by Gerhard Papenfus
According to a NEASA survey, 37% of employers who have applied to the UIF for assistance in order to pay their employees, or at least a portion of their salaries, have indeed received it. A large portion of employers who received payment, however, complained that it was the incorrect amount.
The UIF has just announced that they have crossed the 1 million employees mark in respect of employee payouts. Put in context, this is very unsatisfactory. The South African workforce consists of over 10 million workers, of which over 8 million are registered with the UIF. If 50% of them were affected by lockdown, and it has to be higher, it means that only 25% have benefitted from the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).
The UIF must take responsibility for this disaster. Employers are utterly frustrated with the process. If the system was user friendly and effective, there would have been many more employers applying for the benefits. Many employers simply gave up trying.
The UIF’s failure to effectively and timeously execute its mandate, is having a direct impact on the pockets of employees and employers alike. Some employees no longer have food on the table.
The scenario created by an ineffective bureaucracy directly impacts on an already strained population all round. There are expectations from desperate workers, which places employers, who simply do not have the means to pay wages, in a similarly desperate situation.
The fact that the government boasts about the aid, while for many it is not forthcoming, is creating tension between employers and their employees. For the Minister of Employment and Labour to, in this volatile situation, blame employers for the situation, not only adds insult to injury, but is irresponsible.
Today is the last day of the month. Until recently, in the good old days, employees used to get their salaries.
Regrettably, not so today.