Cape Town - MPs from various political parties unanimously agreed on Wednesday to amendments in the Unemployment Insurance Act during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Labour.
Parliament held public hearings on the draft legislation earlier this week, receiving input from various stakeholders including labour representatives, academics, employers' associations and the general public.
After deliberations during the committee meeting, the bill was passed by MPs and will now be referred to the National Assembly for enactment.
If both houses pass the amendment bill, including the National Council of Provinces, and the draft legislation is subsequently signed into law by President Jacob Zuma, it will provide a significant boost to workers who have just lost their jobs.
By and large, the new act will extend the period during which unemployment insurance is paid out to workers who have lost their jobs from eight to 12 months.
In addition, unemployment insurance benefits will also apply to learners and civil servants who are undergoing learnership training.
The accrual rate of people who contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will also be adjusted, and they will be entitled to more benefits under specific circumstances, including maternity benefits.
“The UIF Amendment Act will go a long way in alleviating the plight of unemployed and reskilling them for absorption in the labour market,” the Labour Department said in a statement.
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