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Covid-19: TERS benefit extended for certain sectors

Covid-19: TERS benefit extended for certain sectors

The Minister of Employment and Labour has published the regulations in respect of the extension of the TERS benefit for specific sectors.

Employers operating in the industries listed in Annexure A of the Government Gazette may claim TERS benefits for employees where the employers:

  • are not permitted to commence operations, either partially or fully, due to the regulations published by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; or
  • cannot utilise the employees, either fully or partially, due to operational requirements related to the need to limit the number of employees in the workplace through rostering, staggering of working hours, short time and shift systems.

Employers in all sectors may claim TERS benefit where:

  • the employer cannot make alternative arrangements for vulnerable employees to work from home or take other measures to safeguard the employees at the workplace as contemplated in the OHS directives (vulnerable employees are defined as people over the age of 60 or with other co-morbidities); or
  • employees are required to self-isolate or quarantine, after a high-risk exposure, irrespective of whether the employee has exhausted his/her sick leave or not.  

Employees who do not fall within any of the above categories but who cannot be utilized, either fully or partially, due to the need to limit the number of employees in the workplace through rostering, staggering of working hours, short time and shift systems may claim short time benefits in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Act.

There are some rather onerous requirements in respect of claiming for vulnerable employees and employees who had to isolate or quarantine:

  • in respect of vulnerable employees, an employer who employs more than 50 employees will be required to submit a report from a certified OHS safety officer that the employees cannot be reasonably accommodated; Although not expressly stipulated, it is assumed that this requirement relates to a specific workplace in which there would normally be more than 50 employees; and  
  • in respect of employees who had to isolate or quarantine, both the employer and the employee must submit an affidavit stating that they had a high-risk contact, together with any supporting documents prescribed by the fund.

The TERS benefit will be available, retrospectively, for the period of 16 October 2020 to 15 March 2021.

A number of documents have been provided by the Department to assist employers with the claims process.

Please click here to view these documents and here for the payment template.

We will keep members abreast of any further developments.