UIF bill adopted by National Assembly

The Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill will now be sent to the NCOP for its approval.

Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has adopted a bill that will extend unemployment insurance benefits to cover learners undergoing training and civil servants, and that will allow for UIF pay-outs over 12 months, among other changes.

The Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for its approval, before it can be signed into law by President Jacob Zuma.

The bill was supported by all parties and also has the backing of Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Parliament's Labour Committee chairperson Lumka Yengeni said, "The amendment comes at the right time, when thousands of workers in mines and on farms are threatened by retrenchments. This amendment is a relief to both employed and unemployed workers in our country."

A controversial clause that would have denied maternity benefits to women who chose to terminate their pregnancies was scrapped by the committee after fierce opposition to it from Cosatu.