UIF pays R14-million a day

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) pays beneficiaries about R14-million a day, it has revealed in its 2008 annual report.

It paid out R2,921-billion in benefits in the year under review, according to the report released on Thursday.

“The fund is solvent, in a sound financial position and this strong performance is projected to continue at the current contribution and benefit rates,” said UIF commissioner Boas Seruwe.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana is convinced that in enabling people to access bank accounts through the payment of unemployment benefits, the fund had been a “major catalyst” in taking banking to the unbanked members of society.

The UIF has more than 1,1-million employers on its database, of which 90 000 were added in the past year and 700 000 are domestic employers.

Of the 7,4-million employees registered for UIF in the period under consideration, 14 000 were new and 663 000 were domestic employees qualifying for UIF benefits.

“For decades domestic workers have been one of the most vulnerable groups in our society—receiving little protection from labour laws and with very little in terms of a social support system should they lose their jobs,” said Mdladlana.

“Our decision to compel employers to register their domestic workers and to contribute to the UIF met with initial resistance from certain quarters, but today it is widely recognised as one of the success stories of the fund.

“We now have a system in place that is not only unique in world terms, but also provides thousands of South Africans with security and peace of mind,” he said.

According to the report, the total value of the fund’s assets is nearly R30-billion, which is invested through the Public Investment Corporation.

The proceeds are distributed to, among others, rural and township development and to providing infrastructure and support for emerging businesses.

The fund said its priorities for the coming year will be making beneficiaries aware of service improvements and partnering with Productivity South Africa to identify projects designed to mitigate the effects of unemployment on workers.

It also plans to increase its involvement in the training, development and placement of unemployed workers; register more domestic workers as well as taxi drivers and their employees; and strengthen systems to prevent, detect and recover benefits paid in error.—Sapa

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