Your monthly income may take a dent during your maternity leave if you are not one of the fortunate few employees in South Africa to earn your full salary for the duration of your maternity leave. ??By law, employers must offer at least 4 months’ maternity leave, keeping your job for you during this time. But employers have discretion to decide whether the maternity leave will be unpaid or paid, either wholly or partially.
Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
Luckily, you can claim maternity benefits if you do not earn your full salary while on maternity leave, provided your company has been contributing to the UIF on your behalf.
- The rate will vary depending on factors such as length of employment and whether previous claims have been lodged.
- Each year you have worked as a contributor gives you 60 days’ credit from which the benefit will pay you up to a maximum of 121 days for maternity benefit.
- Women can claim benefits for 17 weeks of maternity leave, earning between 38% and 58% of her salary (depending on her salary), capped at around R4 500 a month.
- Don’t expect the money to arrive as timeously as your month-end pay cheque, so make sure you have sufficient funds to compensate for late payments.
- There are organisations that remove the hassle-factor of claiming, for a fee.
Applying for UIF
The process can be a momentous chore so try to tackle it as soon as you go on leave. Alternatively, you can use a service like Precious Moments, Mom’s UIF Assist and Mother’s Joy.
Ensure you have the following documents:
- Your ID book or passport.
- U.I.19 forms need to be completed and updated by your employers. (Either declared by your employer or e-filed to UIF).
- U.I.19 forms need to be completed by all your employers if you have changed jobs in the last four years to gain full credits.
- U.I.2.8 – Your bank needs to complete this form.
- U.I.2.7 – Your employer has to complete this.
- U.I.2.3 – You and your doctor need to complete this.
- A bank statement with your account number and name in print to ensure that the electronic transfer is done to the correct account.
- A utility bill to show proof of residence (FICA requirement).
- After your application has been approved, a birth certificate or doctor’s confirmation of birth has to be submitted together with a follow-up form (U.I.4.). The U.I.4 has to be submitted monthly for the duration of your credits up to a maximum of 12.