What you should know about the Unemployment Insurance Fund

July 4th, 2008, Published in Articles: Vector

 

Money is deducted from your monthly salary or weekly wages and paid into the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

But do you know why you are contributing to this fund, and how and when you can access benefits from the UIF?

The UIF was set up by the government to financially assist people who have lost their jobs, as well as those who are temporarily unemployed due to illness, pregnancy and while adopting a child under the age of two years.

The UIF also provides benefits for families after the breadwinner dies.
Anyone who is employed and who works for 24 hours or more a month – including domestic and farm workers – is required to contribute to the fund.

There are a few exceptions to this requirement – mainly people who are employed temporarily and those who are employed by the national or provincial governments.

Your employer is expected to deduct the contributions from your earnings, and failure to do so is an offence punishable with a fine or imprisonment or both.
The contribution you are expected to make to the UIF is equal to one percent of your gross remuneration – that is, your salary before any deductions.
In addition to the one percent paid by you, as an employee, your employer must contribute one percent – making a total contribution equal to two percent of your remuneration.

However, total contributions are calculated at two percent of your gross earnings up to R12 478 a month. So the maximum you and your employer can contribute is R249,56 a month.

Types of benefits you can claim

There are five different types of benefits you can claim from the UIF. They are:
Unemployment benefits; illness benefits; maternity benefits; adoption benefits; and dependant benefits.

The value of the benefit to which you are entitled depends on what you were earning when you were contributing to the fund and how long you have been contributing (see “How our benefit is calculated”).

Unemployment benefits

You must apply to the Department of Labour for unemployment benefits within six months of becoming unemployed if you want to claim unemployment benefits. You can then claim benefits for a maximum of 34 weeks 238 days), depending on how long you have contributed to the UIF.

You cannot claim if you resign from your job, but you can claim if you were on a contract that ended – as long as the employer terminated your services.
In order to claim benefits, you also have to register as a work-seeker with the Department of Labour.

Registering with the Department of Labour as a work-seeker means that suitable employment, where available, will be offered to you. The department will contact you should suitable employment become available.

If you refuse any employment offered and your refusal is regarded as unreasonable, you may lose your benefits, or they may be suspended.
You are no longer required to report to the Department of Labour on set dates, as was the case in the past, in order to receive benefits.

Illness benefits

If you are ill and are unable to work for 14 days or more and you are not receiving a salary or are receiving only part of your salary, you can claim illness benefits for a maximum of 34 weeks, or 238 days.

Maternity benefits

When you take maternity leave, you are entitled to claim maternity benefits up to a maximum of 17.32 weeks (121 days). If you have had a miscarriage, you can claim for six weeks (42 days). You are also entitled to claim when your employer is paying you only a portion of your normal wages or salary while you are on maternity leave. You should apply for maternity benefits when your employer stops paying your full wages or salary. If you do not apply within six months of the birth of your child, the benefits will lapse.

Adoption benefits

You can claim adoption benefits when you adopt a child under the age of two and take unpaid leave or receive only a part of your salary while you are at home caring for the child. Only one of the adopting parents can claim.
You must apply within six months of the adoption order being issued, and you are entitled to benefits for a maximum of 238 days.

Dependant benefits

If your spouse or life partner who contributed to the UIF dies, you can claim this benefit, even if you are employed. You must apply for the benefit within six months of your spouse or life partner’s death.
A child dependant of the deceased who is under 21, or a child of the deceased who is under 25 and who is a learner and who was wholly or mainly dependent on the deceased, can also claim for this benefit if there is no claim from a spouse.
Dependant benefits are payable for a maximum of 238 days. You must apply within six months and two weeks of the contributor dying.

Not entitled to benefits

You are not entitled to receive benefits from the UIF if:

  • You are receiving payment from the Compensation Fund for an illness or injuries that caused your permanent or temporary unemployment;
  • You are receiving benefits from any other scheme established by the Labour Relations Act;
  • You resign from your job;
  • ou fail to comply with the provisions of the Act; or
  • You are suspended from receiving benefits or if you have committed fraud. In this case, you could be denied access to the UIF for up to five years.

