2007 is flying past and we are well into the final quarter. For most companies it has been a year of unbelievable opportunities and business has been good. Unfortunately, the challenges are becoming more and more difficult as we all find good skills and talented people hard to find. This update will concentrate on how some of these challenges are being tackled and what we can do to ensure that these skills are available to our SMME and Micro Enterprises.
We are already half way though the current training year which ends on the 31 March 2008. To ensure your company is working towards your training plan objectives, and that you receive the mandatory grant refund of 50% of Skills Development Levy; please monitor your current training plan and make sure you have trained at least 60% of the employees you said would be trained, and that your training spend is equal to the 50% of the Skills Development Levy for this period.
Many of our clients have taken advantage of Discretionary Funding offered by the Seta’s, and we shall shortly be contacting our clients within Merseta and the Wholesale & Retail Seta’s when they start offering for 2008. If you have not taken advantage of this opportunity before, please phone Jane who can assist you.
If we have had a challenging year, the SETA’s have had a difficult year. They are facing increasing criticism for non-delivery by both the Minister of Labour and their own industries and with suggestions that the number of SETA’s be reduced to make them more effective, they are facing staffing and motivation challenges. No one is denying that South Africa, and perhaps the world, are facing severe skills shortages and yet, we still have the problem of large numbers of unemployed people. Recent reports in the media suggest that companies should list their vacancies on a national database so that unemployed graduate skills can be matched with vacancies.
There has been much talk in the media recently concerning Skills Development funding, the working and management of the Seta’s and National scarce and critical skills. The Ministers of Labour & Finance have committed over R300 million to addressing these skills shortages, with the commitment to train 20,000 + artisans and learnerships within the next few years.
There is also expected to be a rationalization of Seta’s from the current 23 to 5 or 10 when their current mandates expire in March 2010. We will also keep you updated on the changes within Quality Assurance and the planned formation of the ‘New Quality Council for Trade and Occupations’ in 2009. This Council would be responsible for all workplace and work related learning and qualifications.
2008 is a reporting year for all companies who are designated to submit Employment Equity Reports to the Minister of Manpower. As the definition of a designated employer has not changed since 1998, it is useful to remember that if your company’s turnover exceeds those listed in the table below, despite the fact that you may have less than 50 employees, you are required to comply with the Employment Equity Act.
- R 2 m Agriculture
- R 5 m Construction, Catering, Social, Personal & Community services
- R7.5m Mining & quarrying
- R10 m Manufacturing, Finance, Business, Storage, Communications, Transport
- R15 m Retail, Motor Trade, Repair Services
- R25 m Wholesale Trade, Commercial Agents
The department is in the process of evaluating last year’s submissions and sending reports to companies which indicate whether they believe that the company’s employment equity report is satisfactory, reasonable or unsatisfactory. The Department of Labour is currently prosecuting 33 companies who they believe are not complying with the legislation.
Should you have become a designated employer and wish to comply with the legislation please contact Penny at our offices.
ON-LINE SKILLS ASSESSMENT
We have had numerous requests from various clients asking how potential candidates can be tested on basic computer literacy skills, as well as on the MS Office Suite. I have managed to source an online programme that can electronically test various skills. These tests vary between 3-10 minutes and are all administered online and can be easily managed and administered. This tool can also be used to screen current and potential employees quickly and effectively.
Once a specific test has been administered a report is immediately generated and can be printed with the scoring. This helps to manage results and statistics, as all results and candidates/employees results are permanently stored on the system for easy retrieval. These tests are essential for HR personnel files and can assist in evaluating where employees will need potential future training.
The range of tests offered are:
- Administration, Clerical and Secretarial
- Computer Applications
- MS Word
- MS Excel
- MS PowerPoint
- Financial and Accounting
- Bookkeeping Principles
- Debtors and Creditors
- Sales and Purchases
- Assets and Liabilities
- Information Technology
A full range of IT skills assessments ranging from A+ and N+ to programming skills in various languages from C# to VB.Net is also going to be offered should the need arise. Should you have specific tests you require that are normally manually driven, these tests can be converted to electronic form for easier reference and report generating.
As the testing is done online, the system can be accessed from any computer therefore any candidate/employee can be tested at any place and time deemed suitable. The cost will be R100.00 per skills set test plus the consulting fee per hour. This is to cover time, administration, reporting and candidate/employee and client feedback.
This has been a very busy activity for our company. Four groups are currently completing the Leadership Training Modules and their work will be moderated in January by SETA prior to the award of certificates. We have also been conducting Life Skills Training which has largely been funded by discretionary grants from Wholesale and Retail Seta. We were very proud to have our accreditation as a training provider extended to 2010. Debbie will be planning further leadership and Life Skills training programmes for 2008 and if anyone is interested in attending please contact her at the office.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUND
We wonder how many people noticed the small increase in their contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund in their October Salaries. The Department of Labour has been increasing the threshold for contributions twice a year in order to improve the benefits available to senior employees. Currently the maximum contribution is calculated on R12 478-00 per month. This means that employees who earn more than this and wish to claim benefits from the UIF fund are entitled to a maximum benefit of 42% of R12 478-00, i.e. R5 240-00 per month. As the threshold is increased, so this benefit will be increased.
Remember you can claim from the UIF fund for the following benefits:
- Unemployment in the case of dismissal or retrenchment
- Maternity Benefits
- Adoption Benefits
- Ill Health Benefits
- Dependents Benefits in the case of death.
DISPLAY OF ACTS
As you may be aware all workplaces are required to display the following Acts:
- Labour Relations Act
- Employment Equity Act
- Basic Conditions of Employment act or applicable Bargaining Council Agreement
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
The Government Printer has been our normal source for these laminated display boards, however, they seem to be having a major supply problem at present and we have sourced an alternative supply. If you need any copies of these Acts for your offices or branches (they must be everywhere) please contact Andrea at the office.