Over three million workers in South Africa have no jobs. And more workers lose their jobs every day. Some of these workers can get help from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
But many workers don’t know how to get money from the U.I.F. The law is not easy to under stand. And often workers understand the law and do the right thing – and still don’t get money.
Learn and Teach has tried to answer some questions about U .I.F. But workers may still have problems. Workers with problems must go to organisations for help. We give a list of the organisations at the end of this article.
WHAT IS THE U.I.F.?
The government collects money from workers and bosses. The government keeps the money in the U .1. F. The government also gives some money to the U .1. F. But workers give most of the money.
WHAT IS U.I.F. MONEY USED FOR?
The U.I.F. helps workers who are looking for jobs. The U.I.F. does not pay workers who are not looking for jobs. And the U.I.F. does not pay people who leave school and can’t find jobs .
The U.I.F. pays money to sick and pregnant workers. The U.I.F. also pays a worker’s family when the worker dies. (If you want to know more about this, order a book on the U.I.F. from Learn and Teach. You will find an order form at the end of this article). This article will only help workers who have no jobs.
WHO CAN GET MONEY FROM THE U.I.F.?
Only workers who pay money to the U.I.F. can get money from the U.I.F. Workers from all race groups can get money from the U.I.F. But some workers can’t get money from the U.I.F. Workers who can’t get money are: farmworkers, domestic workers, part-time workers, government workers, railway workers and workers from other countries like Malawi and Mozambique.
HOW DO WORKERS WITH NO JOBS GET MONEY FROM THE U.I.F.?
Every worker who pays money to the U.I.F must have a blue card. Your boss must get this blue card from the Department of Manpower. Your boss must give you the blue card when you leave your job .
Your boss must fill in the blue card. He must say why you are leaving. He can give three reasons:
the worker has resigned (the worker wanted to leave)
the worker is retrenched (the boss says the worker must leave because there is no work)
any other reason
Make sure your boss gives the right reason why you are leaving. Make sure your boss fills in your correct wages and the right time you have worked. He must also sign the card.
When you leave your job, go to the U.I.F. office quickly. Take your blue card with you. If you do not have your blue card, you must still go to the U.I.F. offices. But you will only get money after you give in your blue card
At the U.I.F. office you must register as a “workseeker”. Then you must fill in the U.I.F. form. When you get your money, you will only get money from the day you fill in the form.
You must go to the same U.I.F. office every two weeks. You must sign a book. Sometimes workers sign for many weeks before they get money. But do not give up. Go and sign the book every two weeks .
When you get a new job, you must get your blue card back from the U.I.F. office. You must give your blue card to your new boss. Your new boss must take money from your wages for the U.I.F. again.
HOW MUCH MONEY WILL YOU GET FROM THE U.I.F.?
You get less than half of your wage from the U.I.F. You get 45% of your wages. For example: if you earn R100 a week, you will get R45 from the U.I.F. If you earn R30 a week, you will get R13.50 from the U.I.F.
You get one week U.I.F. pay for every six weeks you have worked. But you can’t get U.I.F. pay for longer than six months. Sometimes a worker can ask for more money after six months. But the worker must have a good reason.
Sometimes workers lose some U.I.F. money. When a worker resigns, he will not get U.I.F. pay for six weeks. And when the worker is fired because he works badly, he will also not get U.I.F. pay for six weeks. So workers who resign and workers who get fired pay a penalty. They lose six weeks of the U.I.F. pay.
When the clerk fills in your U.I.F. form, tell him your reasons why you left your job. Ask him to write your reasons down.
HOW LONG MUST YOU WORK BEFORE YOU GET U.I.F. PAY?
You must work for 13 weeks in the year before you can get U.I.F. pay. If you pay money to the U.I.F. for only 10 weeks, you will get no money from the U.I.F. And you won’t get this money back when you leave your job.
CAN MARRIED WOMEN GET U.I.F. PAY?
Yes, a married woman can get money from the U.I.F. She can get money even when her husband has a job. But she must be looking for a job.
Some workers can stay in the city when they have no jobs. These workers must have section 10 rights. These people can get U.I.F. money in the city.
City workers without jobs must first register as “workseekers”. Black workers must go to the Pass Office in the city or the Administration Board in the township. “Coloured” workers must go to the nearest Department of Manpower office.
Then you must fill in the U.I.F. form. Sometimes workers can fill in the U.I.F. form at the same office where they registered as a “workseeker”. Sometimes workers must go to another office to fill in the form. They may have to go to the Commissioner’s office, the Department of Manpower or the Department of Co-operation and Development.
