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The Unemployment Insurance Fund & You

The economic demands of pregnancy and post-partum are acutely felt by new mothers. The temptation to return to work soon after having a baby is often not a matter of choice or preference but rather a matter of necessity.

In South Africa, the Unemployment Insurance Fund provides a financial safety net for the cohort of mothers who are employed but do not receive paid maternity leave benefits from their employer. Whilst this fund is limited in that only those employed within certain criteria are eligible, it is a way for mothers to financially navigate time at home to settle into motherhood, bond and establish breastfeeding with their infants.

What is UIF?

The Unemployment Insurance Fund is a fund to which employers and employees contribute every month. The fund is intended to provide short-term relief to workers who find themselves unable to work for various reasons, including maternity leave. 

If you are going on maternity leave and expect to receive reduced or no salary, it is important that you claim for UIF payments to help support yourself during this important life phase.

Both you and your employer contribute to the UIF which is administered by SARS. Each month, a percentage of your salary is deducted and paid into the UIF:

Altogether, your company makes a contribution of up to 2% of your salary to the UIF. Half of this is what is deducted from your salary every month. Your monthly payslip will usually indicate the amount you contribute per month.  

The total monthly contribution you make cannot exceed R177.12. So, if 1% of your salary works out to more than R177.12, you will still only be contributing R177.12 a month.

It is important that your employer contributes to the UIF. If they do not, you will not be able to claim. We recommend that you check with your line manager if your employer has registered you and been contributing to the UIF.

How to claim UIF for maternity leave

You can claim UIF provided you:

  • Are going on maternity leave AND
  • Are not receiving your full salary AND
  • And your employer has been contributing to the UIF.

You can submit your claim at least 8 weeks before the baby is born – that means up to 4 weeks before you begin maternity leave. If you miss this time period, be sure to submit your claims before the baby is 6 months old. After this, you can no longer claim maternity benefits.

Ensure your employer has completed and submitted updated copies of the following: 

  • The UI-9 Form: A monthly declaration of employees and salaries that your employer should be submitting regularly. If you were with a previous employer within 4 years before your pregnancy, ask that employer to also complete a UI-9 Form for the time in which you worked for them.
  • The UI2.7 Form: A form from your current employer stating that whilst you are still employed, you will not be receiving 100% of your salary while you are on maternity leave.

Complete the following forms:

  • 8 weeks before the baby is born:
    • The UI-2.3 Form: Application for maternity benefits; requires input from your doctor or nurse midwife declaring that you are pregnant.
    • The UI-2.8 FormBanking details form which must be signed and stamped by a representative of your bank.
  • After the baby is born:
    • The UI-4 Form: Declaring that you are still on maternity leave and still require UIF; requires input from your doctor declaring when you gave birth; must be submitted on a monthly basis during maternity leave.

If your employer is registered on the Department of Labour’s online UIF platform – – then you can submit your application via that platform. This may require you to scan and upload certified copies of some documents. If your employer is not on the UIF platform, you can submit hard copies of your documents at your nearest branch of the Department of Labour –

You will receive written communication of the outcome of your application. If you’d like to appeal, you can do so by completing the UI12 form and submitting it to your regional labour office or via UFiling.

You should receive payment within 3 to 6 weeks of the initial application.