Answer to a question from a reader

Can I claim UIF for my workers after the salon was closed for four months?

The short answer

You can claim normal UIF. Your salon might qualify for the latest extension of the TERS payout.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My workers and I have been paying our UIF contributions. Due to Covid-19, our salon closed for four months and our bookkeeper left because we couldn't pay him. As such, no UIF claims have been made. Is there anything we can do? 

The long answer

There are two separate kinds of UIF claims: 

The one is the normal UIF claim that workers can claim when they lose their job or work reduced hours. This is an Unemployment or Reduced Working Hours claim. Workers can claim this within twelve months of being unemployed or working reduced hours, provided they have been making UIF contributions.

They would need their ID number, email address and cell phone. They can contact UIF with queries at 0800 0030 007.

The other type of UIF claim is one that employers could apply for during the lockdown when they were unable to pay their employees, either partially or fully, due to the lockdown. This was called the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (COVID19 TERS).  It was put in place to assist employers to pay their employees and was paid out to employers who would then pay their employees. You could not claim ordinary UIF at the same time as TERS.

It would pay for a maximum period of three months and the benefit would not be less than the minimum wage (R3,500) per month. After the three months had expired a worker could apply for the normal UIF “reduced working hours” benefits which are worked out on a sliding scale and amount to less than the minimum wage.

Employers had to apply in April 2020 for a three-month payout. This was then extended to September 2020 and employers could apply again. TERS has now been extended till March 2021 but only for particular industries badly affected. These include the alcohol, hospitality and tourism industries.

An employer has to apply online by sending a blank email to You will receive an automated response with the relevant forms and other requirements. You are directed to an online portal where details can be submitted (the online portal can be found at

I’m not sure that your salon would qualify for this latest extension of the TERS payout, but you could contact the UIF hotline for the coronavirus benefit at 012 337 1997 to find out. 

But if you are too late and you no longer qualify for the extended TERS benefit, your employees can still apply for the ordinary unemployment or reduced working hours UIF benefit.

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Feb. 18, 2021, noon

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