Carers seek clarity on RAF payments

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) gets a big F for failing to communicate properly with caregiver Soraya Davids.

She is employed by a Goodwood man who was paralysed in an accident 15 years ago.

The courts determined that the RAF would support him medically for the rest of his life.

Ms Davids, of Table View, said the RAF told her and two other carers that they have no labour rights; they are not entitled to UIF or sick leave, their pay is deposited any time between the 15th and the 30th of the month and they don’t get payslips.

“The RAF’s stance is that they pay our salaries on the claimant’s behalf when actually he is our employer and he should pay UIF and all other benefits. Does this mean he must take it from his SASSA (South Africa Social Security Agency) grant? The labour department said they can’t do anything,” Ms Davids said.

“Can you get clarity as the RAF doesn’t want to help us.”

The RAF set up a meeting in Cape Town to address the caregivers’ concerns where they explained the UIF issue and promised to look into issuing payslips and the problem of late payments.

“They agreed to reinstate our sick leave,” added Ms Davids, who said the three caregivers, the claimant and three RAF officials were at the meeting.

The RAF confirmed that the employer (the claimant) and the caregivers were responsible for registering with the labour department and the UIF. The carers are entitled to 10 days sick leave a year. There is a letter to confirm that the caregiver receives a benefit payment but as the RAF is not the employer no payslips are available.

Ms Davids said they asked the RAF for clearer lines of communication especially about pay dates “which are often late”.

The caregivers have also been submitting their timesheets at different times and Ms Davids will be responsible for seeing that they are submitted timeously.

Thandeka Ngwenya of the RAF said the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Labour Relations Act and other labour legislation is applicable to the employment relationship between the employer and the caregiver.

“The caregiver has signed an employment contract with the claimant who is her employer and in terms of the UIF Act, the employee is responsible for the monthly payment of a contribution of 1% of the value of their pay and the employer is responsible for an additional monthly contribution of 1% of the value of the pay of the employee, to the UIF. The employer is responsible for paying these amounts to the UIF,” Ms Ngwenya said.

The RAF depends on the claimant to submit the relevant documentation, which must be signed by the employer or their representative, as confirmation that the service was provided. Some reasons for late payment include claims being submitted late, “or the RAF may, due to cash constraints, not be in a position to pay the claim immediately”.

“The labour department is the custodian of the legislation and Ms Davids should consider getting independent legal advice regarding her rights. As part of the settlement the RAF made an award for future loss of earnings and one for general damages. The reference to the Sassa grant is not appropriate considering that the claimant received compensation to make up for his loss of earnings. In addition, the claimant can submit the claim to the RAF if the caregiver fees have been incurred as opposed to paid. The RAF has a ‘caregiver standard operating procedure’ to ensure that claimants and caregivers are assisted with the processing of claims for payment,” said Ms Ngwenya.

BernardReisnerofCape Labour and Industrial Consultants in Gardens said: “It is common practice for the labour department to shirk their responsibility when dealing with an employee’s query about UIF or other statutory rights. The employee should complain to the senior official who will instruct a junior to deal with the matter, on condition that it falls under their jurisdiction.”

Mr Reisner said it is an onerous and costly process for the employer to comply with UIF arrears as he has to furnish the UIF official with the monthly salaries of all employees from April 1 2003 to date; pay all UIF arrears, penalties and interest, process monthly salary spreadsheets for all employees from their date of commencement, issue contracts of employment, pay slips, complete attendance registers over the last few months as well as update all UI-19 forms.

“As the injured party is the employer, it is his duty to have a written contract of employment with all carers, issue pay slips regularly, register as an employer for UIF, make the necessary UIF deductions and comply with all other provisions of the Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector. Regardless of the RAF paying the carers’ salaries directly or indirectly to them, the employer must pay their salaries timeously,” Mr Reisner said.

Email or call 0800 235 523 if you have an issue with the RAF.