AT the recent media networking session held by the Department of Labour and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), persons employed in South Africa were urged to communicate with the department with regards to employer compliance.In addition to compliance to the UIF, Public Employment Services (PES), the Labour Activation Programme (LAP) and Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) were also discussed at the session.Speaking on the importance of this open communication between the UIF and employees, National Director of Communication and Marketing for the UIF, Makhosonke Buthelezi, said: “It is very critical for employees to be in contact with the UIF because, at the time when they come to claim for their benefits, we get surprises. We find that the employees are not registered and yet there were deductions on their money. We find that there are gaps in terms of their work history and that delay when we have to pay the benefit because we have to go back and check if this person worked for another company before, if that company declared them and if there are those open gates, we need to close them. So it is very important that they get into contact with us for those reasons so that they are able to get their benefits.”According to the UIF, persons who work for more than a period of 24 hours per month for an employer are eligible to collect benefits from the UIF. It is the responsibility and obligation of the employer to register the employee, declare the employees details and make contributions to the fund.It is also the employer’s responsibility to immediately update the UIF regarding any changes to the employee’s salary that may occur. This includes commencement of employment, retrenchment, maternity leave, salary increase or death. Soon these updates will have to be conducted on a monthly basis.Currently registration to the UIF can be done via e-mail, mailing forms to the centre via the portal. Updates can be done online with u-filing, electronically using FTP or e-mail, or manually.Employers are liable for the contributions to SARS or UIF, and late payments (deadline is the seventh of every month) or non-payments will result in penalties or interest.The Employee Audit service offered by the UIF consists of inspectors visiting employers and engaging proactively or reactively in regards to non-compliance.Employees are urged to report to the UIF if the deduction is not noted on the pay slip or to query if their deductions are being contributed.The UIF Toll Free number is 08600 843 845, or contact the Department of Labour on 031 366 2000.