Claiming UIF maternity benefits: your comprehensive guide

by Ally Cohen
Navigating the process of claiming maternity benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) in South Africa can feel daunting, especially for employed female contributors preparing for maternity leave.​
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Navigating the process of claiming maternity benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) in South Africa can feel daunting, especially for employed female contributors preparing for maternity leave. By Ally Cohen.

The prospect of welcoming a new life into the world is undoubtedly exhilarating, but the accompanying financial responsibilities can often add a layer of stress to an otherwise joyous occasion. However, with the assistance of the UIF’s maternity benefits programme, expectant mothers can find reassurance in the knowledge that financial support is readily available to help ease the transition into parenthood.

As an employed female contributor to the UIF, you play a vital role in South Africa’s workforce. Your dedication and hard work contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth and development. Recognising the importance of supporting working mothers during their maternity leave, the UIF offers a comprehensive benefits package designed to provide financial assistance to eligible individuals during this pivotal phase of their lives.

Exploring your options

1. In-person application

Taking the traditional route, you can initiate your claim by visiting your nearest Department of Employment and Labour or UIF office in person. During your visit, be sure to submit your application along with all the required documentation for processing.

2. Online application (uFiling)

Embrace the convenience of modern technology by opting for online application through the uFiling system available on the Department of Employment and Labour’s website. Simply create an account, log in securely, and follow the intuitive instructions to electronically submit your claim, eliminating the need for physical visits¹²³.

Embarking on this journey may seem overwhelming, but rest assured that the process is designed to support you every step of the way. Whether you choose the traditional route of in-person applications or the modern convenience of online submissions, the goal remains the same: to provide you with the financial assistance you need during your maternity leave.

Understanding processing times

1. Initial processing

After submitting your application, anticipate an initial processing period that typically spans a few weeks (or a few months, just in time for the next baby). During this time, dedicated personnel will review your application meticulously, ensuring all necessary checks are conducted.

2. Payment timeline

Upon approval of your claim, expect to receive your initial payment within an estimated 2 to 4 weeks (or longer). Subsequent payments will follow at regular intervals, usually monthly, until the conclusion of your maternity leave.

3. Factors affecting processing time

The efficiency of the specific UIF office handling your claim plays a crucial role in determining processing times. Completeness and accuracy of your application, coupled with the submission of all required supporting documents, expedite the process. Additional verification procedures, if deemed necessary, may marginally extend processing times.

Essential documentation for claiming UIF benefits

Gathering the necessary documentation is a critical step in initiating your UIF maternity benefits claim. Here’s what you need to ensure a smooth and successful submission:

1. 13-Digit bar-coded ID or passport

Ensure you possess a valid form of identification, such as your South African ID or passport, for verification purposes.

2. Form UI-2.8 for banking details

Secure Form UI-2.8, a crucial document necessary for providing accurate banking information required for payments.

3. Form UI-19 (employer confirmation)

Obtain Form UI-19 from your previous employer to validate your employment status and eligibility for benefits.

4. Proof of registration as a work-seeker

Present evidence of active engagement in seeking employment by furnishing proof of registration as a work-seeker.

5. Additional supporting documents

Depending on your unique circumstances, be prepared to submit any supplementary documentation deemed relevant to your claim.

By meticulously organising these documents in advance, you’ll streamline the submission process and expedite the evaluation of your claim, ensuring a prompt resolution in your favour¹²³.

Also read: Are you pregnant? These are your rights in the workplace

And how to choose a caregiver for your child – and get peace of mind


(1) Maternity benefits at UIF | South African Government
(2) How do I claim maternity benefits from UIF? – Ufiling Guide
(3) A guide to claiming UIF for maternity leave |
(4) How To Claim UIF Maternity Benefits – Department of Employment and Labour
(5) I am applying for Maternity Benefits – Department of Employment and Labour

Have you claimed maternity benefits from UIF? Tell us your experience in comments. 

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1 comment

Ashton Jones April 26, 2024 - 11:37 am

I have only ever claimed from UIF for maternity benefits, once in 2020 and again in 2023.

My 2020 claim I did by myself and it was one delay after the next – due to no fault of my own. I was eventually paid out in early 2022 – about 18 months after my first child was born.

When I had my second child in 2023 I decided to pay an agency to provide me with all the necessary forms and to confirm that they were all correct before submitting them. Despite that (and having everything in order) I am still trying to get paid and my baby is almost 9 months old.

The systems are not updated properly/regularly so even when you contact the UIF call centre they can’t help you because the system is either down or hasn’t been updated.

No one is accountable when you complain and there’s no continuity when you try to follow up because you always speak to a new call centre agent.

The call centre is also outsourced so the only thing they can really do is to “escalate” your query/complaint to the Labour Department.

From my experiences I would confidently say that the online application process is a waste of time. Going to your local Labour Department is more effective but, even then, not a guarantee that your claim will be processed timeously (or at all).

The struggle continues


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