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UIF braces for COVID-19 claims flood

The organisation is responsible for providing relief to eligible employees in times of distress.

FILE: Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi at an inter-ministerial briefing on 24 March 2020 detailing how government will respond ahead of and during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) on Tuesday said it had emergency reserves in place to deal with the anticipated flood of claims due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The organisation is responsible for providing relief to eligible employees in times of distress.

Government has also indicated its funds will be pivotal in cushioning some businesses and the workforce from the economic effects of the spread of the virus and the looming lockdown.

WATCH: SA on lockdown: Here’s what you need to know

UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping said while R800 million has been budgeted to aid struggling small to medium-sized businesses through the temporary employer-employee relief system, more money would be availed when the need arises.

“What we’ve done, in case there is an emergency where we need to pay a huge amount of benefit, we have also set aside a technical reserve for that.”

He has also explained that support measures are in place for employees who will be out of work or have their hours shortened as a result of the COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi stated that government expected millions of workers to claim from the UIF during this period.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.