UIF made easy

Applying for maternity UIF benefits may seem like an impossibly daunting task as you get nerve-wrackingly close to your due date. But have no fear, here’s all the info you need to guide you through the process.

Any pregnant woman who has been working and contributing to the UIF is entitled to claim for maternity UIF benefits. In the past there have been discrepancies regarding when you can submit your claim. But, according to Jackie Jacobs, Assistant Manager of Beneficiary Services at the Dept of Labour, you can only submit your claim once you have commenced maternity leave.

Here are some of the other nitty-gritty details regarding Maternity UIF:

  • For every 6 days you have worked and contributed you receive 1 day credit. But the fund only pays for a maximum of 121 days.
  • You will receive between 38% and 58% of your gross monthly salary, tax-free. The higher your salary the lower the percentage. The maximum salary it can be calculated from is R12 478 gross, p/m, so if you earn that or more you will receive 38%.
  • The fund is paid out monthly and only via EFT into a bank account. No cash or cheques are issued.
  • You MUST no longer be earning any income in order to be paid from the fund. You can’t earn any income while you wait for UIF because the money is paid in arrears. So if, for example, you stopped earning a salary in July but your application is only processed end August you will still be paid for July and August.
  • If your company is paying you a portion of your salary during maternity leave, you can still claim UIF. But the UIF amount plus the salary amount may not be greater than your original monthly salary. It may, however, be equal.
  • Once you start receiving your monthly benefit you will also receive a UI4 (Application for continuation of payment for maternity benefits) form in the post. You must complete and submit it every month until you resume work.
  • In the unfortunate event that you should experience a stillbirth or 3rd trimester miscarriage you can still claim benefits. But the maximum that you will be paid is 42 days.
  • You can send someone else to claim on your behalf if you are physically unable. They do not require any special permission or extra forms.

In order to submit your claim you will need to complete the following documents:

  • UI-2.3 Form: to be completed by you and your heath practitioner.
  • UI-2.7 Form: to be completed by your employer.
  • UI-2.8 Form: to be completed by your bank. And you need to attach a cancelled cheque or bank statement just to confirm that the bank details are correct.

These documents must be submitted to your nearest labour office. Get them there, or to avoid an extra trip, download them from the Labour Department website.

Dealing with the forms is the easy part - it’s waiting to be paid that’s most frustrating. Although the Labour Department says it should take 6 – 8 weeks from submission, the reality is that it can take even longer.

Jacobs provides 2 reasons for this delay. Firstly, the current unemployment rate means that Labour Offices are even busier than usual - which of course leads to backlogs. Secondly, and most commonly, employers tend to make mistakes on the forms or on their payroll info.

She recommends employees double-check all the relevant info (dates, figures etc) before submission. And keep the person in charge of UIF and payrolls fully informed of all plans and changes regarding maternity leave dates.

So, to ensure a smooth Maternity UIF application process, it really just comes down to:
  • filling out the correct forms,
  • making 100% sure the information is accurate,
  • following up with the labour office after submission,
  • and finally, having a bit of patience.
Have you been through this process? Was it this easy?

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