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COVID-19 Impacts On The Department of Employment and Labour

March 27, 2020

National Bargaining Council For The Clothing Manufacturing Industry

The Department of Employment and Labour has declared that the extension to non-parties of the COVID-19 Lockdown Collective Agreement is binding on all employers and employees with effect from 27 March 2020 and for the period ending 28 February 2022.

The Collective Agreement was published in Notice 403 in Government Gazette 43152.

The primary intention of the Collective Agreement is to ensure that workers are not left destitute with no income, during the lockdown period.

COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme

The Minister has determined that it is necessary to implement steps in respect of the administration of the COVID-19 virus through the COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme to prevent an escalation of the infections funded through the National Disaster Benefit.

According to Notice 215 in Gazette 43161, the purpose of this Directive is:

  • to make provision for the payment of benefits to the contributors who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • minimise economic impact of loss of employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • avoid contact and contain the spread of COVID-19 during the process of application for benefit; and
  • establish the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme and set out the application process for benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic and to alleviate economic impact of COVID-19.

Should an employer as a direct result of COVID-19 pandemic close its operations for a period of three months or less and suffer financial distress, the company shall qualify for a COVID-19 Temporary Relief Benefit. The benefit shall be de-linked from the UIF’s normal benefits and therefore the normal rule that every four days worked, the employee accumulates a one day credit and the maximum credit days payable is 365 for every four years, will not apply.

The benefits will only pay for the cost of salary for the employees during the temporary closure of the business operations.