2008 has for everyone been a very hard working year and we approached the festive season with a feeling that a good rest would be appreciated. We have not faced such an uncertain time in many years, with western powers facing real recession and South Africa looking forward to elections early next year. We are destined to live in interesting times. Optimistically we are hoping that the recession will touch us mildly, however, the real danger lies in our listening too much to the media and talking ourselves into a real recession.
Most SETA’s have released their guidelines for the payment of discretionary grants and if you would be interested in finding out more and have not been contacted by us, please contact Jane Alevizos.
The amendment to the Skills Development Act was passed on the 1st December 2008 after having been through an exhaustive process since early February this year. The amendments are quite comprehensive and although some of the amendments are to merely clarify terminology and perhaps give more authority to the Act, other amendments set up new structures. The main amendments are:
- to define certain expressions;
- to broaden the purpose of the Act
- to provide anew for the functions of the National Skills Authority
- to provide anew for the composition of the National Skills Authority
- to provide anew for the function of the SETA’s
- to provide for apprenticeships as a qualification towards becoming an artisan
- to make further provision in respect of the implementation of employment services for learners
- to increase the quality and quantity of artisans by enforcing proper trade testing
- to provide for Skills Development Institutes (Legally recognized skills development advisors and trainers)
- to provide for the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (in order to ensure quality of the training and assessment procedures
- to clarify the legal status of Productivity South Africa
- to clarify the legal and governance status of the National Skills Fund
It would seem from the above that the revised act focuses on apprenticeship training and defines it differently from other types of learnership. Apprenticeships are still a form of learnership, but are going to be regulated by the Department of Labour rather than just by the SETA’s. The clarification of the legal status of Productivity South Africa is also interesting and seemingly places this body under the auspices of the Department of Labour as well.
We hope that the provision to skills development institutes means that the accreditation of training providers now falls under the Department of Labour and not the SETA’s as this will hopefully also provide for more clarity. Jane and Desrae will be explaining the provisions of the amendment at Employment Equity Meetings early next year.
CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT EQUITY LAW
There has been a proposed amendment to the Employment Equity Act which will require comment by 31 January 2009.
The main proposed changes appear to be removing the requirement to report on Job Categories and to focus on Job Levels. They also have amended the reporting so that the earnings of Foreign Nationals are reported.
We are intending to provide comment as we feel that the reporting in its present format does not provide sufficient information and is not particularly useful in achieving the aims of the act. Anyone who would be interested in being part of this process is welcome to join us for a workshop to be held from 09h00 on Friday 23rd January 2009. We will also be commenting at this workshop on the amendments to the Skills Development Act and its impact on us as companies.
If you wish to attend, please contact Penny at our offices before Friday 16th January 2009 to enable us to determine catering requirements.
We will be starting a new Leadership Development Training Courses next month as well as public courses for our Life Skills Training. Anyone who would be interested in attending or having staff attend should contact Debbie at our offices.
The Leadership Development Training course runs for 1 day per month for 10 months and is aimed at line managers. Content of the course includes Performance Management, Strategic Planning, Team Building, Coaching and Industrial Relations.
Life Skills training is aimed at all staff and covers goal setting, career development and financial management. Information on these courses is available on our website at www.connold.co.za
We are hopeful that accredited rating agencies will be announced in January 2009. We are noting an increased pressure for our clients to be BEE accredited. The Department of Trade and Industry has launched a national Data Base for Companies who have been formally rated. They have also launched a rating system on their website which allows Companies to do a self-rating for a cost of R285-00. This rating, once approved by an accredited rating agency, will be included in the DTI database. In the absence of accredited rating agencies, we suggest that you use one of the rating agencies which belong to the Association of BBBEE Verification Agencies (ABVA). A list is available on www.abva.co.za
INCREASE IN SALARY OF DOMESTIC WORKERS
The minimum salaries of domestic workers have been substantially revised and the new minimum rate for urban (Rate A) areas is R6.88 for domestic workers who work between 27 and 45 hours per week and R8.12 for those working less than 27 hours per week. This is effectively a 17% increase in the previous minimum wage. In addition, employers have been instructed that they must increase their domestic worker’s salaries by 12,2% (CPIX +2%). The Department of Labour has a very useful guide on the payment of Domestic workers on their website (www.labour.gov.za)
Wishing you a very happy holiday and a great 2009.