How your payouts are calculated

A complex formula is used to determine the level of benefits you can receive from the UIF.

The formula is based on the period for which you have been employed and have contributed to the fund, and the income you were earning at the time you became unemployed, or, in the case of maternity benefits, went on maternity leave. In the case of dependant benefits, the income the breadwinner in your family was earning when he or she died is taken into consideration.

You earn credits based on the length of time you have been employed and have contributed to the fund. For every six calendar days for which you are employed, you earn one day’s credit, up to a maximum of 238 days. To build up the maximum number of credits, you would need to be employed for four years. Credits are based on calendar days and not the actual days you worked.

If you have been employed for less than four years, you can still claim from the UIF, but you will only qualify for benefits up to the number of days’ credit you have built up.

The rate at which benefits are paid to you also depends on your income. The lowest-paid workers receive benefits at a rate of 58% of their income, while higher-paid workers receive a lower percentage.

If you earn R149 736 a year, or R12 478 a month, or R2879,53 a week, you will receive benefits of only 38% of your income.

Anyone who earns more than these amounts will also receive benefits based on 38% of R149 736 a year, or R12 478 a month, or R2879,53 a week.

The intention behind this is to pay you a benefit that can sustain you during your unemployment.

How you can apply for assistance

The UIF has a database of all registered employers and employees. This means you do not have to prove that you or a deceased person paid contributions if you apply for benefits, because the UIF will check its database for your identity number or that of the deceased.

To apply for a benefit, you need to take the following document to your nearest Labour Centre:

Unemployment benefits

  • Your 13-digit, bar-coded identity document (ID) or passport;
  • Proof of your banking details; and
  • Proof that you are registered as a work-seeker with the Department of Labour.

Illness benefits

  • Your 13-digit, bar-coded ID or passport;
  • Proof of your banking details
  • A statement of the amount you received from your employer during the period of your illness; and
  • The completed medical certificate on the application form that confirms your incapacity due to illness.

Maternity benefits

  • Your 13-digit, bar-coded ID or passport;
  • Proof of your banking details;
  • A statement of the amount you received from your employer during maternity leave; and
  • The completed medical certificate on the application form that confirms the birth of your child. If you apply for benefits before the birth, you will need a medical certificate from your doctor or registered midwife that confirms the estimated date of the birth.
  • If you apply after the birth, a registered midwife or medical practitioner has to confirm the birth on the medical certificate.

Adoption benefits

  • Your 13-digit, bar-coded ID or passport;
  • Proof of your banking details;
  • A statement of the amount you received from your employer during adoption leave;
  • The completed adoption-specific UIF form.
  • A court order of the adoption; and
  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate

Dependant benefits

If you are a spouse or life partner:

  • Certified copies of the 13-digit, bar-coded, IDs or passports of both the deceased and application/life partner;
  • Proof of your banking details;
  • A certified copy of your marriage certificate;
  • Your spouse or life partner’s certified death certificate;
  • The completed dependant-specific UIF form.

If you are a guardian applying on behalf of a child dependant of a deceased breadwinner:

  • Certified copies of the 13-digit, bar-coded iDs or passports of the deceased, the guardian and the child;
  • Proof of the applicant’s banking details;
  • Proof of guardianship;
  • A certified copy of the breadwinner’s death certificate;
  • The completed dependant-specific UIF form; and
  • Proof that the child is a learner or proof that the child was wholly or mainly dependent on the deceased breadwinner.

Fraud warning

UIF spokesperson Kgomotso Sebetso warns that you are committing fraud if you claim UIF benefits after you have found work. He says the UIF estimates that illegal claims totalling R87 million have been submitted to the fund over the past two years. Of this amount, some R15-million has been recouped.

