Domestic workers and farm labourers called to collect UIF benefits
The Department of Employment and Labour is tracing domestic workers and farm labourers so that they may apply for UIF benefits.
The Department of Employment and Labour is making all efforts to reach domestic workers and farm labourers so that they can benefit from the COVID-19 relief scheme. That includes making sure they apply and receive Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits.
The scheme which is part of the basket of government-wide services to ensure that the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic are mitigated has already dished out billions to workers who may not have a salary as a result of the lockdown.
‘SHIELDING THE MOST VULNERABLE‘
The Department said it is doing everything in its power to help those who are vulnerable, especially during the lockdown. If applying for UIF benefits can make a small difference then the department will continue its calls for applications.
“Society is judged by how it tries to take care of the most vulnerable in its midst. This is why as the government in general and the Department of Employment and Labour in particular, are doing everything in their power to shield the most vulnerable from the worst of the pandemic,” said Minister of Unemployment and Labour Thulas Nxesi.
“Since the lockdown was announced, the Department of Employment and Labour through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has handed out almost R11 billion in benefits to workers through employers. We have appealed to employers especially those who employ domestic workers and farm labourers to apply on their behalf so that they are not left wanting,” said Nxesi.
Nxesi said the department sincerely hopes that employers, especially in the two sectors, heed their call.
TRACING DOMESTIC WORKERS AND FARM LABOURERS
Nxesi said the department has also enlisted the help of a private company in tracing domestic workers and farm labourers through their cell phones so that they are aware of the benefit.
“Either [they] get the employers to claim on their behalf or reach out to the UIF themselves,” said Nxesi.
The private company, Interfile has offered to run the SMS service at no cost to UIF to these sectors. The department is currently working on the database it has to try and reach these workers.
According to departmental records, a total of 91 406 domestic workers are on the database but only 2 968 (3%) have their cell numbers listed and only 25 518 (28%) have emails.
“We appeal to employers of domestic workers, those who may have difficulties paying them to ensure that they access these services as soon as possible. The disbursements from UIF could also act as a top-up for reduced salaries and these are necessary for our mothers and sisters as they really need the break,” said Nxesi.
UIF DISBURSES JUST UNDER R12 BILLION
So far, the UIF has disbursed just under R12 billion through 167 524 employers, benefitting 2 092 774 workers.
A total of R155 481 810 has been paid to 56 641 workers through bargaining councils representing 909 employers.
For further information, anyone can log onto the website or reach the UIF on the toll-free number 0800-030-007.