You and Your Rights: UIF

Summary

  • Submitting a fraudulent application will disqualify you from claiming benefits from the UIF
  • The UIF provides unemployment, maternity, illness, adoption, and dependants’ benefits
  • All employees regularly working more than 24 hours per month for the same employer are obligated to contribute to the UIF
  • Public servants, foreign workers, and individuals paid as a part of the Skills Development Act, are not covered by the Fund
  • An application for benefits must be submitted inside a period of six months from the start of unemployment

Your Rights

What is the ‘Unemployment Insurance Fund’ or UIF?

The Unemployment Insurance Fund or ‘UIF’ provides short–term financial relief to workers who lose their jobs; are unable to work because of illness; or need to take maternity or adoption leave.

UIF also provides relief to the dependants of contributors who have died.

What types of benefits are provided by the UIF?

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Illness benefit
  • Maternity benefits
  • Adoption benefits
  • Dependants’ benefits.

How does the fund work?

  • The UIF is financed through the weekly or monthly contributions of both employers and employees.
  • As from 1 April 2002, all employees or workers who work for 24 hours or more per month must contribute to the UIF.
  • As from 1 April 2003, the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001 requires that domestic workers and their employers also contribute to the fund.
  • The government - through the Department of Labour - is the custodian of the UIF.
  • The Unemployment Insurance Fund Act, 2001 (Act No 63 of 2001) as amended by the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Act, 2003 (Act No 32 of 2003) regulate the application and payment of the Unemployment Insurance benefits.

Who is NOT covered by UIF?

The Unemployment Insurance laws apply to all employers and employees, except:

  • Employees who work for less than 24 hours a month for the same employer;
  • Employees who receive money under the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No 97 of 1998);
  • Employers and employees in the national and provincial spheres of government, who are public servants as defined in terms of the Public Service Act of 1994.
  • Employees who enter South Africa for the purpose of carrying out a contract of service, apprenticeship or learnership, and are required to leave the Republic when it is completed.

When CAN you claim benefits from the UIF?

As an unemployed contributor to the UIF, you are entitled to claim benefits if:

  • Your contract of employment has been terminated;
  • Your fixed term contract has ended and not been renewed;
  • You have been dismissed (or fired) from your job, as defined by section 186 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995;
  • You or your employer has been declared insolvent, in terms of the Insolvency Act, 1936;
  • Your contract of employment has been terminated by the death of your employer;
  • You are registered as a work-seeker with a Labour Centre;
  • And you are capable of and available for work.

When CAN’T you claim benefits from the UIF?

As an employee, worker or contributor, you are NOT entitled to the payment of benefits if:

  • You have received any benefit paid from the Compensation Fund established under the ‘Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act’, 1993, as a result of an occupational injury or disease;
  • You are receiving any benefits from any unemployment fund or scheme established by a bargaining council;
  • You made a false statement in an application for benefits;
  • You submitted a fraudulent application for benefits;
  • You failed to inform the claims officer that you started work while benefits were still being paid;
  • You failed to comply with a written demand.

How do you apply for UIF benefits?

You must fill in the right application forms at your nearest Labour Centre within 6 months of the termination of your employment contract. However, the Commissioner may accept an application made after the 6 month time limit has expired if you can prove ‘just cause.’

  • All types of benefits are paid directly into your bank account. You will be given a UI/2.8 form to take to your bank for completion before you can apply for benefits.
  • You should make sure that all forms are fully and correctly completed by the bank officials and employers.
  • Most importantly, your employer needs to complete UI/19 forms for all employees.

What documents and forms do you need to claim your benefits?

Unemployment benefits

  • Your green bar-coded ID book
  • A completed UI/2.8 form to apply for benefits
  • The UI/2.11 form must also be completed by your employer in cases of retirement (including voluntary and early retirement).

Illness benefits

  • Your green bar-coded ID book
  • A completed UI/2.2 form by your doctor to confirm your illness.
  • A completed UI/2.7 form by your employer.

