South Africa: Employment and Labour Denies Rumours Govt Has Set Aside Funds to Thank Farmworkers for Working During Covid-19 Lockdown

press release

Department denies rumours government has set aside funds to thank farmworkers for working during the lockdown

Claims that government has set aside relief funds to thank farm workers for working during lock down are false and should not be entertained. This is the warning from the Department of Employment and Labour in Limpopo after rumours of the supposed payment gained ground.

This started when inspectors conducted inspections. They came across workers threatening to go on strike because they were demanding a risk allowance for having worked during lockdown in a number of farms around Phalaborwa Mopani district.

Provincial Chief Inspector Phaswane Tladi said: "In terms of the current regulations the department only has the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) that was made available for employers and employees who could not operate during lockdown".

Tladi added that there are workers who make demands to employers to either thank them for having worked during lockdown or pay them a danger allowance. Unfortunately, this is not in the current prescript of the law. However, the department cannot interfere with an arrangement between an employer and employee on such incentives, nor force employers to pay such benefits.

"We urge workers to refrain from participating in such unprotected strikes that may possibly lead to loss of employment.

At all the times, workers are advised to enquire with relevant authorities when there are misunderstandings. Our officials are available and ready to guide them even before they get themselves into unprotected strikes based on hearsay and rumour," said Tladi.

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