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Companies are facing distress, says Nxesi

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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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