The department of labour in the Eastern Cape will reduce some of its services to prevent them becoming Covid-19 super-spreaders.
People receiving benefits through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will no longer have to visit the department’s offices every month to sign their continuation forms. Instead, they will be paid according to the pay sheet which uses the information from the previous month.
And the department will send SMSes to people regarding their application status.
Until now scores of people have had to stand in queues at the department’s offices.
The department has said it will deal with walk-ins for companies that will be retrenching staff. Employers may still collect documents from the department’s offices and also capture UIF employee applications. Permitted walk-ins will also include employees who are not in the UIF system.
The department said in a statement on Tuesday that it had noted an increase in retrenchments. There has also been an increase in UIF inquiries regarding the status of applications, credit days and payment dates.
According to recent data from the department of health, the Eastern Cape has been one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic. The province is dealing with 13.4% — 190 526 — out of the more 1.4-million cases the country currently has.
Zondi said what the Eastern Cape is doing will “provide some relief” and it might as well be a standard for everyone else.
To further ease the spread, the department will implement a supplementary data system to enable citizens to follow up on their claims at the end of this month.
“Occupational health and safety remains the core business of the department and in protecting both the employees and clients, the department will put necessary measures [in place] and reduce the spread of [the] coronavirus by allowing claims to be paid without mandatory source documents pending that everything is verified and correct,” said Nomfundo Douw-Jack, the Eastern Cape labour department’s chief director of provincial operations.