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DEL Shines Light on COVID-19 TERS Payments

August 24, 2020

Department of Employment and Labour

The personal services industry has been the biggest beneficiary of the Temporary Employer/Employees Relief Scheme with over R10 billion having been disbursed to workers in the industry benefitting 2 620 115 employees.

The employment and labour department confirmed this in a statement on reduction of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claims.

R40 billion has been paid by the UIF so far since 26 March 2020 to ease the burden of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The personal services industry includes boarding houses, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, laundries and dry cleaning depots, barbers, beauty shops, funeral undertakings, crematoria, cemetery boards, advertising agents and collection agencies.

According to the department, R9 billion was also pumped into the trade industry.

This includes market agents, fish, poultry or game dealers, installers and assemblers of computers, household electrical appliances, televisions, radios, armature winding, taxidermist, pedal cycle or sewing machine dealers including repair and assembly thereof, photographers, hide, skin and wool merchants or brokers, and makers of feather dusters.

In this industry, 2 218 571 employees have benefitted.

In terms of the building industry, R2 billion has been disbursed to over 496 981 employees.

The rest of the industries are: iron with R2 billion, professional services with R1.9 billion, air services with R1.3 billion and mining with R1.2 billion.

Educational services, food and agriculture were just below the billion rand mark.

As regards compensation, the department pointed out that only one funeral has been paid for (R18 251) since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, in a statement on the 20th Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) Annual Report 2019/20, the department declared that, despite efforts to transform the labour market, an “analysis of the workforce movement in South Africa indicate an apparent pervasive and persistent preference in the appointment, promotion and development of the White and Indian population groups, particularly at the top two occupational levels…”.

The department added that White and Indian population groups generally remain over-represented against their national economically active population (EAP) whereas African and Coloured population groups remain well below their respective EAPs at the top management level.

“The CEE report says in 2019 the White group occupied 65,6 percent of top management positions compared with (2018: 66,5 percent), (2017: 67,7 percent). The Indian group in 2019 occupied 10,3 percent compared with (2018: 9,7 percent), (2017: 9,4 percent) in to management positions. While the Coloured group in 2019 notched 5,6 percent against (2018: 5,3 percent),
(2017: 5,1 percent) and the African group were laggards with 2019 representation at 15,2 percent compared to (2018: 15,1 percent), (2017: 14,3 percent) at top management.”

In terms of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, tabled in parliament in July 2020, the department and the CEE will continue to engage several sectors to deliberate on the setting of sector targets and the plan is for these to be finalised next year.

The bill aims to amend the Employment Equity Act, 1998, so as to:

• amend a definition;
• insert certain definitions, to substitute a definition and to delete a definition;
• provide for the Minister to identify sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The proposed legislation will empower the labour minister to determine sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups (blacks, women and persons with disabilities) at all occupational levels in the workforce.

It also seeks to enhance the administration of the act including the implementation of section 53 that provides for the issuing of a certificate by the minister confirming an employer’s compliance with Chapter II, or Chapters II and III, of the act, as the case may be, in relation to the conclusion of State Contracts.

The bill also aims to remove the requirement for psychological testing and similar assessments of employees to be certified by the Health Professions Council of South Africa and to remove a provision empowering non-designated employers to notify the Director-General of the labour department that they intend to voluntarily comply with Chapter III of the act as if they were a designated employer.