May 14, 2020

Employees Short-Changed as Companies Refuse to Apply for (TERS) Relief Scheme Benefits

The South African Payroll Association (SAPA) has received several complaints from employees whose salaries have been cut, but their employers aren’t even attempting to claim from the Department of Labour’s Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) to ensure their staff isn’t short-changed during the lockdown period.

Arlene Leggat, President of the SAPA, says that many employers believe they won’t receive funds from the TERS, but this isn’t true.

“There is a lot of negativity about the TERS and the government’s ability to process payments. The payment system initially had its hiccups, but the reality now is that TERS benefits are being paid out but employers are being too stubborn to apply for the benefits on their staff’s behalf.

If your company has had to reduce employees’ hours, cut salaries, or both, it is your responsibility to start the application process so that your employees don’t have a reduced salary during these uncertain times.
If you are working for a company that isn’t prepared to claim from the TERS, then you need to notify the Department of Labour so that they can follow up on this,” says Leggat.

The TERS is a financial support measure that the government has put in place to support workers and employers during the COVID-19 lockdown. An employee’s daily income, as well as the income replacement rate, needs to be calculated according to the requirements on the website. Salaries that are taken into account for TERS benefits are capped at R17 712 per month per employee.

The income replacement rate sliding scale from 38% to 60% then determines the benefit the employee will receive.

Who can claim?
While there has been a lot written about the government only giving financial support to BB-EEE, Leggat says this is not the case for TERS benefits.

“All companies who are registered and pay UIF can claim. If your company’s TERS claim has been rejected and you don’t know why, please contact UIF through their available channels.

It is challenging at the moment as calls are not always answered. The other option is to check your file and resubmit.,” says Leggat.

How to claim
Companies must apply for the TERS benefits and receive money as a lump sum, which they then have to distribute to their employees.

To initiate the process, employers must send an email Here, which will trigger an automated reply that will outline the steps and details.

Then, applications are made on this website

“When the system initially launched in April, there were many issues, but these problems have since – for the most – been ironed out.

The SAPA commends the Department for rolling out this benefit programme on short notice and we encourage employers who are cutting their workers’ salaries to immediately start their TERS application processes.

Their employees’ livelihood depends on it,” concludes Leggat.