Sebetso says if you submit a fraudulent claim to the UIF, you could be banned from claiming benefits for up to five years.

If you know that someone is defrauding the UIF, you can report him or her to 0800 60 11 48 or fraud@uif.gov.za

Useful contact

To verify whether your employer has registered you with the UIF, you can contact your nearest Labour Centre. Have your identity number at hand. Alternatively, you can telephone the UIF call centre on 012 337 1680.

This article was first published in Personal Finance, a publication of Independent Newspapers, published in The Saturday Star, The Saturday Argus, The Independent on Saturday and the Pretoria News Weekend.

  • hayley

    What if I have been unable to sign the register on the set date due to being out of the province looking for work?

  • Unknown

    How do I find out if I was registered for uif by my employer because I never received a payslip

  • Nonhlanhla

    For how long must you receive payment from UIF

  • Nonhlanhla

    How do they calculate and how are we going to know how much must you received for Unimployment fund

  • warren

    I want to know if you have worked for a certain company but u resigned, and were unemployed for a while and get employment again and pay uif again can u claim the previous employments uif.

  • Rachel

    How long must you receive UIF if u wer employed for a year?

  • Rachel

    How long must you receive UIF if u wer employed for a year?

  • Patricia Sewakga

    How do i know that am registered for uif benefits

  • France Mahapa

    How much uif percentage do I contribute if I am earning 23450.00?

  • JJ

    If you bought shares in a company but do not receive income from the company, can you still claim your UIF? If not and you already do, how can you rectify this? Do you send an afidavit admitting to this? What will the consequences be when admitting this out of your own free will.

  • Motso Letlape

    Hi there

    I did resign as working conditions were unbearable,am currently.unemployed can I claim my uif? Its been a month not working 🙁

    • zandile

      nope,you cant claim upon resignation

  • mamachini

    The company that my husband did not make me aware that Imust claim after his death,what must I do now

  • Naledi Kekana

    My father has passed away 6years ago.I and my little sister went to the labour centre to claim immediately after he passed on but then nothing has been paid back ever since.. I need help

  • lilian

    when I claim now for uif will I get the previous jobs uif also

  • if my contract expires and I decide to go back to class can I still claim the benefits?”

  • Sheila Jackson

    How long does it take to receive payment of the UIF once your spouse has passed away and you have handed in all the necessary documentation to apply for same?

  • Steven Ngcobo

    If I did a lower paying jobs than I am currently working at, will those previous employment count for my current UIF?

  • angie

    My mom passed away three years back n im over thirty can i claim her deceasesd uif

  • josephus potgieter

    Can I get fired for going to seek help if your imployer hasn’t pay any uif for last for years and what can I do about it

  • Kefuwe Majobile Molotsi

    Within how many months must i claim my uif after my contract ended?

    • SIP-04

      6 month

  • Elaine Venter

    How long are u waiting for uif to pay out

  • daphne

    Daphne
    I want to know if you have worked for a certain company but u resigned, and were unemployed for a while and get employment again and pay uif again can u claim the previous employments uif.

  • Diego Batist

    can you apply for UIF if you give birth twice in the space of 1 year?

  • Dalmain

    I want to know if you are due for maternity leave and no UIF has been deducted from you salary since you started work 2 years ago. how will this impact your claims at the D.o.L. what needs to be done in this case?

  • sithembiso

    Are any private,franchise companies set to register their workers under UlF or is it a optional choice

  • Mandy

    My life partner has been unable to work due to severe illness and I have had to stop working to take care of him. Please advise if I would be able to claim from UIF?

  • megan

    why cant i claim the 1st time i went it was disapprove because the employer did not make contribution while i was working so uif offices used of the credits so i got a date to go back and they said they would make sure i recieve my money but when going back on the date given they disapproved again because due to them i had to little credit can that be my fault

  • Winnie Nkosi

    How long do we have to wait for pay out and please how do you calculate uif