COVID-19 TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE/EMPLOYER RELIEF SCHEME (“TERS”) EXTENSION: 15 MARCH 2021 TO 25 JULY 2021

On 15 July 2021, the Minister of Labour issued a direction, in terms of which, the COVID-19 TERS has been extended for certain sectors that remain affected by the restrictions of the lockdown.

The employees who qualify for this benefit are employees whose employers:

  • are not allowed to commence operations, whether in part or in full, in terms of the Regulations issued by Government, and who operate in the sector(s) specified in Annexure A (included herein below) for the period between 16 March 2021 and 25 July 2021.
  • are not allowed to commence operations, whether in part or in full, in terms of the Regulations issued by Government, and who operate in the sector(s) specified in Annexure B (included herein below) for the period between 28 June 2021 and 25 July 2021.
  • are not in a position to make alternative employment arrangements for vulnerable employees, irrespective of the sector in which they operate.
  • are not able to make use of the employees’ services due to the operational requirements of the employer, which have been caused by compliance with the Regulations issued, e.g. limiting of the number of employees in the workplace, staggering of working hours, short time etc. and who operate in any sector specified in annexures A and B.
  • require their employees to remain in isolated and/or in quarantine, regardless of the sector in which the employer operates.

The terms that will apply, in the event that qualifying employers claim for the extended TERS benefit, are briefly summarised as follows:

  • When calculating the benefit, the remuneration will be capped at a maximum amount of R17 712.00 per month.
  • A qualifying employee will receive a benefit to be calculated in terms of the UI-Act, or a lower amount subject to available funds.
  • In the event that the benefit is calculated at less than R3 500.00, the benefit will be increased to ensure that the employee receives R3 500.00.
  • Any employer, subject thereto that the amount is disclosed in the application for the benefit, is entitled to supplement the amount received by the employee from the UIF. This amount should not exceed 100% of the remuneration that such an employee would have received in that period.
  • The TERS benefit will be paid into a qualifying employee’s bank account.
  • The UI Commissioner, or delegated official, may permit payment of the TERS benefit into the bank account of the employer, however, this will only be permitted on discretion and on good cause shown, e.g. in the event that an employer has paid an employee in advance etc.

The application for the above TERS benefits remains the same as before, and a qualifying employer must submit the following categories of data to the National Institute for Occupational Health:

  1. Each employee’s vulnerability status for serious outcomes of COVID-19 infections.
  2. COVID-19 screening details of symptomatic employees.
  3. Details of employees who test positive (a positive laboratory test) for the COVID-19 virus.
  4. Details of employees who have been identified as high risk, if a worker has been confirmed as COVID-19 positive.
  5. Details of the post infection outcomes of workers who tested positive.

It must be noted that employees who do not qualify for the extended TERS benefits are still able to access relief under section 12(1B) of the UI Act, subject to the availability of credits.