The following changes have recently come into force and effect.
Amending the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001, so as to provide for the extension of the unemployment insurance benefits to learners who are undergoing learnership training and civil servants; to adjust the accrual rate of a contributor’s entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits; to finance employment services; to extend a contributor’s entitlement to benefits under certain circumstances; to provide for the process of application for maternity benefits; to repeal some enforcement provisions; to empower the Unemployment Insurance Board to provide in its constitution for the functions of regional appeals committees; to amend Schedule 2 to the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001, so as to provide for the adjustment of the Income Replacement Rate; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
This act applies to all employers and employees, other than employees employed for less than 24 hours per month with a particular employer, and their employers. This Act does not apply to members of parliament, cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, members of provincial executive councils, members of provincial legislatures and municipal councillors.
- Reduced working time:
A contributor employed in any sector who loses his or her income due to reduce working time, despite still being employed, is entitled to benefits if the contributor’s total income falls below the benefit level that the contributor would have received if he or she had become wholly unemployed, subject to that contributor having enough credits.
- Rights to Maternity benefits:
Maternity benefits must be paid at a rate 66% of the earnings of the beneficiary at the date of the application. The first 238 days of benefits are paid at the income replacement rate. The remainder of credits is paid at a flat rate of 20.
A contributor’s entitlement to benefits accrues at a rate of one day’s benefit for every completed five days of employment as a contributor subject to a maximum accrual of 365 days benefits in the four year period immediately preceding the day after the date of ending of the period of employment.
Unemployment benefits must be paid to the unemployed contributor regardless of whether or not the contributor has received benefits within that four year cycle, if the contributor has credits.
The payment of maternity benefits may not affect the payment of unemployment benefits. The application must be made within 12 months of the termination of the contract of employment.
A contributor who has a miscarriage during the third trimester or bears a still-born child is entitled to a full maternity benefit of 17 to 32 weeks.
A contributor is not entitled to benefits unless she was in employment, whether as a contributor or not, for at least 13 weeks before the date of application for maternity benefits.
An application for maternity benefits must be in the prescribed format an employment office at any time before or after childbirth: Provided that the application shall be made within a period of 12 months after the date of childbirth.
- Rights to illness benefits:
A contributor is not entitled to Illness benefits, if the period of illness is less than seven days.
- Right to dependant’s benefits:
The surviving Spouse or a life partner of the deceased contributor is entitled to claim the dependent’s benefits within 18 months of the death of the contributor.
No right to charge a fee:
When processing application for benefits neither the Fund nor any agency or person purporting to act on behalf of the applicant may charge a fee against the applicant.