Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Benefits

In the case of involuntary unemployment, worker contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund and having accumulated sufficient credits before becoming unemployed, is entitled to unemployment benefits for up to 34 weeks. The application for unemployment benefit must be made within 12 months of the termination of the contract of employment (earlier this was 6 months), but the Commissioner may accept an application made after the expiry of 12-month time limit on showing just cause.

Unemployment benefit of 38% to 60% of average earnings in the last six months, depending on the insured's period of service and level of income, is paid for up to one year. For every five completed days of employment, the insured is eligible for one additional day of benefits, up to 365 days in the four-year period immediately preceding the day after the date of ending of the period of employment. Provided that the unemployed person is capable of and available for work and must register with and report to the public employment exchange, unless unemployment is the result of illness or pregnancy. The first 238 days of benefits are paid at the income replacement rate set under the law (38-60%) and the remainder of credits is paid at a flat rate of 20%. Under the amended law, unemployment benefits must be paid to the unemployed contributor regardless of whether or not the contributor has received benefits within that four-year cycle, if the contributor has credits.

Unemployment must not be the result of refusing suitable work or training. The unemployment benefit is paid after 14 days of waiting period.

Source: §12, 13, 15-18 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 2001 (last amended in 2017); ISSA Country Profile for South Africa, 2017

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