UIF Does a Payment Re-Run And Gives Clarity On COVID-19 TERS Benefits Over The Festive Season

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (“UIF”) has shed some light on what will happen to existing and outstanding COVID-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (“TERS”) applications and payments, particularly over the festive season. We discuss the must-knows for employers below.

COVID-19 TERS payment re-runs for April – 15 September 2020 period

The UIF dedicated this entire week to re-run payments for the period between April to September 2020 and will repeat this for all lockdown periods on 19 December to clear the backlog as far as possible, so that beneficiaries will not suffer during this festive season.

While acting commissioner, Marsha Bronkhorst, said that the UIF has been sporadically re-running claims for the previous months, this time it has “decided to recycle all claims to ensure that those that have been updated, including in respect of the provision of declarations and correction of discrepancies are paid”.

The resubmission process

Employers who submitted COVID-19 TERS claims via CSV files for the April to 15 September 2020 periods, and where "no employees" appear on the online portal, should assume that their CSV files were incorrectly formatted. Applicants who attempted to upload prior to the closing dates, and whose attempts failed due to technical issues, have now been given a further opportunity to resubmit.

The process for an employer to follow to resubmit claim data is:

  1. Complete the standard Excel template for the relevant lockdown period;
  2. Email this to Covid19failedCSV@labour.gov.za;
  3. Ensure that the email subject line reflects the month for which the claim is made;
  4. Send only one file, per email, with the correct month reflected in the subject line;
  5. The received Excel template will be checked and converted into the correct CSV format;
  6. The UIF will conduct a check on the COVID-19 TERS system, and if this audit confirms that the applicant made a submission on or before the closure date, the CSV will be loaded and processed; and
  7. The processing will only take place from 14 December 2020 onwards.

Applications for 16 September – 15 October 2020

The UIF has started processing and paying COVID-19 TERS claims for the period 16 September 2020 and 15 October 2020. Applications for this period close on 31 December 2020.


Through the appointed auditing firms, the UIF has begun phase 1 of the "Follow–the-Money" Project to check the authenticity of claims and verify if the money has been paid over to workers. Due to the festive season, the audits will cease on 18 December and resume on 4 January 2021.

TERS payments to foreign nationals

The UIF has started processing and paying COVID-19 TERS claims to foreign nationals who have been verified by the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Revenue Service and who meet all other verification processes. As of 16 December 2020, the UIF revealed that over R2-billion has been paid to 491 410 foreign nationals from 95 834 applications by employers since March 2020.

System enhancements

In a recent interview, Marsha Bronkhorst stated that the UIF has enhanced its systems in terms of bank verifications and to enable employers to declare employees electronically in response to these major hurdles that have hindered the finalisation of various COVID-19 TERS applications and payments. There is also a designated fraud report hotline through which fraud can be reported, and the COVID-19 TERS hotline call centre has increased its capacity.

UIF operational over the festive season

Marsha Bronkhorst has also stated that in order to fast-track the processing and payment of claims, including claims for normal UIF benefits, all key UIF personnel will not be going on leave during the festive season, save for between 24 December 2020 and 1 January 2021. She has promised that all valid outstanding payments will be made. However, she has not provided a date by which this will be done.

UIF funding

The UIF has also indicated that it has enough funds available to honour its commitments and that it has made provision for the anticipated spike resulting from mass retrenchments after the COVID-19 TERS period. R55.6 billion has been disbursed to millions of workers from 1.1-million applications since the first lockdown in March 2020.

COVID-19: South Africa - Extension of TERS benefit to 15 September 2020

On Friday, 4 September 2020, the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour, Mr Thobile Lamati, announced that the TERS Directive published on 11 August 2020 shall be extended to 15 September 2020.

This means that the TERS benefit shall remain available for the categories of employees specified in the 11 August Directive, namely those whose employers are:

  • not yet permitted to commence operations, either partially or in full, as a result of the Regulations published in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, such as restaurants and gyms;
  • unable to implement special measures in respect of vulnerable employees, or to make alternative arrangements for them to work from home; and
  • unable to make use of the employees’ services either fully or partially because of operational requirements, in particular, the need to limit the number of employees at the workplace through rostering, staggering of working hours, short time, and the introduction of shift systems.

In terms of the Director-General’s announcement, applications for April to July 2020 will close on 15 September 2020 and no late applications will be considered. Applications for TERS benefits in respect of August and up to 15 September 2020 will close on 30 October 2020. Should any of these dates change, we will publish a follow-up newsflash.

