer goes bankrupt
their contract ended or
if they were dismissed
Employees won’t be able to claim if they already receive benefits from the Compensation Fund or an unemployment fund under the Labour Relations Act.
Should a person refuse training and advice, fail to report at set dates and times as stipulated by their local department of labour or be found to submit fraudulent claims, he/she will not be able to claim benefits.
Both the employee and employer have to contribute 1% of the employee’s gross salary to the fund, amounting to a total of a 2% contribution monthly. Since the benefits that can be paid out are capped (that’s correct, the employee won’t receive their full salary when they claim), the contribution each party has to pay is also capped at R148.72 per month.
In order to claim, employees should register on the Ufiling system at www.ufiling.co.za or go to their nearest Department of Labour office.
Required documentation for benefits application:
The UIF aims to have a claim processed (from the first submission to when the funds become available to the claimant) within 8 weeks but it can take up to 3 months for a claim to be finalised.
The monthly UIF declarations and payments need to be made by the 7th, or the last Friday before the 7th should the 7th fall on a weekend. If contributions and declarations are not up to date, it will interfere with an employee’s ability to claim and slow down the process.
Need help getting your UIF ducks in a row? Contact LeapfrogHR for assistance.