UIF – all you need to know!

South Africa’s UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) is a fund that will pay a certain amount to those who are unemployed and women who are on maternity leave. To avoid delays, the process must be followed as specified. To claim benefits, pregnant women will claim from the UIF Maternity Fund.

By law, pregnant women are entitled to no less than four months maternity leave. The leave can be taken a month before the baby is born and three months after – however this can be altered and can be agreed upon between employee and employer. After giving birth, mothers should have at least six weeks off unless a doctor has given the go-ahead, in which case work can be resumed earlier.


Who can claim?

  •       UIF Maternity Benefits can be claimed by women who are registered for UIF (they have been contributing to the fund).
  •       If a pregnancy ends in a miscarriage or the child is stillborn, benefits can be claimed up to six weeks;
  •      A woman who resigns while pregnant is still entitled to claim for UIF maternity benefits.
  •      Mothers who adopt a baby younger than the age of two will be eligible to receive benefits, if they have been making contributions to the fund.


How much can be claimed?

The fund will only pay between 38 and 58% of a claimant’s gross salary. The amount is calculated on a sliding scale, which means the higher the salary, the lower the percentage. If the salary differs over a six month period, an average amount will be used. In the event that the company pays a maternity benefit to the claimant, UIF can still be claimed. It is important that the payments do not exceed the amount of the claimant’s original salary.


For what period can a claim last?

This depends on the period that contributions have been made to the fund. Maternity claims will only be paid for a period of four months and will only be paid to those who are on maternity leave. Claimants cannot return to work after giving birth and claim for benefits.


How long will I wait for payment?

On average the procedure from application to payment takes about four weeks. Once the first payment has been received, regular monthly payment will be made, until the credit is complete. The payments will be made via EFT directly into the claimant’s account.


Who is not able to claim UIF benefits?

  •       A person who has received UIF or maternity benefits within a four year period (however when visiting the UIF offices, staff will check if there are any remaining credits);
  •       Those who are not South African citizens;
  •       Women who work fewer than 24 hours a month;
  •       Women who are self-employed or have their own businesses;


For more information on UIF, visit the Department of Labour website:

  – Kathy Baron


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