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In Article Archive, Article Archive - Home, Article Archive - Teazer, Labour News, Labour News Teazer by Jan Truter21 Comments

NOTE: Due to the rapid developments surrounding Covid-19, the information provided in this article may be outdated. For the latest developments see our most recent article.

Some businesses are under severe strain as a consequence of the severe measures implemented due to the COVID-19 having been declared a national disaster. They are resorting to emergency measures such as short time & temporary lay-off. A fairly recent amendment to the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001 is likely to bring much needed relief to affected employees.

Two obvious alternatives to retrenchment is for employees to work short time or to be laid off temporarily without pay. How can this be achieved?

Short time and lay-off

Some Bargaining Council Agreements make provision for short time and/or temporary lay-off, and some employment contracts have built-in provisions in this regard. In the absence of such provisions, employers may not impose these measures unilaterally – it will have to be agreed upon. If no agreement is reached, employers may have to follow the retrenchment process as a last resort.

UIF relief

On 18 January 2018 the President assented to several amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001, including the insertion of the following provision to section 12 of the Act:

"(1B) A contributor employed in any sector who loses his or her income due to reduced working time, despite being employed, is entitled to benefits if the contributor’s total income falls below the benefit level that the contributor would have received if he or she had become wholly unemployed, subject to that contributor having enough credits.”

It would seem that this caters for precisely the type of situation faced by employees who work short time or are temporarily laid off. Although it does not seem that the amendments were actually promulgated, the relevant forms are available from the Department of Labour and such claims should be processed.

CLICK HERE for access to these forms and other resources.

For assistance with short time or temporary lay-off agreements employers may contact

Jan Truter for

PS. A Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee relief scheme has since been introduced to help employers to pay their employees while they are on temporary lay-off.

Disclaimer: The material above is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts responsibility for any loss or damage that may arise from reliance on information contained in this article.


  1. My company has put us all on short time since day one off covid lockdown. Now with all the public holidays they still deducting hours for short time. How does short time works when it comes to public holidays

    1. Author

      The BCEA provides that if you to no work on a public holiday, you are entitled to at lest the wage that you would ordinarily have received for work on that day. Our understanding is that “ordinarily” should be seen in the context of short time, which means that you would receive the proportionately reduced wage.

  2. What process must be followed when wanting to reduce salaries for reasons other than the lockdown

  3. If a company claimed the TERS fund for the 3 months for his employees can they after the TERS amply for uif if the workers are still paid reduce hours/ rates or are still on short time

  4. Hello Jan

    My Employee has just issued us with a further notice for an extended 3 months lay off starting July to August , please advise if we are eligible to collect uif and what forms documents will be required . Thank you

    1. Author

      No, temporary lay-off does not interrupt your service. It only temporarily suspends it.

  5. Good day Jan,

    I need to submit documents for UIF temp lay off due to COVID 19 for my employees who do I address this to is there an email address for the docs to get sent to I have the UI19 & UI2.7, UI 2.1 & UI 2.8 forms aswell as letter confirming company shutdown due to COVID 19.

    Thank you
    G. Van Schalkwyk

    1. Author

      You first need to make sure that you have chosen the right option, UIF for “reduced working time” versus UIF Covid-19TERS benefits. I suggest you read the article and links carefully. Once you are sure you have made the right choice, the answers would be apparent.

  6. If TERS is claimed, are you as an Employer allowed to pay your employees an additional amount on top of the amount received from UIF

  7. Good day. I am a preschool owner and we were closed from the 18th March 2020. We were already hard pressed as a company as strike action in the area of our main branch caused many people to leave the area resulting in us losing alot of learners. Resulting in our company being put under pressure. When we were forced to close due to COVID19, I had no finance to pay my staff as I wait for payments to come in at the month end. My business barely survive from month to month. When we reached the end of March my employees were insisting on a full months pay even though we only worked till the 18th March. I scrounged up and managed to pay them for most of the month but told them that I will try to claim the balance from UIF as I have no finance left and the company and me in my personal capacity is heavily in debt and won’t qualify for any more loans etc. With the current COVID 19 situation many parents are not willing to pay due to the fact that we will be closed for more than a month. I am facing a challenge in that I won’t be able to pay my staff at the end of April and I won’t have many kids meaning my expenses won’t be paid and my company will be in deep trouble. I am afraid of going to CCMa and need to know how to lay off my staff correctly. Thank you for helping me

    1. Author

      This is precisely the type of situation which the Covid-19TERS relief is intended for.

  8. good day
    we have been notified that we will not receive salary during the lock-down,forms have been filled in and sent back how long do we wait for the benefit to be paid out from the uif.

    1. Author

      Once the claim has been submitted in accordance with the requirements, the intention is for payment to occur within 30 days thereafter. There is no guarantee that payment will occur within that time frame, though.

    2. Good evening ,just before the lockdown my husband manager address them about how they were gonna use their annual leave to cover lost of income during the month of April,today two weeks within lockdown he got and sms from his manager that he has been temporarily laid off and that the company will claim from the the uif for his April salary,so pls advise as to what to do

      1. Author

        That could be a good sign. I suggest that your husband waits to see what happens. If the claim for UIF benefits is successful, the leave may be reversed.

  9. Without notice my company called everyone in today and gave us a temporary layoff letter.

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