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COVID-19 TERS Direction Withdrawn

December 1, 2020

Department of Employment and Labour

The Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) Direction published in September 2020 has been withdrawn.

The employment and labour department announced the withdrawal in Government Gazette 43943.

The Direction had extended the Covid-19 TERS benefits for certain categories of employees.

According to the notice, the withdrawal of the COVID-19 TERS Direction will, despite the date of publication, come into effect on 15 October 2020.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 43935, the department announced the extension of the National Bargaining Council for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Beauty and Skincare Industry’s Main Collective Agreement until 30 June 2021.

In a statement, the department announced that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has appointed seven companies with auditing, accounting and forensic investigation expertise to “follow the money” for all Covid-19 TERS payments.

According to the department, the companies will assist the UIF to recoup monies owed by employers, report fraud to law enforcement institutions and also help to recover UIF contributions, including interest and penalties, owed to the Fund due to new employees being declared during the lockdown.

The Acting UIF Commissioner, Marsha Bronkhorst, called on “all companies and employers who have benefitted from Covid-19 TERS to co-operate with the forensic auditors and supply all the required information within the specified time frames. Failure to comply will lead to legal action”.

In another statement, the department confirmed the launch of the Asbestos Abatement Regulations.

At the launch, the department’s Director General, Thobile Lamati, declared that “South Africa has now terminated the utilization of asbestos which will greatly improve the environment and lead to fewer health problems related to asbestos of and this development needs to be celebrated”.

The Regulations were published in Gazette 43893 in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act earlier this month.

The Regulations apply to every employer and self-employed person who may expose any person to asbestos dust at the workplace.

The Regulations focus on, inter alia, identification of asbestos in place; inventory of asbestos in place; asbestos risk assessment; asbestos management plan; duties of persons who may be exposed; control of exposure to asbestos; notification of asbestos work; duties of asbestos client for asbestos work; duties of approved inspection authorities for asbestos work; disputes; plan of work; air monitoring; medical surveillance; personal protective equipment and facilities; disposal of asbestos; records and prohibition.

Employers or self-employed persons must ensure that all asbestos-containing materials at the workplace are identified by a competent person.

All asbestos-containing material needs to be recorded in an inventory of asbestos.

Asbestos risk assessments need to be carried out at intervals not exceeding two years.

Workplaces are also required to have a written asbestos management plan in place in cases where asbestos-containing materials are identified.

The Regulations also set out what needs to be included in a written approved plan of work.

They also stipulate that all asbestos in place listed in the inventory of asbestos in place must be clearly and legibly identified using the pictogram specified in Annexure 1.