We’re into the section half of a renewed level 4 lockdown. And while safety of the population is of utmost importance, so too are the livelihoods of SMEs. In response to the current restrictions placed upon the travel, liquor, hospitality and restaurant sectors, Government, Labour and Business have been in talks to extend the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).

The COVID-19 relief scheme’s reintroduction has not yet been finalised due to differing views, but “At a broad level there’s agreement, which is critical. A ministerial directive is being drafted and a payment is system being set up,” according to Cosatu spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla.

The decision will be discussed in cabinet over the next few days, with the hopes that financial relief will be provided for the first two weeks of the adjusted level 4, and any further extension that may come. 

As a special Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefit, the COVID-19 relief benefit is open to all UIF paying businesses who are facing financial distress due to lockdown restrictions, and current talks are reassuring to many parties, including Cosatu president, Zingiswa Losi. “We are now waiting for the process to unfold where the ministerial directive is being drafted. “We hope that the payment system will be set up and that an official announcement is made this week so the employers and employees can begin to apply for the TERS relief fund.”

Conditions, time frames and application information will be provided once a decision has been made, but the current TERS application process remains the same:

  1. Navigate to the UIF application page
  2. Login and complete your company and employee information
  3. Check your profile regularly to monitor your TERS application status

The scheme has already paid out R600 billion to over five million workers in South Africa, with the hopes of more to come during lockdown level 4 in 2021.

In light of it being Savings Month and SME’s heightened awareness around business finances, employers and employees in the restricted sectors will no doubt wait with baited breath to hear details of the UIF TERS July application process.