ESDA shows members how to claim back skills levy

September 2002 News

ESDA is looking out for the best interests of its members. All companies have to pay a skills levy of currently 1% to the government. ESDA held a training on 25 July at the Bryanston Sports Club. Leon LeRoux of Elvey led a workshop to inform members of the POSLEC SETA how registered companies can get back between 60 and 80% of this levy via mandatory and discretionary levies.

How to get your money back

What is a SETA?

SETA stands for Sector Education and Training Authority. 25 SETAs have been established and cover all sectors in South Africa, including government. The members of a SETA include employers, trade unions, government departments and bargaining councils where relevant, from each industrial sector.

How do I know which SETA applies to me as an employer?

SARS can provide you with a list of proposed SETAs and their scope of coverage. You are required to make a choice from the list that is most representative of your core business. The SETA for the electronic security industry is the POSLEC SETA.

Who must pay the levy?

Every employer in South Africa who:

* Is registered with SARS (South African Revenue Services) for PAYE

OR

* Has an annual payroll in excess of R250 000.

Who must register?

Every employer who is liable to pay the levy must register for the payment of the levy with SARS by completing a registration form (form SDL 101 available from all SARS offices).

In order to register, you (the employer) must:

* Obtain a registration form (SDL 101) from any SARS office, if not received by mail.

* Choose from a list of registered Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) as indicated in the SETA classification guide provided with the registration form, a (one) SETA most representative of your activities.

What is the purpose of this scheme?

The short supply of skilled staff is a serious obstacle to the competitiveness of industry in South Africa. The levy grant scheme aims to expand the knowledge and competencies of the labour force resulting in improvements in employability and productivity. This will be achieved through new approaches to planning for training, learning programmes, incentives and an improved employment service.

Why pay towards this levy grant scheme?

The payment towards this levy grant scheme is legislated in terms of the Skills Development Levies Act. The intention is to stimulate skills development by enabling employers to reclaim some expenditure on skills development initiatives.

How will I know what to do in order to comply with the requirements?

Visit www.labour.co.za where you will find all the information on the scheme including the requirements and timetable for action by you.

What happens to the levies paid?

The levies paid to SARS will be deposited into a special fund from where 80% of it will be distributed to the relevant SETAs as indicated on the registration forms, and the balance (20%) will be paid into the National Skills Fund. SETAs will in turn pay levy-grants to qualifying employers, while the National Skills Fund will fund skills development projects not within the scope of SETAs.

What if I am training already?

The levy still has to be paid but you may be eligible for a grant.

Can I recover any of this levy payment by means of grants?

You can recover in grants a minimum of 50% of the levy you paid on condition that you meet all the requirements for the different grants.

Workplace skills planning grant

Each up-to-date levy-paying employer may expect a grant from the relevant SETA, if:

* at least one skills development facilitator is designated by the employer and the name is submitted to the SETA;

* a workplace skills plan is correctly submitted to the SETA at the appropriate time (see Annexure A of the Regulations);

A workplace skills plan is important to:

* Employers to provide a strategic basis for planning the development of the workforce and organisation.

* Workers to provide opportunities for enhanced job satisfaction and promotion prospects.

* SETAs to assist in the identification of imbalances in the supply of, and demand for, skilled labour. This information can also be used by school leavers and unemployed people to inform choices about training options

* The Government to assist in the development and review of the National Skills Development Strategy that must be demand-led and sensitive to labour market needs.

Skills development facilitator

Each employer, after consultation with the workforce, must designate at least one skills development facilitator. For multisite or large organisations, more than one facilitator might be appropriate. Small employers, with less than 50 employees or with a sales turnover less than that specified in Schedule 4 to the Employment Equity Act (Act 55 of 1998), may wish to designate a skills development facilitator jointly. Employers should provide the skills development facilitator with the resources, facilities and training to enable her/him to perform the role.

The functions to be performed by a skills development facilitator are to:

* assist the employer and employees to develop the workplace skills plan;

* advise the employer and employees on the implementation of the workplace skills plan;

* assist the employer to draft the annual report on the implementation of the workplace skills plan (see the details of the next grant);

* advise the employer of any quality standards set by the SETA;

* act as a contact person between the employer and the SETA; and

* serve as a resource with regard to all aspects of skills development.

If a skills development facilitator leaves the organisation, or for any other reason ceases to perform the role, the employer should designate another skills development facilitator and inform the appropriate SETA.

Workplace skills report grant

Employers who are up-to-date with their levy payments can claim a grant from the appropriate SETA if they submit a report each year on the implementation of their workplace skills plan before the date stipulated by the SETA. The form of this report is Annexure B of the Regulations, but a SETA is able to modify this to take account of sector differences.

For specific assistance direct enquiries to: Department of Labour: tel: 012 309 4000, fax: 012 320 0792, skills.development@labour.gov.za





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