SA HR news roundup: CCMA re-opens, TERS phase 3 underway and potential borrowing for public wage increases

The UIF implements a third phase of TERS, and a survey shows most South Africans are cash-strapped.

A high percentage of consumers report being in arrears for a bill or loan in the past three months – even before the third wave of Covid-19 infections and unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng. Meanwhile, the CCMA is developing a catch-up plan to deal with the backlog resulting from suspended operations.

CCMA to develop catch-up plan
The CCMA has cautiously re-opened its operations in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, following the restoration of order after the social unrest and riots encountered last week.

According to CCMA director Cameron Morajane, management will assess the impact of the suspension of the case roll and develop a catch-up plan.

Covid-19 TERS phase 3 benefits
The UIF will implement a third extension of the Covid-19 TERS benefit, with application opening on 19 July 2021 and payments from 26 July 2021.

Payments will mainly be made directly to the bank accounts of workers and not, as has happened before, through their employers. HOwever, employers will still be expected to claim on their behalf.

This third phase, which will cover the period between 16 March 2021 and 25 July 2021, will support workers who:

  • Have not been able to work from 16 March 2021, due to Level 1,2 and 3 restrictions preventing gatherings of a certain number of people – such as in the entertainment industry;
  • Were and/or are still impacted upon by the Level 4 restrictions that commenced on 28 June 2021; and\
  • Have not been able to work due to the fact that they are over 60 or have co-morbidities and have not been able to work in the period as well as those who have had to isolate or go into quarantine.

Government will have to borrow R70 million to meet public wage increases
Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has warned that the government would have to borrow over R70 billion to comply with the agreement to increase public servants' salaries it failed to honour last year, according to news reports.

Mchunu filed his written submissions ahead of next month's Constitutional Court hearing between unions representing state employees and the government over the failure to increase their salaries in 2020.

Household income continues to be affected by the pandemic
Research conducted by TransUnion just before the third wave of Covid-19 and civil unrest shows that nearly two-thirds of South African consumers believe their household income will continue to be negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The Consumer Pulse (formerly Financial Hardship) study shows that nearly nine out of 10 affected consumers remained “highly concerned” about their ability to pay their bills and loans.

Credit obligations were the top concern, with mashonisa loans, personal loans and retail accounts and credit cards at highest risk of going unpaid among those who have those bills and loans. Forty-three percent of consumers surveyed reported being in arrears for a bill or loan in the past three months.