Govt considering ‘National Disaster Benefit’ fund to pay workers compensation - Cosatu

South Africa is considering establishing a ‘National Disaster Benefit’ fund that would pay workers compensation when they are laid-off because of the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on businesses.

The fund would pay out workers at a flat rate of R3 500 rand a month, which is the national minimum wage, according to a proposal seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which is taking part in the talks. There will also be payouts for sickness claims and reduced time arrangements.

“From Monday R30 billion will be available from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to tackle the coronavirus” related job losses, supporting job retention, illness payouts and reduced time claims, said Matthew Parks, Cosatu’s parliamentary coordinator.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Monday evening, announced a raft of "quick and targeted" economic interventions to buoy SA's economy due to the impact of the pandemic and a 21-day nation-wide lockdown that will commence on midnight on Thursday .

Ramaphosa said that, if necessary, the state will "utilise the reserves within the UIF system" to support workers as small and medium-sized enterprises and "other vulnerable firms" who are faced with loss of income.

"Details of these will be made available within the next few days," said the president. 

* Fin24 contributed to this report by citing remarks made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday evening.