The Direction extending the 11 August 2020 Directive has not yet been published. Once received we will circulate.

SEIFSA Tables Proposal To Industry Trade Unions To Extend The Main Agreement To 30 June 2021

At its meeting on Monday, 29 June 2020, the SEIFSA Council mandated SEIFSA to formally submit to the MEIBC a proposal that negotiations for the current cycle be deferred and that the terms and conditions of the collective Main Agreement concluded between the Parties for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020 be extended until 30 June 2021. Monday’s SEIFSA Council meeting followed a series of recent meetings held by SEIFSA’s Negotiating Team with industry trade unions and other employer bodies.  

This proposal has since been submitted to the General Secretary of the Bargaining Council and shared with all of the industry trade unions. It will be tabled for discussion at a Bargaining Council Management Committee Meeting on Tuesday, 7 July 2020. 

In the interim, there is a high probability that some member companies will receive requests from various trade unions to be granted access in order to brief their respective members. While we urge members to grant such access, subject to reasonable and necessary conditions to safeguard life or property or to prevent undue disruption of work, we would like to stress that any such report-back meetings must comply strictly with the measures introduced under the National Disaster Regulations to prevent and combat the speared of COVID-19. These include the prohibition of gatherings involving more than 50 persons, as well as the need to wear masks and observe the 1,5m social distance.

We will keep you informed on all developments relating to the extension of the current Main Agreement to 30 June 2021. 

Meanwhile, member companies are encouraged to continue to observe the current terms and conditions of the Main Agreement, in good faith and in accordance with sound industrial relations practice.

Kaizer M. Nyatsumba
Chief Executive Officer

Business For SA Guidance Note: Alert Level 3 Regulations

This note serves to outline the present regulatory framework pertaining to Alert level (AL)3 and to highlight the areas of interest and/ or concern for members.

Since adopting a risk-adjusted strategy to COVID-19, the South African government has gradually lifted restrictions on economic activity by promulgating new regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (the regulations), amending the regulations on 28 May and 25 June 2020 and issuing several sector-specific directions to manage the safe reopening of the economy.

As amended, the Regulations are structured in three broad parts:

(i)                 general measures governing the national response to the state of disaster in overarching terms;

(ii)               a chapter setting out the law applicable under Alert Level (AL) 4; and

(iii)             a further chapter dealing with the situation under AL3.  (AL5 is not dealt with explicitly, but the list of essential services that was applicable during the initial lockdown period is still appended to the Regulations as Annexure D).

The Minister is empowered to determine which of AL’s 1 to 5 apply at national, provincial, metropolitan or district level or in “hotspots” and the Regulations provide for different AL’s to apply to different areas.  Conceivably, therefore, areas with higher levels of infection and less capacity in their health facilities may revert to AL4 or AL5. Thus far, however, there is no indication that this will occur.

Any shift to a different AL in any area is enforceable only after the Minister has published a notice to that effect in the Government Gazette.  If that happens, different regulations will be applicable in different geographical areas.

We encourage members to continue to be aware of this possibility and of the possibility that the Regulations will continue to be amended and supplemented from time to time as the situation unfolds.

To read the full guidance note, please go to https://www.businessforsa.org/business-for-sa-amended-level-3-regulations-guidance-note/


This is to advise employers that the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) is now open for applications for June, the final month of the scheme.

It appears that the June applications follow the same procedures and have the same requirements as the May applications, including proof of payment to employees and confirmation of banking details. It is recommended that employers ensure that they are using the updated spreadsheet, available for download on the TERS portal, if intending to submit new CSV files for June.

For the relevant website :

[nectar_btn size="large" button_style="regular" button_color_2="Accent-Color" icon_family="none" url="https://uifecc.labour.gov.za/covid19/" text="CLICK HERE"]


The UIF confirmed the following with respects to the COVID-19 TERS:

  • The Fund is committed to paying benefits for 3 months.
  • The Fund will honour the R40 billion committed to by the Department.
  • The benefit structure will not change.
  • The COVID-19 TERS will not continue beyond the end of June 2020.
  • June 2020 applications will be opened from midnight of 23 June 2020.
  • A media statement will be issued to communicate the cut-off dates for April, May and June applications.


As lockdown restrictions ease and more and more employees return to work, the risk of infection and incidence of positive COVID-19 cases in the workplace are likely to rise. Employers should ensure that they know what to do in the event that an employee displays typical COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.

