Queries cleared up - TERS Q&A

Sole use of the benefit: Only to cover the cost of salaries during the closure.  Employers may not withdraw the funds paid by the UIF, or draw any cheques from the funds.

If the employer has part paid the employee, can the benefit still be claimed: Yes.

Can an employer retain the value of the benefit already paid to the employee before TERS paid? Yes.

Can the employer claim even if the majority of employees are working from home? Yes.

Are reduced working hours considered a partial closure: Yes.

Can employers apply if reduced salaries are paid? Yes.

Can an employer apply for May and June? Yes, if there is still partial or complete closure for May and June.

Must a business be in complete shutdown in order to claim?  No

Part payment of salaries:  Payment of less than 100% of salaries can be claimed. TERS cannot be claimed if a full salary is paid.  No employee may receive more than 100% of their normal salary.

When does the employer pay the employee? within 2 days of receiving the benefit from TERS.

How long does TERS take to pay the employer? After verifying the supporting documents submitted by the employer and, within 10 business days, TERS deposit the funds into the employer’s business account.

Can temporary workers laid-off during lockdown claim? Yes, as long as the reason for them not working is as a result of the lockdown.

Can non-South Africans receive benefits? Yes, provided that they have a work permit and are registered with the UIF.

Are benefits only available to employees receiving no payment? No, employees whose income is reduced may also claim.

Can domestic workers apply for TERS?  Yes, if the employee is registered with the UIF.

Can non-declared employees receive benefits? All employees will be checked against UIF systems and if the employee is not registered with UIF, the application will be returned back requesting additional information from the employer.

Can TERS be claimed if employees are not yet registered for UIF? No.

Top up payment by the employer: Any amounts paid by the employer to top up the shortfall between the Terms benefits and normal remuneration does not reduce the TERS benefits. But the salary + TERS payment must not exceed 100% of the employee’s remuneration received before lockdown.

Can an employee get more than their salary? No. TERS payment + employer payment cannot exceed 100% of the normal remuneration.

Can employers credit their staff for annual leave days taken, once TERS payment is made to the employee? Yes

Can employees under quarantine apply for UIF? Yes, if the quarantine is 14 days or longer.  That person applies for the Illness Benefit under the UIF.

If an employee received TERS benefits, but is then retrenched, can that employee claim unemployment benefits from UIF? Yes. TERS is de-linked from the other UIF benefits.

What happens to employees receiving UIF benefits before lockdown? The payment from UIF continues until the benefit runs out.
Are the benefits taxable? No.

Is the TERS payment remuneration? No.

Is TERS reflected as remuneration on payslips? No.

It TERS included in the PAYE report to SARS? No.

How long is the benefit paid? The whole lockdown period.

Minimum amount of the benefit: R3 500.

Is there a cap of the amount that can be claimed through COVID-19 TERS? Yes. The salary benefits will be capped to a maximum amount of R17 712, 00 per month.

Who will pay the benefit? TERS pays the employer, and the employer pays the employee, except where the employees have already been paid.

With the involvement of a Bargaining Council: TERS pays the Bargaining Council, which pays the employer, which pays the employee.

Will the benefit be paid in one lump sum? The benefit funds will be paid:
- For the first period of temporary closure for 30 days from the date of lockdown;
- Second, for any period of temporary closure during the following 30 days.
- Third, for any period of temporary closure during the balance of the Memorandum of Agreement.

How long is the Memorandum of Agreement in force? Three months from the date of confirmation by the UIF that it has accepted the employer’s COVID-19 TERS application. 

Who can claim? Employers and employees who contribute to the UIF.
Reason for the claim: The employer must have closed its operations, or part of its operations, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, for a period of three months or less.

Minimum size of the workforce to claim: None, although employers with fewer than 10 employees, have different provisions.

Date of employment: The employee must have been in the employer’s employ on 27 March 2020, and must have suffered, or will suffer, a loss of income as a result of the closure.

What about employers who employ fewer than 10 employees?    Employers must submit the individual bank account details of each of the employees to the UIF. The UIF will pay these employees directly.

How does an employer claim?
- Apply by reporting the total or partial closure to covid19ters@labour.gov.za.
- Automatic response outlining the application process and the documents and information that is required will be sent.  The required document are:
o A letter of authority from the employer.
o The signed Memorandum of Agreement, or electronic acceptance of the standard terms.
o The UIF’s template which includes details of the employer, the period of closure, the list of employees and their dates of employment and ID numbers, the remuneration received by the employees.
o Proof of remuneration to employees for the previous three months; and
o Confirmation of employer bank account.

How many claims for multiple companies? One application per company.

Some employees are not paid. A declaration needs to be made to UIF every month.

No response from UIF/TERS. Often, it is because the CSV file is wrong, and its then better to submit manually.

Mark - 11:33 @ common, Industrial Relations, Human Resources, B-BBEE