By: Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
The Unemployment Insurance Fund wants to clamp down on employers who fail to declare their employees to the fund and the South African Revenue Service (Sars), with Parliament set to approve the UIF Amendment Bill.
Senior principal legal officer at the fund Cornelius Phathela told journalists at a workshop in Parliament yesterday that the bill was crucial in strengthening the fund.
It emerged that some companies were circumventing the law by not declaring their workers to the UIF and paying contributions to the fund and Sars.
This has led to massive delays in paying out benefits to workers who have lost their jobs.
Phathela said they hoped Parliament would adopt the bill in due course before it is signed into law.
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Makhosonke Buthelezi, the communications director at the fund, said they had received numerous complaints against the fund taking a long time to pay benefits.
He said the delays were caused by companies failing to declare to the fund.
Buthelezi said some of the companies were not even paying the contributions to the fund or Sars.
“The employers must declare to the fund employee details and pay contributions to Sars or UIF,” he said.
“This is one of the causes of the delays,” he added.
“In terms of the new legislation, companies will be required to declare their employees every month. This is not optional,” said Buthelezi.
He said they pay out benefits amounting to R32 million every day, out of 60 000 claims.
They want to increase the figure of R32m once they have managed to cut down on the delays by cracking down on employers who are failing to declare.
The UIF said it was still financially viable, but it wants employers to declare.
Parliament would have to act decisively in ensuring that the bill was approved.
The bill was tabled in Parliament early this year, and it has extended the benefits of unemployed people to a number of people.
One of the major amendments was that benefits would no longer be paid out over eight months, but 12 months.
This was a major victory for all parties in Parliament and for labour.
The bill has, for the first time, allowed women who suffer miscarriages to be able to access benefits.
The third major element of the bill was that it would include public servants.
In the past, it catered only for people employed in the private sector.