Frequently Asked Questions » UIF

The Unemployment Insurance fund (UIF) is a public entity of the Department of Employment and Labour which provides short-term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of maternity, adoption leave, illness, paternity, and also to provide relief to the dependants of the deceased contributors.

Employers must pay unemployment insurance contributions of 2% of the value of each worker’s salary per month. The employer and the worker each contribute 1%.

Example: if a worker earns R1 000 per month, the employer must deduct 1%, namely R10. In addition, the employer must pay R10 for that worker. The total of R20 must therefore be paid to the UIF or SARS. Contributions must be paid to the UIF or the South African Revenue Services (SARS) before the 7th day of each month.

All employers who have employees working 24 or more hours a month.

The employer is compelled to register with the Fund, as soon as business commences and the first employees begin working. The prescribed registration forms for commercial or domestic companies must be completed and submitted to the nearest Department of Employment and Labour office.

Employees working less than 24 hours a month for an employer; President; Ministers, MECs, MPs, MPLs, Mayors, Cllrs; and workers who only earn commission.

UIF can be claimed for 12 months, provided that you have full credit days. Credits accrue as follows: for every four days that you work as a contributor, you receive one day’s credit, subject to a maximum of 12 months.

To qualify for the full credit days you must have worked as a contributor for more than four years. The rates at which the benefits are payable is accordance with the scale of benefits which ranges between 38-60% for the first 238 credit days and then from 239 to 365 days at flat rate of 20%. Low income earners receive a higher percentage.

According to our processes, it should not take more than 10 working days to process the second or third payment after signing the continuation of payment. 10 days is used to double-check if the claimant is indeed still unemployed and to verify other personal details to prevent fraud.

Unemployment; illness; maternity; adoption; death; and patenity.

If you are a UIF contributor and have been dismissed, retrenched or your contract expired, you qualify to claim unemployment benefits. You must bring your completed U19 form and identity document to the nearest labour centre and submit your claim.
  • Application for all the benefits must be made within twelve months of termination of service.
  • Ordinary benefits are payable from the date after termination.
  • Benefits are only payable if the employer terminates the services of the contributor or a contract of service has expired.
  • In the event of resignation no benefits will be paid unless it can be proven that it was constructive dismissal.
  • The contributor must be registered as a work seeker with the Department of Employment and Labour (complete prescribed form).
  • The contributor must be capable of and available for work.
  • The contributor must report at times and places as requested.
  • The benefits can be paid for a maximum of 365 days within a period of four years.
  • Subject to credits, benefits can be paid to a maximum of 365 days in any period of four years.
  • The employer must also declare as to whether the worker on sick leave will be obtaining full or any remuneration whilst on leave.

Applications must be made within six months of the worker becoming too ill to work. A medical certificate is required to confirm the period of illness. Contributors will able to claim illness benefits if you have been sick for seven consecutive days.

The application should be made prior to the child being born or within 12 months of the child being born. The contributor must be receiving less than the normal remuneration whilst on maternity leave. Maternity benefits will be paid at a 66% fixed rate.
  • The application should be made prior to the birth of a child or within twelve months of birth of the child.
  • The contributor must be receiving less than the normal remuneration whilst on maternity leave.
  • Benefits is payable at a flat rate of 66% to a female contributor, for confinement or the period after birth of a child.
  • Benefits are payable is the difference between what the employer pays and the rate that is prescribed in the benefit schedule of the Unemployment Insurance Act. When taking into account the amount paid by the employer and the amount prescribed in the benefit schedule, the total amount received should not exceed 100% of the normal remuneration that the person would have received if she remained in employment. Maternity benefits will be paid for a maximum of 121 days. Application for maternity benefits does not affect the contributor’s rights to unemployment benefits. This means that the worker may still qualify to receive unemployment benefits should the workers become unemployed.
  • In an event of a miscarriage or a stillbirth, benefits are paid for a maximum period of 121 days.
  • Worker must have been employed for at least 13 weeks before the date of application for maternity benefits.

Claim to be submitted within 12 months from adoption order date. The child being adopted must be younger than two years.

  • The surviving spouse/life partner must apply for benefits within eighteen months from the date of death of the contributor.
  • A dependent child can apply for benefits if the surviving spouse/life partner has not applied within twelve months of the contributor's death and has six months and 14 days from the date of death of the contributor to apply. (18 months apply to everyone)
  • Any child of the deceased who is between the ages of 21 and 25 at the date of death of the contributor may also qualify for benefits. The child has to be a learner/student and must have been wholly dependent on the deceased contributor.
  • Subject to credits, benefits can be paid for a maximum of 365 days within a period of four years.
  • Contributors will be allowed to nominate their own beneficiaries in case of death benefits, provided there is no surviving spouse/ life partner or children.

Time frame is dependent on the completeness of the application and if the employment history is up to date or not. If the employment record is not up to date, then it takes longer to finalize the claim.

Call the Labour Centre where the claim was submitted or UIF Call centre on 0800 843 843 or and make sure you have your ID number ready.

As soon as your new employer fills in a UI-19 form and you are registered on the system you will stop receiving UIF benefits.

You can appeal a decision of the Commissioner or a Claims Officer by sending the UI-12 form to your nearest Labour Centre. The form must be accompanied with any documents/proof that reinforces your reason to appeal.