WHERE CAN CONTRACT WORKERS GET U.I.F. PAY?
Many workers cannot stay in the city when they have no jobs. These workers are called contract workers. Contract workers come from the rural areas or the “homelands”.
Contract workers must go to the magistrates office or the labour office in the place where they come from. Contract workers must not go to the Pass Office in the city for U.I.F. money.
Many contract workers have problems getting U.I.F. money. For example, 200 workers in a small town in Natal waited for two years before they got money from the U.I.F. Some workers don’t go back to get U.I.F. money. They say they are wasting their time. They stay in the city and try to find another job.
Section 10 right workers get money more easiIy. Check to see if you can get section 10 rights.
But remember: If you do go home for U.I.F. pay, don’t forget your blue card. Don’t go home without it!
WHAT ABOUT WORKERS FROM THE “INDEPENDENT” HOMELANDS?
Contract workers from the Transkei and Venda can’t get money from the U.I.F. If their boss takes U.I.F. money from their wages, they can get their money back. They can get back the U.I.F. money they paid in the last three years. Workers only pay a small part of their wages to the U.I.F.
So they will not get a lot of money back. If they do want their money back, they must go to an organisation for help.
Only some workers from the Ciskei can get money from the U.I.F. Workers who paid the U.I.F. before December 1981 can get money. But these workers will only get money from the U.I.F. until December 1984. If the boss takes U.I.F. money from workers from the Ciskei, the workers can get their money back. If they want their money back, they must go to an organisation for help.
Contract workers from Bophuthatswana have their own U.I.F. They must get money from the labour office or magistrate’s office in Bophuthatswana. Workers from Bophuthatswana must make sure their bosses send their U.I.F. money to the Bophuthatswana U.I.F. Some bosses make a mistake. They send the money from Bophuthatswana workers to the U.I.F. in South Africa. These workers can get their money back. If they want their money back, they must go to an organisation for help.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS MADE A NEW LAW. CONTRACT WORKERS FROM “INDEPENDENT” HOMELANDS MAY SOON GET MONEY FROM THE U.I.F. AGAIN. LOOK OUT FOR NEWS ABOUT THIS NEW LAW.
CAN YOU APPEAL?
Sometimes workers are not happy with what the U.I.F. decides. These workers can appeal. They can write a letter saying why they are not happy. Workers must appeal before 30 days. Workers who appeal must try go to an organisation for help.
SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE U.I.F.
Workers pay most of the money to the U .I. F. But many workers feel they have no say how the U.I. F. uses the money.
Many workers don’t get money from the U .I.F. Farm workers and domestic workers can’t get U.I.F. money. These workers are the poorest workers.
Contract workers only get U .I.F. money in the “homelands” or rural areas. Many trade unions want workers to get U.I.F. money in any place the worker wants.
WHAT ORGANISATIONS CAN HELP YOU WITH THE U.I.F.?
INDUSTRIAL AID SOCIETY Johannesburg. 4th Floor Room 415 Cnr Kerk and Rissik Street Johannesburg Tel. (011) 836 – 4422
GENERAL WORKERS UNION AID SERVICE Cape: 1st Floor Benbow Building Beverley Street Athlone Cape Town Telephone: (021) 67 – 0870
THE BLACK SASH Cape: 5 Long Street Mowbray Cape Town Tel: (021) 65 – 3513
2 Harrysmith Road Grahamstown Tel. (0461) 2774
Johannesburg: 1 st Floor Khotso House 42 De Villiers Street Johannesburg Tel. (011) 37 – 2435/6
EAST RAND COMMUNITY ADVICE CENTRE Katlehong Roman Catholic Church Sacred Heart Parish 1231 Makubo Street Katlehong No telephone)
SA INSTITUTE OF RACE RELATIONS:
Eastern Cape. Oxford Shopping Centre 256 Oxford Street East London Tel: (0431)2-3610
Johannesburg: Auden House 68 De Korte Street Johannesburg Tel: (011) 724-4441
INDUSTRIAL AID CENTRE Vereeniging: 312 Trevor Building Voortrekker Street Vereeniging Tel: (160) 22 – 4743
FOSATU WORKERS PROJECT Natal 2 Central Court 125 Gale Street Durban Tel. (031)39-9511
Transvaal 7 Fines Building 28 Voortrekker Street Benoni Tel: (011) 54 – 3663