Claiming Unemployment Insurance

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) offers short-term financial assistance to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of illness, maternity or adoption leave. The fund also assists the dependants of a contributing worker who has died

The Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply to all employers and workers workers (including domestic employers and their workers) but not to :

  • those working less than 24 hours a month for an employer
  • learners
  • public servants
  • foreigners working on contract
  • workers who get a government old age pension
  • workers who only earn commission

Employers are responsible for making sure that all employees are registered with the UIF. If an employee has been registered and the contributions are paid, then that employee will be able to claim from the fund. Foreigners who are permanent workers qualify for UIF, and employers must also register foreigners with the fund. Workers pay 1% of their salaries every month. Their employers contribute a further 1%. It is the employer’s responsibility to deduct the worker’s contribution from their salary (excluding commission earnings) and pay it to the fund along with their contribution. Those who wish to claim from UIF you need to go to their nearest Labour Office.

An employer must (by the seventh day of each month) inform the UIF of any changes arising during the previous month regarding the employer’s contact details or employees remuneration details including new appointments and termination of service. Form UI-19 Declaration of Information.

A person can claim unemployment benefits if he has been dismissed or retrenched or if his contract has expired. A person cannot claim if he has voluntarily resigned from his job.

You can claim illness benefits if you are off work due to illness for two weeks. Benefits are paid from the date on which you stopped working.

Maternity benefits can be claimed if you are pregnant and take maternity leave. You can claim for 17 weeks. If you miscarry in the third trimester or the baby is stillborn, you can claim for 6 weeks.

You can claim adoption benefits if you legally adopt a child younger than two years old and you leave work to look after that child. Only one of the adopting parents can apply for benefits.

The wife/ husband or minor child of someone who has died can claim death benefits if the deceased paid contributions to the fund.

A list of the forms required as well as links to obtain the various forms, may be found here.