Cosatu has welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s signing into law of the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Act.
The Act will reportedly ensure that people who lose their jobs receive money for longer periods when they apply for unemployment benefits. It will also ensure that workers receive an increased maternity leave benefit of up to 66%.
Under the new law, families and/ or nominated beneficiaries of a deceased claimant would be allowed to receive the deceased’s benefits. The new law also prohibits the charging of fees by any party to an Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claimant.
Cosatu has described the Act as progressive and said it should have been passed much earlier.
“If this critical Act had been adopted earlier it could have helped thousands of mine and other workers, who have painfully lost their jobs over the past few years,” said Cosatu parliamentary coordinator Matthews Parks in a statement on Thursday. The Unemployment Insurance Amendment Act is one of 10 Bills that have been signed into law by Zuma this week.
Other Bills include the Adjustment Appropriation Act, Finance Act, Taxation Laws Amendment Act, the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Act, the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws (Administration) Act and the Adjustments Appropriation Act.
Parks urged the labour department to move with speed in ensuring that the new unemployment Act is implemented with immediate effect.
“We further demand that the labour department and the UIF Board urgently increase the deployment of staff at their offices to ensure that UIF claimants are attended to quickly and professionally. The days of endless queues at UIF offices need to come to an end,” said Parks.