Nxesi throws UIF TERS lifeline to help sectors restricted by lockdowns

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Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi during a media briefing.
Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi during a media briefing.
GCIS
  • Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said employers may apply for TERS benefits if they are able prove that they are unable to make alternative arrangements for vulnerable employees.
  • The extension of the UIF TERS relief took applications from Monday and will make payments again from 25 July.
  • The TERS benefit allows employers to continue paying salaries to employees even when businesses cannot continue operating due to the Covid-19 national lockdown.


Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has issued his directive for the payment of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits to contributing employees in sectors that have been restricted by the level 4 lockdown.

After months of speculation and discussions behind the scenes, the extension of the UIF TERS relief took applications from Monday and will make payments again from 25 July.

Nxesi's directive was signed and released through the government gazette on Tuesday.

The extended relief will apply to cinemas, theatres, casinos, museums, gyms, restaurants, nightclubs, pools, bars, public parks, domestic and international air travel, public transport, e-hailing, beaches, passenger ships, hotels, conference venues, sporting as well as individuals and business that form part of the value chain in any of these industries.

The TERS benefit allows employers to continue paying salaries to employees even when businesses cannot continue operating due to the Covid-19 national lockdown. The directive was issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act and the Unemployment Insurance Act.

Nxesi said an employer may apply for benefits if they can prove that they cannot make alternative arrangements for vulnerable employees to work from home.

Despite the date of publication in the gazette, the directive is backdated to 16 March 2021, and is valid until 25 July 2021. 

Restaurant Association of SA CEO Wendy Alberts said while the UIF TERS portal was opened on Monday evening, some restaurants looking to apply had faced challenges.

"We're having some problems with codes. We have reached out to the department to assist us," said Alberts.

However, she added that thousands of restaurants had been impacted by the lockdown, which could complicate attempts to get telephonic assistance. 

Alberts said some restaurants still had outstanding TERS payments due from the previous stretch of the relief scheme. She said the association would monitor the situations for the next 24 hours and would approach the minister if no progress were made.
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