If there’s one thing almost every pregnant woman in South Africa is confused about, it’s how to claim Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) maternity benefits. This is one of those situations where an expert’s opinion can make an enormous difference. Klaus Arnhard from UIF-Hero (www.uif-hero.co.za), a professional nationwide partner for claiming from the UIF, gives us all the necessary tips to make the claiming process quick and easy.
What is UIF Maternity Benefits?
Expectant mothers are entitled to benefits for the period of Maternity leave (no more than 4 months) as prescribed by the Department of Labour. Those benefits are paid from the UIF (Uninsurance Fund) to which you and your employer is obliged to make contributions via your pay cheque.
You can claim from the UIF if:
- you are on maternity leave
- you are registered for UIF
- you have been contributing to the UIF monthly (via your pay cheque)
- you receive less than 100% of your salary during the maternity leave
- you miscarry in the third trimester or have a stillborn child you can claim for a maximum of six weeks
- you have claimed UIF maternity benefits in the last four years, you may claim again now
You can claim UIF even if you are not a South-African citizen – provided that you contribute to UIF, and you must have a valid work permit and passport. If you are a member of a Close Corporation or a director of a company you can claim UIF as long as you contribute to UIF and pay yourself a salary every month.
You won’t be able to claim if:
- you are not registered for UIF
- you have not been making monthly contributions to the fund
- you work less than 24 hours per month
- you are the owner of your own business and do not pay yourself a salary
- you are a sole proprietor
- you have ben suspended from claiming because of fraud
You can even claim 4 months maternity benefits if you resign while you are pregnant. This is the only time that you can claim UIF when you resign.
What many women don’t know is that you can claim if you get a portion of your salary while on maternity leave. The moment that your employer does not pay you 100% of your salary you can claim the remainder from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). Example: Your employer is paying you 75% p.m. while you are on maternity leave. You can claim the rest (25%) from the UIF. (Remember you cannot receive more than 100% of your salary from the department and your employer combined)
You can only submit your application once you started your maternity leave and do not receive your full remuneration from your employer. Remember that if you take annual leave before the maternity leave you can only claim when you are officially on maternity leave as you still receive full payment while on annual leave. If your employer is paying you 4 months full salary and you take an extra 2 months then you can claim for these 2 unpaid months. However the claim can only be submitted once you started your unpaid maternity leave.
It is very important to note that you need to submit your claim within 6 months from the date your baby is born, Should your baby be older than 6 months you cannot claim and your maternity UIF payments will be forfeited.
We are often asked how long it will take until you get your UIF money. There is no good answer, unfortunately. It takes approximately 5-6 weeks for approval and first payment of your claim (from the date of submission of your forms). It can be as soon as 2 weeks but it can also take a bit longer. If you haven’t received a payment after 2 months you can assume something is wrong.
The UIF benefit is between 38 – 60% of your salary but capped at a maximum of about R5500 per month. Example: If you earn R14872 or more you will get R182.80 per day (about R5651.36 pm). You cannot receive more than this amount.
If you earn R5000 p/m you can expect about R72.96 per day (R2188 p/m). If you earn R 3000 p/m you can expect about R47.62 per day (R1428 p/m)
Making a claim to the UIF is easy once you know which steps to follow:
- Complete the relevant application forms
- o UI2.7
- o UI2.3
- o UI2.8
- o UI19
- Submit your valid identity document or passport and the baby’s birth certificate if the baby is already born
Once the Labour Office has received your documents, they will investigate your application. If all requirements are met they will approve your application and determine the amount of benefits. Once approved the first payment will be made automatically. After that you have to go back to the DoL every month to submit a UI4 so that you get your benefits while on maternity leave.
If your application does not meet the requirements, the claims officer must let you know in writing that your application was not successful, and what it was missing. These days they often send SMS that claims were rejected without giving reasons.
Although it might seem as if claiming UIF maternity benefit is just one more thing on your already long To Do List before your baby is born, it can help to ease the months when you are not working. With these great tips, you should be well on your way to being one of the only pregnant women in South Africa not confused about this issue!
If you need any assistance claiming UIF maternity benefits, contact our friends at UIF-Hero.