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1 April 2020 Covid-19 – Government Assistance to Industry

Dear Members

It is our hope that you are keeping safe in these outrageous times. We are aware that there are many challenges that the jewellery and diamond industry are facing, including how you will be paying staff without receiving an income.

The Department of Small Business Development has set up a fund to help alleviate the economic impact of the Corona Virus on small business. See attached article: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/all-small-businesses-may-apply-for-coronavirus-debt-relief-funding/

Also attached is a link to the NSBC Africa’s website which provides information on the Covid-19 Small Business Relief Centre https://www.nsbc.africa/

For those of you who would like to access UIF benefits for employees during this forced shutdown and no doubt after the shutdown period as it will certainly take time for the industry to recover from this impact, then please note the following:

We have been advised that in order to avoid employees having to apply on an individual basis, and thus affecting their UIF benefits, companies or industry groups can facilitate this on behalf of affected employees via the Covid-19 TERS benefit. The COVID-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme is a scheme established to compensate employees who have lost income due to COVID-19. It is a special benefit created under the UIF and is not linked to an employee’s normal UIF credits. The company qualifies for the benefit if the employer closes its operations for 3 months or less directly as a result of COVID-19 and suffers financial distress. The benefit only pays for the cost of employees’ salaries during the temporary closure of the business.

Salary benefits are capped to a maximum of R17 712 per month per employee and the income replacement rate sliding scale (38% to 60%) is used. If the employee’s income falls below the minimum wage of that sector, then the employee will be paid the minimum wage of that sector. The benefit can never be less than the minimum wage of the sector.

Qualifying requirements:

  • Company registered with UIF
  • Closure must be directly linked to COVID-19
  • Employees must not be being paid by the employer during the closure
  • The employer must follow the application procedure – send email reporting the closure to covid19ters@labour.gov.za and automatic response will be received explaining the process. The employee doesn’t send any documents as part of this process.

Kindy note that the Jewellery Council staff are not experts on the above matters and queries should be addressed from information obtained from the said websites.

With very best wishes