Companies are facing distress, says Nxesi

While the gov­ern­ment set up mea­sures to con­tain the spread of the Coro­na virus pan­dem­ic and its effect, some com­pa­nies will feel the pinch, Employ­ment and Labour Min­is­ter, Thu­las Nxe­si said on Tues­day.

Address­ing to the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee meet­ing at The Nation­al Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment and Labour Coun­cil (NEDLAC) because of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic that has affect­ed at least 102 nations around the world, Nxe­si said this may lead to some com­pa­nies being dis­tressed.

He said to sup­port dis­tressed com­pa­nies, Employ­ment and Labour depart­ment will con­sid­er a time of relief for those busi­ness­es not to con­tribute to the Unem­ploy­ment Insur­ance Fund (UIF).

He said the Funds Tem­po­rary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme will ensure boss­es don’t lay off work­ers.

“Where com­pa­nies close for a brief peri­od as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, the short term UIF ben­e­fit will kick in. If com­pa­nies pon­ders short term shut down, this requires them to inform the Unem­ploy­ment Insur­ance Fund,” said Nxe­si.

He said Employ­ment and Labour office team will vis­it these busi­ness­es to help process claims.

Nxe­si said where an employ­ee quar­an­tine him or her­self for 14 days, the depart­ment will per­ceive such days as ful­ly paid spe­cial  leave, adding  that on con­di­tion that the rea­son for the iso­la­tion meets the require­ments, that employ­ee can apply for UIF ben­e­fits.

In an event, it requires an employ­ee to be under quar­an­tine for longer than 14 days for hav­ing trav­elled or been in con­tact with an infect­ed per­son. We will recog­nise those days as a spe­cial leave.

Nxe­si said that employ­ee will be eli­gi­ble to apply for unem­ploy­ment insur­ance ben­e­fits.

The min­is­ter has asked employ­ers to con­duct a health and safe­ty risk assess­ment and con­sult­ing the work­ers to make sure a healthy work­place for the work­ers as required by law.

“This requires employ­ers to pro­vide nec­es­sary pro­tec­tive equip­ment and mit­i­gat­ing mea­sures until the out­break of the high­ly con­ta­gious virus is over,” added Nxe­si.

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