Saturday, 13 June 2020

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT FUND FOR ZIM


WORKERS who are temporarily out of work might soon begin drawing benefits from a fund being set up by Government to support unemployed workers upon losing their jobs.

Authorities have given the green light to the setting up of a National Unemployment Benefit Scheme to protect workers against impact of job losses. Government recently tasked the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) to craft a concept paper to assess the feasibility of setting up the scheme.

Currently, Government offers two mandatory workers’ social security schemes under Nssa: the National Pension Scheme (NPS), which supports retirees above the age of 60; and the Workers Compensation Insurance Fund (WCIF) for workers injured or killed in work-related accidents or suffer from work-related diseases. Our Harare Bureau has gathered that Government, workers and employers will all make contributions into the proposed scheme. The pooled funds would subsequently be used to provide income for those forced out of work by circumstances.

Under the scheme, beneficiaries will only receive pay-outs for a specified period while they search for new employment opportunities. Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said experiences with job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic had prompted authorities to consider establishing the scheme. 

“The idea is to have a fund that is supported by the workers themselves, employers and Government to support workers who are temporarily out of employment. We want a situation where we invest in building reserves from which unemployed workers can make claims during times of need.”

He said legislation to facilitate rollout of the scheme will likely be tabled in Parliament during the next session. Responding to questions from our Harare Bureau, Nssa acting general manager Mr Arthur Manase said the scheme seeks to protect workers during times of need.

“I can confirm that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare requested Nssa to provide input towards a concept note for the establishment of a National Unemployment Benefit Scheme. The Authority, in line with its mandate to support Government’s efforts in the provision of social services, responded accordingly and submitted its input towards the concept note.”

The benefit is paid over a period stipulated in the rules of the fund; for example, six to 12 months. Under the NPS, employers and employees make equal contributions to Nssa and workers are entitled to a set of benefits after making contributions for a minimum set period. Under the WCIF, employers, except for Government, domestic workers and informal sector employers, contribute to the scheme while employees do not contribute. Sunday Mail

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