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Skills Development

Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Reports

From the inception of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) in 2010, employers were able to claim 50% of their levies paid back as a mandatory grant, provided they submitted acceptable Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs) and Annual Training Reports (ATRs).

That changed when new funding regulations were promulgated for implementation as from 1 April 2013. The single biggest change in these regulations was that the mandatory grant percentage dropped from 50% to 20%.

These new regulations are a consequence of the introduction of PIVOTAL learning programmes, and the imperatives in the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS).

What is the purpose of the Skills Development Act?

The shortage of skilled personnel is a serious obstacle to the competitiveness of South African businesses. The levy grant scheme, imposed by the Skills Development Act and Skills Development Levy Act, aims to expand the knowledge and competencies of the South African labour force.

Improvements in employability and productivity will be achieved through new approaches in planning for training, learning programmes, incentives and an improved employment service. Participating fully in the scheme will allow employers to reap the benefits of a better skilled and more productive workforce.

What is Skills Development Levy?

SDL is a levy imposed to promote learning and development in South Africa and is driven by employer’s salary payrolls. The funds are to be used to develop and improve skills of employees.

Who must pay SDL?

In terms of the Skills Development Levies Act, every employer in South Africa who:

  • is registered with SARS (South African Revenue Services) for PAYE;
  • has an annual payroll in excess of R500 000;

must register with SARS and pay the Skills Development Levy in respect of it’s employees.

What steps must the employer take?

If an employer becomes liable, then the employer is required to register with SARS for SDL.

How much do you need to pay?

1% of the total amount paid in salaries to employees (including overtime payments, leave pay, bonuses, commissions and lump sum payments).

When must SDL be paid?

SDL is paid on a monthly basis, not later than 7 days after the end of the month in respect of which the levy is payable.

How must SDL be paid?

SD Levies must be paid to SARS and is paid under cover of a completed EMP201 form. (The same form that is submitted to pay PAYE and UIF).

What happens to the SDL Levy?

The levies are distributed via the various SETAs.

What is a Sector Education and Training Authority?

“SETA” stands for Sector Education and Training Authority. Each SETA represents an industry sector in South Africa. The members and stakeholders of SETAs include employers, learners, providers, trade unions, government departments and bargaining councils from each economic sector.

The general objectives of the SETA are to –

Co-operate with, and support the Quality Council for Trade and Occupation (QCTO) in such matters relating to QCTO functions and operations referred to in section 10 of the Act.

Purpose of a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) & Annual Training Report (ATR)

WSP: The Workplace Skills Plan is intended to identify talent within the business as well as training and development needs that exist in the workplace. The WSP should set out a plan of how identified talent is to be developed by addressing training needs in a planned and systematic manner.

The WSP should take into account the employer’s vision, mission and values and must be aligned with the employer’s business plan. The WSP must also take into account affirmative action targets set in terms of the employer’s employment equity plan.

The Skills Development Facilitator for the enterprise is charged with preparing the WSP in consultation with line management and for getting this approved by both management and the Training Committee.

WSPs have to be submitted to the Seta by 30 April annually.

ATR: The Annual Training Report is a report documenting all training conducted during the year. It should include attendance registers, proof of expenditure and details of training providers used.

This report enables SETAs to establish whether training was done or is in the process of being done. It allows the particular SETA to compensate the employer for money spent on implementing its Workplace Skills Plan. For this reason, although exceptions may be made, the Annual Training Report must be aligned to the Workplace Skills Plan and reflect the costs for training identified in the WSP.

Proof of expenditure is very important when completing and submitting an Annual Training Report. Proof of expenditure relates to all training costs that the employer has incurred in the training of its employees. If the training was done internally then all attendance registers must be submitted, but if the training was done by an external training provider then all invoices must be submitted.

Like the WSPs, ATRs must be submitted by 30 April annually. The reporting formats have however, changed as they now collect more information, which includes the PIVOTAL Training Plan and Reports. You will be guided by your SETA.

Grants and PIVOTAL programmes

PIVOTAL programmes are professional, vocational, technical and academic learning programmes that result in qualifications or part qualifications on the National Qualifications Framework.

For all categories of SETA grant, i.e. mandatory (to levy paying members) and discretionary grants, 80% of the funds must be spent on this type of programme, preferably those offered through public institutions. They must focus on identified scarce and critical skills for their sectors.

Mandatory Grants

A maximum of 20% of mandatory grants may be allocated to ‘other than’ PIVOTAL programmes, and these grants must contribute to skills development priorities as set out in the SETA’s Sectoral Skills Plan.

PIVOTAL Grants

Applications for PIVOTAL grants must be accompanied by a PIVOTAL Training Plan and report, on templates provided by the applicable SETA. The exception being companies with fewer than 50 employees who will need to report on the impact of training and these grants in a format prescribed by their SETAs.

Discretionary Grants

SETAs are required to ensure that application forms for discretionary grants can accommodate the needs of the full range of potential beneficiaries (from large corporates to NGOs).

20% of discretionary grants may be allocated to PIVOTAL programmes, and these grants must contribute to skills development priorities as set out in the SETA’s Sector Skills Plan.

Registration of a Skills Development Facilitator with the SETA

You can use the online Skills Development Facilitator registration form available under the Facilitators (SDF) section of the Seta’s web-site. Alternatively contact your SETA regional co-ordinator for the registration process.

Rekha Essak

Skills Development Facilitator

Bruniquel & Associates

For more information please contact us: http://www.bruniquel.co.za/contact/