We provide some practical guidance below, in light of the Occupational Health and Safety Direction published by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) as well as the various guidelines published by the Department of Health. 

Importantly, unless otherwise specified, the guidelines below apply to ‘workers’, being all individuals who work in an employer’s workplace, including contractors/ employees of contractors and volunteers. 

STEP 1: Do not permit the worker who complains of, discloses, or displays typical COVID-19 symptoms to enter the workplace or report for work. If the worker is already at work when s/he presents with symptoms or when it comes to the employer’s attention that the worker has tested positive for the virus, immediately isolate the worker and provide her/him with a surgical mask. Arrange for the worker to be transported (in a manner that does not place other workers or members of the public at risk) either to be self-isolated at home, or to be referred for a medical examination or testing.

STEP 2: Instruct the worker to self-isolate at home for 14 days. If the worker has not yet been tested for the virus, s/he should undergo testing. For mild cases, self-isolation is recommended for a minimum of 14 days after symptom onset; for severe cases, self-isolation is recommended for a minimum of 14 days after clinical stability (e.g. after oxygen support is stopped). Where the worker is an employee, this time off must be treated as paid sick leave. Where an employee’s sick leave entitlement is exhausted, such absence may be unpaid, but the employee may make application for illness benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

STEP 3: Assess the risk of transmission and disinfect the relevant area/s that the worker has come into contact with, including the worker’s workstation (and determine the need to temporarily close the affected work area/s for decontamination purposes).

STEP 4: Compile a list, with the input of the worker, of all other workers, clients, suppliers and other third parties with whom the worker has come into contact and who may potentially be at risk of transmission. Refer workers who may be at risk for screening.

Where a positive case is confirmed, follow the remaining steps:

STEP 5: Notify the National Department of Health/ National Institute for Communicable Diseases, using the hotline number: 0800 029 999 as well as the DEL. We understand that reporting to the DEL must be done by way of email, directed to the relevant Provincial Chief Inspector (email the Deputy Director General: Ms Aggy Moiloa, Zodwa.mbikwana@labour.gov.za). Provide administrative support to any contact-tracing measures implemented by the Department of Health.

STEP 6: Investigate the cause of infection/ mode of exposure, including any potential control failures (such as disinfection measures, personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing measures, education/ training, symptom screening measures, etc.) and review the risk assessment to ensure that the necessary controls and PPE requirements are in place and any identified gaps are addressed.

STEP 7: If the worker who has tested positive has come into contact with other workers at the workplace, assess those workers’ exposure to ascertain whether the exposure carries a high or low risk of transmission and instruct them as follows:

  • High Risk Exposure: close contact within 1 metre of a COVID-19 confirmed case for more than 15 minutes without PPE (i.e. no face cover/ eye cover) or with failure of PPE and/ or direct contact with respiratory secretions of confirmed COVID-19 case (clinical or laboratory).  In such case, the worker must self-quarantine for 14 days and perform daily symptom self-checks.
  • Low Risk Exposure: more than 1 metre away from a COVID-19 confirmed case for less than 15 minutes OR within 1 metre but wearing PPE (face cover/ eye cover). Also considered low risk if COVID-19 case was wearing a surgical mask (i.e. there was source control). In such case, the worker may continue to work using a cloth mask and complying with standard precautions and symptoms must be monitored for 14 days from first contact.

STEP 8: Where the worker is an employee and if the employee contracted the virus as a result of occupational exposure, lodge a claim under the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act. The Compensation Fund is currently finalising a Directive to replace the notice published on ‘Occupationally Acquired COVID-19’. Look out for further information on this once the Directive is published.

STEP 9: Communicate details of the incident, incident investigation and remedial measures with appropriate communication lines that exist within management, the health and safety committee and/or the COVID-19 committee, including any organized labour (taking care to respect the confidentiality rights of the affected worker) and implement improved control measures in consultation with such bodies.

STEP 10: Only allow the worker to return to work after completing the 14-day self-isolation period and, if the worker suffered from moderate or severe illness, undergoing a medical evaluation confirming fitness to return to work.

STEP 11: Require the worker to comply strictly with all personal hygiene, social distancing and cough etiquette measures, to wear a surgical mask for 21 days from date of diagnosis and continue to closely monitor the worker’s symptoms upon return to work.


