The Unemployment Insurance Fund is a government initiative intended to provide some income if you are between jobs.
The arrival of COVID-19 means that job cuts and retrenchments could now be a reality for more and more people. If it happens to you, being able to claim from UIF will be a big relief. But you’ll need to know how, and what the benefits are.
Once you know the process, and how much of the fund you’re entitled to, then you can budget better.
We’ve managed to break it all down for you here.
First, these would be just a few of the reasons you wouldn’t be able to claim:
- You were suspended from your job because you committed fraud.
- You quit your job.
- You refused training or advice.
- You already qualify for a benefit from an unemployment fund under the Labour Relations Act.
- You already receive benefits from the Compensation Fund.
What benefits do you receive from the UIF?
In addition to unemployment benefits the UIF also pays out illness benefits, maternity benefits, adoption benefits and death benefits.
Illness benefits: can be claimed if you are ill for two weeks or longer.
Maternity benefits: can be claimed if you are pregnant and taking maternity leave. You can take maternity leave from four weeks before the expected date of birth and you may not work for a period of six weeks after the birth.
Adoption benefits: you can claim adoption benefits if you legally adopt a child younger than two years old and take time off from work to look after the child. However, only one of the adoptive parents can apply for benefits.
Death benefits: The wife/husband or minor child of someone who has died can claim death benefits if the deceased contributed to the fund.
How to lodge a claim
You can lodge a UIF claim if your employer goes bankrupt, your contract ends, or you are fired or retrenched. You must lodge your claim within six months of the date you stopped working.
Step 1: Go to a department of labour office to sign an unemployment register. Unfortunately, you must lodge your claim in person. You require the following documents when lodging a claim:
- Your green barcoded ID book, smartcard ID or passport.
- Proof of your registration as someone who is seeking work (signing the unemployment register at the department of labour’s office).
- A service certificate from your employer.
- Copies of your last six payslips.
- Form UI-2.8 filled in with your banking details.
- Form UI-19 to show you are no longer employed.
Step 2: Return every four weeks or register an online profile on the UIF website to sign the register again. This is to show that you still need unemployment benefits. The relevant forms are available directly from the department’s offices, or you can download them here.
How much can you claim?
If you have been contributing to UIF for four years or more, you can claim for up to 238 days, or eight months. If you have been contributing for a shorter period, you can claim one day for every six days that you worked while you were contributing to the fund. If you take maternity leave, you can only claim up to 121 days.
The fund pays a percentage of the wage/salary that you earned while you were contributing to it. The highest amount that can be paid is 58% of what you earned per day.
The amount that you will be paid is determined differently, depending on the amount of your monthly salary. For example, if you earn less than R12 478 a month, you will receive about 36% to 56% of your average monthly salary from the past four years. The higher your salary, the lower the percentage that you will get back. If you earn more than R12 478 a month, you will receive a fixed monthly benefit of between R4 250 and R4 550.
The information contained in this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.