Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has reiterated the call for employers registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to apply for COVID-19 benefits through the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme on behalf of their employees.

Nxesi has issued a directive for relief to be provided to contributors who have lost income or required to take annual leave as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UIF says it has received over 55 000 applications from employers, representing more than 1.6 million employees.

He says the department has paid out over R1.1-billion since the 16th of April.

Nxesi visited the UIF call centre in Johannesburg on Monday:

Warnings of possible job losses after lockdown

Labour Expert from Mabhala Consulting Bukani Mngoma says people may lose jobs after the COVID-19 disaster as employers may want to reorganise operations.

He says the lockdown is giving employers lessons on who are the essential part of a team and who are not.

In some companies,  essential services workers have kept companies going, while the rest of the staff are at home during the national lockdown.

Mngoma says COVID-19 has many lessons for both employers and employees.

“You may find that employers may readjust the need to actually work from work and instead, they may say let them continue to work from home. So, there is a possibility that for some employers this has presented them with a real life study in terms of whether they really need the numbers of employees that they currently have and which may have an implication for retrenchment should they find that they have been working with staff which is in excess of what is needed.”

-Additional reporting by Thabile Mbhele