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UIF to litigate against companies withholding COVID-19 funds from workers

It has emerged that some employers who applied for the special temporary benefit to cover workers’ salaries in light of disruptions to workflows have not distributed the funds as required.

FILE: Although the UIF has confirmed that the problem of non-payments by employers was not prevalent as yet, those who contravene the agreements will face the full might of the law. Picture: UIF.

JOHANNESBURG - The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) on Monday said it could litigate against companies withholding COVID-19 funds from workers to recoup the monies.

It has emerged that some employers who applied for the special temporary benefit to cover workers’ salaries in light of disruptions to workflows have not distributed the funds as required.

At the onset of the crisis, the UIF - through the Department of Labour at the National Economic Development and Labour Council - resolved to centralise the distributions through employers and collective bargaining councils to avoid mass individual applications by workers.

Although the UIF has confirmed that the problem of non-payments by employers was not prevalent as yet, those who contravene the agreements will face the full might of the law.

UIF commissioner Teboho Maruping said: “The other thing that we have agreed on is that if UIF wants to do an audit, they must open those accounts to UIF to confirm that indeed money was transferred to the employees and also that the money that was transferred to them was used solely for the purpose of the employees so that UIF can take legal steps where the company may have abused funds.”

Employers signed a memorandum of agreement upon application that they would pay the funds over the workers within two days of receiving it from the UIF.

Maruping said the agency was sourcing a pool of auditors to interrogate whether all companies, which have and are receiving funds have done right by workers.

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