Today's Labour News

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southafricalogoGroundUp reports that sweeping changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act will mean that contributors who lose their jobs can draw benefits for up to a year instead of for eight months.  

The Department of Labour plans to use part of the R133.3bn surplus in the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to expand the scope and reach of benefits, through amendments to the Act that are due to come into effect soon.  The extra benefits will be paid out from the surplus in the fund.  There will not be any increases in contributions by employers or employees.  Employees contribute 1% of their salary to the fund.  The employer must match that amount and then transfer the money to the fund.  The fund’s Makhosonke Buthelezi said that major changes included the following:  unemployed workers who contributed to the fund would have up to a year to submit claims instead of six months; workers would accrue one day of benefit pay for every four days worked (thus those who worked for four years would have a full year of benefits instead of the current eight months); public servants would be included in the UIF for the first time; learners completing learnerships, or vocational education and training programmes, would also be included; and women on maternity leave who paid into the UIF for 13 weeks or more would now receive a flat rate of 66% of their salary (up to the maximum benefit of R17,712 per month), instead of 38% to 60%.  The amendment Act was passed in January 2017, but has not yet come into effect.  Buthelezi said that the Department’s systems were now “98%” ready for the changes.

  • Read this report by Annie Cebulski in full at GroundUp

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