Please see the guidelines below to help you make decisions regarding payment and assistance of employees during the COVID-19 Lockdown.
Payment to Employees
- One of the biggest concerns is that of the payment to employees. A lockdown is circumstances outside the control of the Employer and income will not be generated or it may be severely hampered during this time. Companies who can work remotely are encouraged to do so and must ensure that there are relevant policies and procedures in place to manage and regulate this arrangement.
- The lockdown may lead to unintended consequences such as retrenchments/ layoffs or reduced working hours. The Minister of Employment and Labour declared measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will compensate affected workers through its existing illness and reduced work time benefits. This applies to all employers that are registered with UIF and are in good standing as per the Contributions Act of 2002. It is a flat rate benefit of R3, 500 per month for the period of the lockdown up to a maximum period of 3 months. Thereafter it is calculated in terms of the normal UIF calculation and any future claim for UIF will not be affected.
- The Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), to enable companies to pay employees directly during this period and avoid retrenchment and /or layoff is being investigated. Further details are not yet available. However, the latest TERS document is attached for your perusal. See attached TERS Application process.
- Other options available include a change in the builders shutdown period to coincide with this lockdown which may still give the employee an income. This may however be difficult to implement as companies may not have generated the revenue for the shutdown period this early in the year.
- The option of special leave also exists which can be arranged between the employer and employee and this could be paid leave. Alternatively, a combination of annual leave and special leave may be negotiated in the circumstances.