National lockdown and the employer

President Ramaphosa has announced a national lockdown on 23 March 2020 that will take effect from midnight 26 March 2020 until midnight 16 April 2020.

Only business categorised as essential services may remain fully operational during the lockdown period. These categories are published in the Government Gazette (25/03/2020), refer to Annexure B on page 10. Additional businesses that are categorised as essential services was published in the Government Gazette (26/03/2020), refer to page 5, point 6, where additions to Annexure B was made. Take note that employees in all categories who must commute to the workplace, must be able to show a permit on a continuous basis to confirm that their actions are not in contradiction with the regulations in terms of the national lockdown. Download a permit to use in order to provide essential services.

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With regards to businesses that fall outside these categories, employers can consider the following available options:

  • Employers who are able to continue paying employees in full are encouraged to do so, as long as it doesn’t jeopardises the business’s sustainability.
  • Employers can apply annual leave for the lockdown period if practical.
  • Employees can be allowed to work from home if possible and practical.
  • Employers can apply the principle of “no work no pay” – employees are then temporarily retrenched due to operational requirements when business operations come to a standstill. Employees are entitled to claim UIF benefits for this period.
  • Employers can implement short time when the normal work volume has decreased drastically, but certain activities still need to take place. Employees therefore work fewer hours and are compensated accordingly for hours worked. Employees are entitled to claim UIF benefits for this period. It is important that these activities are not in contradiction with the regulations in terms of the national lockdown. Employees can for instance be allowed to work from home if possible and practical.

An easy aid guide was released by the Department of Employment and Labour with regards to claiming UIF.

A COVID-19 TERS easy aid guide was released by the Department of Employment and Labour with the aim to provide aid to employers in the form of financial assistance.

Every business is unique and we encourage our members to contact the LWO for advice – don’t settle for generic advice/information – get the best solution for your business and your industry.



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