Attached please find a MEIBC Industry Circular regarding the resumption to full operations of the MEIBC to serve the industry subsequent to the lowering of the lockdown alert from Level 4 to Level 3 as from Monday, 1 June 2020.

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The Alert Level 3 Regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act were signed on 28 May 2020. Except for those businesses and institutions that are expressly excluded businesses may operate and employees may travel to and from work.

Travel permits:

Employers must issue permits to their employees where the employees will be required, in the course of carrying on work responsibilities or performing a permitted service, to travel between provinces, metropolitan areas, districts and ‘hotspots’.

It seems that apart from these categories of employees, people will, strictly speaking, not be required to be in possession of a permit in order to travel to and from work, but the cautious approach is to ensure that employees are provided with permits.

More than 100 employees:

Businesses and institutions with more than 100 employees must, where possible, make provision for minimising the number of employees at the workplace at any given time in order to achieve social distancing and to limit congestion in public transport. This can be done through:

  • rotation of workers;
  • staggered working hours;
  • shift systems; and
  • remote working arrangements and similar measures.

Compliance officers:

Irrespective of their size, all businesses, industries and entities that are permitted to operate must designate a COVID-19 Compliance Officer.  The Compliance Officer must oversee the implementation of the employer’s workplace plan as well as adherence to the standards of hygiene and health protocols relating to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Workplace Plan:

Employers that have not done so already must prepare a workplace plan, dealing with the following issues:

  • which employees are permitted to work;
  • what the plans for the phased-in return of their employees to the workplace are;
  • what health protocols are in place to protect employees from COVID-19; and
  • the details of the COVID-19 compliance officer.

Small employer refers to employers with fewer than 10 employees.

Small employers may have basic plans dealing with, at the minimum, the items above.

Medium and large employers must have workplace plans setting out the following, as set out in Annexure E to the Regulations:

  • the date the business will open and the hours of operating;
  • the timetable for the phased return to work of employees;
  • the steps taken to make the workplace COVID-19 ready;
  • a list of staff who can work from home, those who are 60 years and older, and those who have underlying illnesses (i.e. comorbidities);
  • arrangements for staff relating to social distancing, screening, attendance record system, etc.; and
  • arrangements for customers or members of the public.

Workplace plans must be retained for inspection.

Phased-in return to work:

Businesses, industries and entities must phase in the return of employees to work, to manage the return of employees from other provinces, metropolitan areas and districts.

Health protocols:

Businesses, industries and entities must develop measures to ensure that the workplace meets the standards of health protocols, adequate space for employees, and social distancing measures for members of the public and service providers.

All the relevant health protocols and social distancing measures set out in the applicable Directives, and applicable sector-specific health protocols, must be adhered to. This includes the Occupational Health and Safety Directive issued by the Minister of Employment and Labour.

Over 60s and those with co-morbidities:

Employers must implement special measures for employees who are 60 years and older, or those with co-morbidities, to facilitate their safe return to work. Where possible, these employees should work from home.

500 and more employees:

Construction, manufacturing, business and financial services firm with more than 500 employees must finalise appropriate sector workplace arrangements or compacts. These arrangements must address:

  • the provision of transport, or arrangements to transport the employees coming to site, but where this is not possible, the staggering of working time arrangements to reduce congestion in public transport;
  • staggering the return to work of employees to ensure workplace readiness and to avoid traffic congestion during peak travel times;
  • the daily screening of employees for COVID-19 symptoms;
  • referring employees who display symptoms for medical examinations and testing, where necessary; and
  • submitting data collected during the screening and testing process to the DG of the Department of Health.


You will by now be aware that the Pretoria High Court (the “Court”) declared the Lockdown Alert Level 3, as read with the Lockdown Alert Level 4 Regulations, (the “Regulations”) unconstitutional and invalid. The Presidency media statement is attached for your information.

In summary, the Court declared the Regulations unconstitutional and invalid for the following reasons:

  1. they are not rationally connected to the objectives of slowing the rate of infection or limiting the spread of COVID-19; and
  2. insofar as they do not satisfy the rationality test, their encroachment on, and limitation of, the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are not justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

The declaration of invalidity has been suspended for a period of 14 business days (i.e. until 22 June 2020), or such longer time as the Court may allow, to enable the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in consultation with the relevant Ministers, to review, amend and re-publish the Regulations with due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

During this period of suspension, the Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations, as read with the Lockdown Alert Level 4 Regulations, will continue to apply.

View pdf below

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