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Unemployment Benefits in Johannesburg

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The following Basic Guide to UIF Unemployment Benefits has been summarized from website for the Department of Labour for the Republic of South Africa, which  administers all unemployment benefits. Workers who become unemployed have the right to claim from the UIF. Workers must apply and will be paid at the labour centre of their choice. Based on legislation in Section 18, of the Unemployment Insurance Act


The Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply to all employers and workers, except for:

  • workers working less than 24 hours a month for an employer;
  • learners;
  • public servants;
  • foreigners working on contract;
  • workers who get a monthly State (old age) pension
  • workers who only earn commission.

Domestic employers and their workers are included under the Act since 1 April 2003.


Provides security to workers when they become unemployed.


You cannot claim UIF benefits if you receive

  • benefits from the Compensation Fund
  • benefits from an unemployment fund under the Labour Relations Act

or if the applicant

  • has been suspended from claiming because of fraud
  • quit their job
  • does not report at set dates and times
  • refuse training and advice

Workers can claim UIF benefits if - 

  • their employers are bankrupt; 
  • their contracts are ended
  • they are fired.

Domestic workers can also claim if -

  • they work for more than 1 employer, and lose their job at one of the employers
  • their employer dies.

Workers must register as worker-seekers and be available for work.
Based on legislation in Section 14, Section 16, Section 36, of the Unemployment Insurance Act

When must I claim?
Workers must claim within six months after they stopped working.
Based on Legislation in Section 17 of the Unemployment Insurance Act

How long can I claim for?
Workers can claim from the day they stopped working until their benefits are used up or they start working again.
Based on Legislation in Section 15, of the Unemployment Insurance Act

How do I claim?
Workers must fill in the application forms and, together with other required documents, hand it in at a labour centre.

No tax is payable on the benefits.
Based on Legislation in Section 34 of the Unemployment Insurance Act

If you get more money than you should, you must pay back the extra money.
Based on Legislation in Section 35, of the Unemployment Insurance Act

The UIF may stop paying you benefits if you refuse to:

  • accept a job
  • go for training
  • go for legal advice

Based on Legislation in Section 18, of the Unemployment Insurance Act

Update 27/11/2008


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