Claiming Unemployment Insurance
Find out about the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), as well as the different types of circumstances the fund covers.
What is the Unemployment Insurance Fund?
The fund offers short-term financial assistance to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of illness, maternity or adoption leave. The fund also assists the dependants of a contributing worker who has died.
The Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply to all employers and workers, but not to:
Domestic employers and their workers are included under the Act since 1 April 2003.
Workers pay 1% of their salaries every month. Their employers contribute a further 1%.
It is the employer's responsibility to deduct the worker's contribution from their salary (excluding commission earnings) and pay it to the fund along with their contribution.
The employer is also responsible for making sure that all employees are registered with the UIF. If an employee has been registered and the contributions are paid, then that employee will be able to claim from the fund. The employee does not need a card or any other proof that they have contributed to the UIF.
Foreigners who are permanent workers qualify for UIF, and employers must also register foreigners with the fund.
Employees who are registered with the UIF and who have been paying contributions to the fund can claim if they lose their jobs or cannot work.
There are 5 kinds of benefits covered by UIF:
You can claim unemployment benefits if you have been dismissed or retrenched or if your contract has expired. You cannot claim if you have voluntarily resigned from your job.
You can claim illness benefits if you are off work due to illness for two weeks. Benefits are paid from the date on which you stopped working.
Maternity benefits can be claimed if you are pregnant and take maternity leave. You can claim for 17 weeks. If you miscarry in the third trimester or the baby is stillborn, you can claim for 6 weeks.
You can claim adoption benefits if you legally adopt a child younger than two years old and you leave work to look after that child. Only one of the adopting parents can apply for benefits.
The wife/ husband or minor child of someone who has died can claim death benefits if the deceased paid contributions to the fund.
Registering at a labour centre
Step 1: Get the necessary information (ID numbers and addresses of employers and workers) ready before visiting a labour centre near you.
Step 3: Fill in the forms. Employers must complete the forms for both themselves and their workers. This form of registration of workers asks for an employer reference number. However, if the employer does not have a reference number yet, this part can be left open. The UIF will create a reference number and send it to the employer.
Step 4: Hand in the forms to the labour centre staff.
If employers deduct too much money by accident, they must pay the extra money back to workers.
Unemployed workers can apply for benefits at their nearest labour centre in person. They must be registered as work-seekers and take the necessary documents with them.
There are different procedures for claiming the various benefits available:
If you want to claim from the UIF you need to go to your nearest Labour Office or register and claim online. There you will be asked to sign the unemployment register. You will be told when you need to come back and sign the register again. You will have to sign every four weeks to show that you still need to claim the UIF benefits.
You must go back to the office and sign the register on the correct date. If you are ill, you must take a doctor's certificate with you to the labour centre.
You will be given a white card, which the UIF officer will sign each time you sign the register.
If everything is in order, you should start getting money from the fund within eight weeks of registering. The money will then be paid every four weeks, until all the benefits are used up.
If you don't receive your money in eight weeks, you should phone the Labour Centre and ask them to find out why there is a delay. Remember to have your name and ID number ready.
You will receive a slip every time you receive money so that you can see how much you have received and how much you can still get.
To claim unemployment benefits you need to have:
If you want to receive unemployment benefits you need to be prepared to:
You need to collect your unemployment benefits from the Labour Office on the date they said the money will be there. You have to collect the money yourself and you must have your white card and ID book with you.
To apply for illness benefits, you need to register at the Labour Office nearest to you or register and claim online. If you are too ill to go to the office yourself, a friend or family member can get the form from the office and bring it to you to sign. The signed form then needs to be returned to the Labour Office.
You will need:
You also need to submit a medical certificate from your doctor.
You will be paid benefits for the time that the doctor has booked you off work but not for the first 2 weeks off work. You'll also only be paid for the time that you've not received normal wages from your employer.
Illness benefits will be paid to you by cheque and posted to you.
Remember, you can't claim illness benefits if your illness was caused by your own misconduct or if you unreasonably refuse treatment or fail to follow the doctor's instructions.
If you've lost your job as well as being too ill to work, you need to inform the claims officer of this because you might also be able to claim unemployment benefits for the period not covered by the illness benefits.
To claim maternity benefits, you need to register at the Labour Office in person, organise for someone to go in your place or register and claim online. All necessary documents must go with the applicant to the labour office.
To register you will need:
When you register, you will be given Form UF92. This form must be filled in by your doctor. You then submit this form to the UIF claims officer at the Labour Office.
The claim will be paid by cheque, which will be posted to you. To apply for benefits after the baby is born, you need to complete Form UF95 with help from the doctor who delivered the baby. If you are also unemployed, then you must notify the claims officer.
You will need to have:
You must apply for the benefits within six months of the adoption order being issued.
Adoption benefits are paid by cheque through the post. A form will accompany the payment. This form must be filled in and sent back to the claims officer at the Labour Office.
The husband or wife of the deceased worker and any minor children of the worker can claim death benefits from the UIF.
You must apply for these benefits within six months of the death of the worker.
If you were the husband or wife of the deceased worker, you need to go to the Labour Office. You will need to have:
If you are the child of the deceased worker, you can claim by completing Form UF127 and submitting it at the Labour Office. You will need:
The Labour Office will give you Form UF128, which needs to be filled in by the deceased's last employer and then submitted at the Labour Office.
The death benefit is the amount that the worker could have claimed if they were unemployed. This is paid out in one payment.
For more information:
|Government Body:||(The Government of South Africa)|
- Unemployment Insurance Contributions: Guideline to Employers (Public Information)
- Unemployment Insurance Act, 63 of 2001 (Act)
- Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act (Act 4 of 2002) (Act) (File type: pdf; size: 500.51 KB)
- Unemployment Insurance Fund Website (Link)
- Career Resilience when facing unexpected job loss (Public Information)