Stéfan Swart Attorneys

Temporary employee/employer relief scheme

In uncertain times, confusement is the name of the game! Likewise, we have over the last 2 weeks been overloaded with various guidelines, regulations and directives issued by various Ministers on how employees should be remunerated and what type of relief is available to them through the Unemployment Insurance Fund. R 30 billion has been made available to Employers to claim unemployment relief during the COVID-19 pandemic and we trust that funds would be made available sufficiently to assist the already stretched working class.

On 24 March 2020, the UIF provided guidelines to Employers, who as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shutdown their operations and laid off its workforce. Employers could have claimed from the National Disaster Benefit a maximum of R 3,500.00 per month for its employees for the duration of the shutdown up to a maximum period of 3 months, whichever was the shortest.

On 26 March 2020 the Minister of Employment and Labour issued a directive on a new relief benefit called the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (‘TERS’). This directive was again amended on 08 April 2020 by further amendments promulgated by the Minster.

In short, National Disaster Benefit has been “amalgamated” into TERS to provide relief to Employers that have shutdown their operations and temporarily laid off employees. These directives, amongst other, provide for a salary benefit payable to employees capped at a maximum of R 17,712 per month. These employees, should the Employer qualify to receive the benefits in terms of TERS, will be paid in terms of the income replacement rate sliding scale of between 38% to 60% of their normal monthly remuneration. Should the employee’s income determined in terms of the income replacement rate sliding scale be less than R3,500.00, that employee will be paid an amount of R 3,500.00. These applications to UIF may be made by the Employer or in the alternative any applicable Bargaining Council having jurisdiction over the said Employees.

The amended directives also introduced a section that an employee may only receive the TERS benefit if the benefit so received together with any additional payment made by the Employer during any period, is not more than the remuneration that the employee ordinarily would have received for working during this pandemic. Various schools of thought exists on the interpretation of this new amendment but we can only suspect that TERS would take into account the months paid to employees in a month when calculating the TERS benefit. We therefore urge Employers to properly account on all payments made to their employees during the period of the pandemic to avoid future pay/wage disputes.

Applications for the TERS benefits can be made by sending an email to  following the receipt of an automatic response outlining the pre-requisite application process to be followed by the Employer.

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