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The Minister of Employment and Labour on 16 April 2020 signed a set of amendments to the directive governing the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The amendments are designed to bring further clarity to the details of the scheme’s structure.

The revised directive clarifies that an employer may claim benefits in respect of employees who have taken annual leave during this period; and that the employer may retain these amounts, provided that it credits the employee with leave days proportionate to the value of the benefit in the future.

This means that it is not the case, as some legal opinions held, that there is a need to reinstate leave and putting employees on unpaid leave in order to claim.

The directive also urges employers to pay employees the equivalent of their TERS benefits in advance should these not have been received by the employer on their payment date, and retain those amounts when the payment is received.

The department has undertaken that the basis for calculating employees’ benefits will be published on the UIF website soon.

A separate bank account is no longer required to receive TERS monies. Businesses will be able to use their existing bank accounts for this purpose