The Social Security Commission (SSC) paid out approximately N$30 million through its National Employment and Salary Protection Scheme for Covid-19.
The scheme, specifically designed in terms of the Social Security Act, aimed to combine the government’s efforts, through the finance ministry, to dissuade employers from retrenching employees in the short term and secondly to provide support for individuals who suffered a loss of income as a result of the pandemic shock.
Responding to New Era questions, SSC spokesperson Unomengi Kauapirura explained both the SSC’s Employer Wage Subsidy and the Affected Employees Programs started receiving applications within the first week of May 2020 and ended on 31 July 2021.
According to Kauapirura, over 4000 businesses applied for assistance.
“Approximately 1 629 were rejected for not being in applicable sectors, 245 were approved and paid out and approximately 2 304 were pending for various reasons, e.g. not being in good standing, not having submitted wage bills and contracts, insufficient information provided, etc.”, Kauapirura stated.
She added that businesses that were not operating in applicable sectors could not qualify for the SSC’s cash injection.
“A broad spectrum of companies applied across tourism, construction, transport, entertainment, retail and wholesale, manufacturing, etc. In terms of approvals, beneficiaries were from tourism and hospitality (approximately 57%), followed by construction (approximately 42%) and aviation (approximately 1%).
The Employer Wage Subsidy Program provided businesses in the most severely affected industries with a subsidy based on their total wage bill, driven by an SSC contribution waiver and a cash injection from the State.
The program compensated staff relative to the actual wage bill of their employers’ organisations.
In return, beneficiary employers had to agree not to retrench staff for the three months in question (April, May and June 2020) and were not allowed to reduce staff salaries by more than 50%.
Employers were required to enter into agreements with the State to ensure compliance with these conditions.
Employers outside of the selected sectors but impacted by Covid-19 were requested to provide proof of their revenue losses to apply for an SSC contribution waiver, with applications considered on merit.
Part two of the SSC’s scheme, the Affected Employees Program, urged low-income earners and employees in vulnerable employment to apply for a grant designed to provide compensation for those who have lost income.
This program was designed to provide a safety net for those who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
Employees applying for this scheme were asked to prove loss of income related to Covid-19 and should have earned less than N$50 000 per annum.
SSC’s benefit for employees was limited to 50% of monthly salary, subject to a minimum of N$1 000 per month for three months (April, May and June).