Alice recently lost her job. She is feeling very despondent since she has no income to provide for her family and cover her monthly expenses. She recalls that while she was employed she made monthly Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributions. However, Alice has no idea how to claim from the UIF and whether she qualifies as a claimant.
1. WHO CAN CLAIM FROM THE UIF?
All workers who contributed to the UIF can claim if they have been fired, if their contract has come to an end, or if their employer is bankrupt. Domestic workers who have more than one employer can claim if they lose their job with one of their employers or if an employer dies.
2. WHO CANNOT CLAIM?
- Persons who resigned or quit their jobs
- Persons who are suspended from claiming due to fraud
- Persons who do not report at set dates and times
- Persons who refuse training and advice that may be given by UIF staff
- Persons who receive benefits from the Compensation Fund or from an Unemployment Fund established under the Labour Relations Act
3. WHEN CAN I CLAIM FROM THE UIF?
You can start claiming from the last day of employment until your UIF benefits are used up or you started working again. Your current contract must have expired before registering for UIF. Furthermore, you must claim within six months after your last day of employment.
4. HOW DO I REGISTER FOR UIF BENEFITS?
Unemployed workers must apply for UIF benefits in person at their nearest labour centre.
Step 1: Documentation
This step is of utmost importance if you want to claim your UIF successfully for the first time. It is important to have all the necessary documentation in order to avoid repeated trips to the labour centre. The required forms are available as PDF downloads at ezuif.co.za/uif-forms.
- Your 13-digit bar-coded ID or passport
- UI-2.8 for banking details (Note that this needs to be signed by your bank and be accompanied by a stamped bank statement to confirm your bank account details.)
- Form UI-19 to show employment history. This form is to be filled in by your previous employer. (Note that the Labour Department will check your last four years of work history to calculate your UIF benefit amount. Make sure you have all necessary declarations from previous employers dating back four years. If an employer has failed to issue you with a declaration, he must also fill out a UI-19 form.)
- A workseeker form
- Last two pay slips
Step 2: Go to the nearest labour centre
Once you have all the documents, go to the nearest labour centre. You can find the address and telephone number of your nearest centre at http://www.labour.gov.za/contacts/contacts. Note that the average waiting period at the labour centre can be anything from two to six hours, so make sure you have enough time. There is a slight chance that the staff at the labour centre may ask unemployed workers to go for training or advice – this is within their rights and you will have to take their advice.
5. HOW WILL I BE PAID?
Once you have registered for UIF benefits the staff at the labour centre will issue you with a UIF checklist. On this checklist you will find the address of the venue where you must sign for payment, as well as the date and time for your attendance.
Step 1: Go to the signing venue
You must appear at the designated venue on the date and time stipulated in order to sign for your first UIF payment. It is important to be on time. Take the UIF checklist and your ID document with you.
Step 2: Sign the unemployment register and receive UI-6A forms
If you have successfully registered for UIF, your name will be read out from a list. You will be required to sign a register to mark your attendance and confirm that you are still unemployed. Collect all the UI-6A forms (one for each future signing). Keep all these documents in a safe place as you will need them every time you are due for a UIF payment. This whole process can take up to three hours. Your first payment will be paid into your bank account within two to four days after you have signed the register.
Step 3: Note your next signing date
Make sure you are aware of your future signing dates – they are printed on your UI-6A forms. Signing dates will be approximately four weeks apart. You will have to hand in the relevant UI-6A form every time you attend, so make sure you have it with you. Note that your application may be delayed and not yet processed by the date of your first signing. It is recommended that you call the relevant labour centre the day before going to the signing venue to ensure that your application has been processed. If your application has not yet been processed you do not need to go to the signing. Ask for the date of the next signing.
6. HOW MUCH WILL I BE PAID?
The amount that you will be paid will depend on the amount of your monthly salary when you were employed.
Workers will receive approximately 36-56% of their average monthly salary for the previous four years (which is capped at a maximum amount though) and on the basis of the higher the salary, the lower the percentage.
How long you will be eligible to receive UIF payments depends on the length of time that you have contributed to the fund. You are eligible to receive one day’s worth of benefits for every six days that you had worked and contributed to the UIF over the previous four years. The maximum number of days you can claim for is 238.
Note: You can calculate your UIF monthly payments by using the EZUIF calculator provided at: http://ezuif.co.za/2012-uif-benefits-calculator/
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors & omissions excepted. (E&OE).