What you need to know about claim­ing UIF

Re­trench­ments are likely to be­come more com­mon­place in the cur­rent eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment as com­pa­nies down­size and try to con­tain costs. If you don’t have re­trench­ment in­sur­ance and you need funds to tide you over un­til you are able to find an­other job, i

CityPress - - Business - NEESA MOOD­LEY busi­ness@city­press.co.za

Sipho wrote to City Press to say that he was re­cently re­trenched af­ter the tele­coms com­pany he worked for went through a re­struc­tur­ing process. He is 55 and was em­ployed by the same com­pany for 34 years.

“Af­ter be­ing in­formed that the com­pany in­tended to re­duce staff num­bers, I de­cided to take the sev­er­ance pack­age at the end of July 2015. How­ever, I nei­ther knew how long it would take for my pen­sion claim to pay out, nor was I aware of the UIF [Un­em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance Fund] pay­out process,” says Sipho, who, al­though be­ing told he would re­ceive his pen­sion pay­out within a month, is still wait­ing to be paid. He is re­ly­ing on his UIF pay­ment to fill the gap.

“I did not use e-fil­ing for UIF and went to the labour of­fice to file a claim. How­ever, af­ter hand­ing in my claim, I have still not re­ceived any pay­ments – 12 days later,” says Sipho.

If you are look­ing to claim from UIF, it helps to un­der­stand the process and – most im­por­tantly – the time frames. You will only start re­ceiv­ing your ben­e­fits up to eight weeks af­ter reg­is­ter­ing. This is the max­i­mum time it should take for pay­ments to start com­ing through, and you will re­ceive pay­ments ev­ery four weeks un­til your ben­e­fits are ex­hausted.

How­ever, if you have put in an ap­pli­ca­tion and have not re­ceived any funds af­ter eight weeks, you are ad­vised to find all your sup­port­ing doc­u­ments and re­turn to the depart­ment of labour of­fice where you lodged your claim. WHO CAN CLAIM? The Un­em­ploy­ment In­sur­ance Fund was set up by govern­ment to pro­vide in­terim re­lief to work­ers who are be­tween jobs, and women on ma­ter­nity leave. You can­not claim UIF un­der the fol­low­ing cir­cum­stances:

If you were sus­pended from your job be­cause you com­mit­ted fraud; If you quit your job; If you re­fused train­ing or ad­vice; If you al­ready qual­ify for a ben­e­fit from an un­em­ploy­ment fund un­der the Labour Re­la­tions Act; and

If you al­ready re­ceive ben­e­fits from the Com­pen­sa­tion Fund.

Note that the un­em­ploy­ment of­fi­cer can re­quest that you go for train­ing or ca­reer coun­selling. If this hap­pens and you fail to at­tend the train­ing or coun­selling, your UIF ben­e­fits may be stopped. WHAT BEN­E­FITS DO YOU RE­CEIVE FROM THE UIF?

The UIF will pay you un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, ill­ness ben­e­fits, ma­ter­nity 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.

Note that 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.

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 have to lodge within six months of the date you stopped work­ing.

The first step is go­ing to a depart­ment of labour of­fice to sign an un­em­ploy­ment reg­is­ter. You are then re­quired to re­turn ev­ery four weeks to sign the reg­is­ter again and show that you still need un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits. The rel­e­vant forms are avail­able di­rectly from the depart­ment’s of­fices, or you can down­load them from labour.gov.za.

You have to go to a depart­ment of labour of­fice in per­son to lodge your UIF claim and you will need the fol­low­ing doc­u­ments: Your green bar­coded ID book 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; A copy of your last six payslips; A form filled in with your bank­ing de­tails (form UI-2.8); and

A form that shows that you are no longer em­ployed (form UI-19). 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.

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