Maternity benefits

  • Your green bar-coded ID book 
  • A completed UI/2.5 form by your doctor to confirm your pregnancy; the birth of your child; or your miscarriage; or if the child is stillborn.
  • A completed UI/2.7 form by your employer.

Adoption benefits

  • Your green bar-coded ID book
  • A completed UI/2.7 form by your employer.
  • The Court Order granting the adoption.

Dependants’ benefits

  • Your green bar-coded ID book and that of the deceased.
  • Death Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • For death benefits for dependants, you will need to bring a completed UI/2.6 form and proof of guardianship completed by a Councilor/Headman/Chief/Social Worker/Religious Minister/Magistrate or SAPS.
  • A UI/53 form must also be completed by the employer for all death benefits.

How much money do you get?

  • The rate at which benefits are paid is outlined in Schedule 3 of the Unemployment Insurance Act.
  • The benefits range from 38% of your salary if you are a highly paid worker to 58% of your salary if you are the lowest paid workers.
  • All contributors that have sufficient credits will be paid a maximum of 238 days in benefits, in any period of 4 years, if unemployed.
  • In the case of maternity benefits, a total of 121 days is payable, if sufficient credits are available.
  • If your salary or wages fluctuate or change every month or every week, the Act says that the average earnings over the last 6 months must be used to calculate your earnings.

What are your rights to Illness Benefits?

  • As a contributor to the fund, you are entitled to illness benefits if you are unable to perform work because of an illness;
  • You will need to fulfill the prescribed requirements in respect of any specified illness;
  • You will not be entitled to illness benefits if you are sick for less than 14 days;
  • You need to make your application for illness benefits in person. If you can’t, the claims officer may authorize another person to make the application on your behalf;
  • You must make the application for illness benefits within 6 months of getting sick. If you don’t, the Commissioner may accept an application after the 6 month time limit has expired but only if you can show ‘good cause’.

What are your rights to Maternity Benefits?

  • If you become pregnant while contributing to the UIF, you are entitled to the maternity benefits for any period of pregnancy or delivery, and the period thereafter;
  • However, the maximum period of maternity benefits that can be claimed is 121 days.
  • When taking into account any maternity leave paid to you in terms of any other law or collective agreement or contract of employment, your UIF maternity benefit cannot exceed the remuneration you would have got, had you not been on maternity leave;
  • If you have a miscarriage during the third trimester or your child is still-born, you are still entitled to the maximum maternity benefit of 6 weeks after birth;
  • Your application for maternity benefits must be made at least 8 weeks before childbirth. But the Commissioner may accept an application after this, or extend the period of submission of the application up to a period of 6 months after the date of childbirth if you can show ‘good cause.’

What are your rights to Adoption Benefits?

  • Only one contributor of the adopting parties is entitled to the adoption benefits and only if the child has been adopted in terms of the Children’s Act, 2005;
  • You can only claim if the period you were not working was spent caring for the child;
  • You can only claim if the adopted child is under the age of 2 years;
  • Your entitlement can only start on the date that a court grants an Order for Adoption in terms of the Children’s Act, 2005;
  • You must make the application within 6 months of the date of the Order for Adoption. If you don’t, the Commissioner may accept an application after that if you can show ‘good cause’.

What are your rights to Dependants Benefits?

  • The surviving spouse or a life partner of a deceased contributor is entitled to the dependant’s benefits;
  • The application must be made within 6 months of the death of the contributor. However, the Commissioner may accept an application after the 6 month period if you can show ‘good cause’.
  • Any dependent child of the deceased contributor is entitled to the dependant’s benefits if there is no surviving spouse or life partner; or if the surviving spouse or life partner has not made an application for the benefits within 6 months of the contributor’s death.

Can you appeal against decisions?

YES! If you are entitled to benefits in terms of the Act, you can appeal to a Regional Appeals Committee if you don’t agree with a decision made by the Commissioner to suspend your right to benefits. You also have the right to appeal against a Claims Officer in relation to the payment or non-payment of benefits. Your appeal must be submitted within a period of 90 days.