Monday, 04 April 2022 16:13

Government’s Covid-19 TERS for workers is coming to an end.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The government will begin winding down its Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) as the country enters the post-pandemic stage, says Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi.

"As some level of normality has resumed this year, including a lot of economic activity, we are winding down and preparing to close Covid-19 TERS by paying all valid and remaining claims," Nxesi said on Monday (4 April).

"In this regard, we urge employers to correct all errors on the Covid-19 TERS portal to enable us to disburse all outstanding monies and bring an end to the scheme."

During the 2022/2023 financial year, the fund will focus mainly on improving service delivery and providing social security, including paying normal UIF benefits, to contributors and their beneficiaries, Nxesi said.

He added that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) remains in a sound financial position, as the assets have increased from R115 billion to R124 billion by 31 December 2021, and this will ensure future payments of normal benefit claims and administrative costs.

"The UIF will also be one of the key instruments in our pursuit of fully achieving the expanded mandate of the Department of not only focusing on labour market regulation through policies and legislation but also on creating and preserving jobs."

The Temporary Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) was originally introduced to support employees whose services would not be used during lockdown because of the disaster regulations that designated only certain industry sectors and workers as essential.

The scheme was primarily formed to save jobs and ease the financial burden on businesses but most importantly, their vulnerable workers after the country was placed on the first hard lockdown from 26 March 2020 to 16 April 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nxesi subsequently extended support multiple times as the country was impacted by lockdown restrictions and riots in 2021.

"It was important to introduce Covid-19 TERS to balance curbing the spread of the virus and keep South Africa’s economic wheels going," the minister said.