Where to now with TERS and UIF Benefits?

Where to now with TERS and UIF Benefits?

Business, Coronavirus Reliefs, Human Resources

Author: Douw van der Walt & Meagan Cesare


The Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) claiming process certainly did not start smoothly. The process changed regularly, and the systems often crashed due to the sheer volume of applications.

With the three-month legislated TERS period closing; employers have become increasingly concerned about the financial implications and long-term viability of retaining staffing at historical pre-Covid levels. The month of July looks to be a watershed month and without the TERS cushion, many employers may have to start looking at retrenchments or deeper short-time implementations. There is no simple answer as again mixed messages are being received from Government as to the likelihood of further Government support using UIF funding. The most recent message clearly states that TERS benefits will cease at the end of June as there has to be enough funds in the UIF coffers to pay out benefits based on the other UIF benefit pillars. That said, there have also been rumours that TERS will be extended for one more month as there is at least a system in place to get benefits to those employees in need. We hope that this uncertainly is cleared up by Government well before the next pay cycle comes around, but don’t hold your breath…

Assuming TERS benefits ends, there is still a potential alternative. An additional benefit pillar was introduced in 2018 to cater for ‘reduced working time’ (short time). The big differences between this benefit and TERS are:

  • The ‘reduced working time’ benefit is paid out based on the number of credits that the employee has.
  • This benefit is paid out directly to the employee based on a claim made by the employee.

In an ideal world this process is not that complicated. We are not in an ideal world though and having hundreds of thousands of employees trying to make applications at the Department of Employment and Labour under COVID-19 conditions would be a disaster. In addition, there is still no clarity on how the benefit would be practically calculated. Any application at the current moment would need to be made with reduced expectations of the timing and amount of payment. This makes the process difficult particularly as the claim needs to be made by the employee.

So, we are at a crossroads.

If TERS is extended for a month, HRTorQue will be able to assist you in submitting the claim for that month.

If TERS is not extended employers can still theoretically use the ‘reduced working time’ UIF benefit, with the hope that the UIF systems will allow for claims to be made with minimal human interaction. Bulk uploads by employers for such claims cannot currently be done on uFiling. HRTorQue, will however be able to assist your employees with the collection of the paperwork necessary to make a claim. We are in daily contact with the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa in this regard, and we are aware that they are having high level discussions with the Head Office of the Department of Employment and Labour. We will disseminate information as soon as it becomes available.

You are welcome to give our Team a call to discuss these options. We understand the pressures that business owners are facing and will do our best to provide practical and cost-effective advice in these challenging times. Due to the constantly changing landscape presently surrounding UIF benefits, both for TERS and possibly short-time scenarios, our information and advice is correct as of today, but may well change at a future time.  Ensure that you check in with us regularly for updated information.