In addition to the better-known unemployment benefits you can receive from the UIF, there is a provision to assist expecting workers to enjoy their full state-mandated unpaid 4 months of maternity leave without concern about replacing their salary. Here’s what you should know about the UIF maternity benefit.
How Long Does Maternity UIF Take to Pay Out?
On average, it will take 5-8 weeks to be paid your UIF maternity benefit after you claim. It can take as little as 10 working days from the point the claim is verified and accepted for the money to arrive in your account, but the verification process beforehand will slow it down. Ensure you submit all documents correctly and all supporting documents with your claim, to speed this up as much as possible.
How Can I Check if My Maternity UIF has Been Processed?
You can check the status of your UIF maternity claim the same way you check other UIF payments- via the uFiling portal. Once you have created a profile, logged in, and head to the correct tab, you will be asked to verify your identity via a CAPTCHA. Once this is done, you can track the status of your claim. Once you see either ‘processed’ or ‘sent to Paymaster’, this typically means the claim will be on the way to your bank account within 10 working days, or 2 weeks.
How Many Months Does UIF Pay for Maternity Leave?
You will receive one month of UIF maternity benefit for every 6 months you have worked and paid into the UIF fund, up to a total of 4 months. This aligns with the government-mandated 4-month maternity leave period after giving birth. Do remember that, legally speaking, you can’t be forced to return to work within 6 weeks postpartum.
Do remember, however, that you must be eligible to receive a maternity payment from the UIF. Should you have a third-trimester miscarriage or a stillborn, you will still be entitled to claim up to 6 weeks of maternity UIF. You will also qualify if you resign while pregnant or on maternity leave, for up to 4 months. This is the only time that you can claim UIF after resigning. Adopting parents also qualify for maternity UIF benefits.
However, you cannot make a claim if you have not been working in a role that pays into the UIF fund, if you are receiving a full salary during your maternity leave, or if you receive a monthly state pension or Compensation Fund grant. You can claim the non-received portion of a partial salary, however. For example, if you are being paid 75% of your salary during your maternity leave, you can make a claim for the remaining 25% of your salary.
Likewise, if you will only be paid for a portion of your state-mandated 4-months leave, you can claim the other portion- say you receive full salary for only 2 months, you can claim the other 2 months from the UIF. You cannot use the 4 months in addition to received paid maternity leave, however. In our previous example, you could not claim 6 months of benefits (2 from your job and 4 from the UIF). The UIF only supplements missing portions up to their prescribed limits.
You may not be eligible if you have used unemployment or sickness benefits in the last 4 years prior to your claim. Should your contract come to an end, or you become unemployed while on maternity leave, we strongly advise claiming your maternity benefits first and then making a claim for unemployment benefits. This way, you are likely to receive both. Should you make an unemployment claim first, you very likely will not qualify for maternity benefits.
How is Maternity UIF Paid Out?
As with all UIF payments, your UIF maternity claim will be paid into a South African bank account in your name. Ladies who are married, divorced, or who have otherwise changed names must make sure that the name on this account matches with your ID, salary slips, and any other documentation you submit.
It is a good idea to confirm that this is the same name displayed for you with the Department of Home Affairs, too- they are not always up to date, and a mismatch anywhere on this paperwork can prevent the Department verifying your identity and slow down your claim.
How Do I Know How Much Maternity Pay I Will Get?
You will receive between 38%-58% of your monthly salary, with a salary cap of R17,712. Ironically, the less you earn, the higher the percentage paid out is likely to be. If you have a fluctuating salary, such as on a day rate, or if you have changed jobs recently, they will use the average salary earned in the 6 months before your claim. You can claim for up to 4 months, with you being eligible for 1 month of pay for every 6 months you have worked and paid into the fund.
Claiming your UIF maternity benefit can help you cover the costs of your maternity leave while allowing you time to recover and bond with your new child, so don’t hesitate to make a claim if you are eligible.
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