Answer to a question from a reader

Can my domestic worker claim UIF if I have reduced the number of days she works?

The short answer

Yes, she should be able to claim under the “reduced working time option.”

The whole question

Dear Athalie

Our domestic worker has been working for us for two days a week for three years. We can no longer afford to pay her for both days but will keep her on for one day a week. Can she claim UIF now that she is earning less per month?

The long answer

Yes, she should be able to claim under the “reduced working time option” which was introduced in December 2018, and was originally intended for employees who had to work a short time. 

Regulation 3 was inserted in 2018 in terms of Section 12 (1B) of the Unemployment Insurance Act as follows: 

“3 (1): The income derived from continued employment contemplated in Section 12(1B) of the Act, plus the amount of benefits calculated, may not exceed the benefits that would have been paid if the contributor had become wholly unemployed.

3 (2): Reduced working time benefits must be calculated based on the remuneration of the contributor.”

What this means is that even though a worker is still employed, she is entitled to benefits if her total income falls below what she would have received if she became wholly unemployed. And of course, provided that her employer has been paying her UIF contributions for the time that she has been employed.

UIF calculates the benefit in terms of a sliding scale of income replacement ranging from 38% for high earners up to 60% for low earners.

Payment is made directly into the worker’s bank account. If she has sufficient credit in the form of contributions paid, it is (theoretically) possible for her to receive the benefit for up to 12 months. 

The worker herself makes the claim from UIF with the help of the employer. You can obtain and submit forms online if you look up “UIF easy guide for electronic claims”.

The following documents need to be submitted:

  • UI 19 and UI 2.7 (completed by employer)

  • UI 2.1 (application form)

  • UI 2.8 (bank form completed by bank)

  • Letter from employer confirming reduced work time (or lay-off) is due to Covid-19

  • Copy of ID document

  • A copy of her payslips – 2 payslips if she gets paid once a month and 4 payslips if she gets paid every week.

If you have further questions, you can visit the Department of Labour website, or call the UIF at their Call Centre:

012 337 1680 / 080 084 3843 / 080 084 0800

Wishing you the best,
Athalie

Answered on Feb. 5, 2021, noon

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