In terms of the COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (C19 TERS), 2020 (as amended), should an employer as a direct result of the COVID -19 pandemic have to close its operations for a period of 3 months or less, employees of the company shall qualify for a COVID-19 benefit.

The salary to be taken into account in calculating the benefits will be capped at a maximum amount of R17,712 per month, per employee and an employee will be paid in terms of the income replacement rate sliding scale as provided in the Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001.

An employee shall receive a benefit of no less than R3,500. Should an employee’s income in terms of the income replacement sliding scale fall below R3,500, the employee will be paid a replacement income equal to that amount.

For the company to qualify for the temporary financial relief scheme, it must satisfy the following requirements:

  • the company must be registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund UIF;
  • the company must comply with the application procedure for the financial relief scheme (employers apply by reporting their closure to ‘Covid19ters@labour.gov.za’ after which an automatic response sets out the application process); and
  • the company’s closure must be directly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 15 May 2020, further amendments were made to this scheme which effectively provide that in certain instances an employer whose employees are entitled to receive COVID-19 benefits provided by the UIF from a bargaining council or entity (as defined in the directive) may not make an application in terms of this scheme and, the employees of that employer may not receive any payment in terms of the scheme other than through the bargaining council or entity.

An employee may also individually apply for COVID-19 benefits if:

  • the employee meets certain requirements in terms of the directive;
  • no bargaining council or entity has concluded an memorandum of agreement with the UIF; and 
  • the employee’s employer has failed or refused to apply for COVID -19 benefits.