[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Welcome to the first skills mailer for 2019, it is a new year which is filled with renewed energy and focus and one of the very first calendar items is, of course, the submission of our Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Annual Training Report (ATR) or otherwise known as our mandatory grant submission.

Many of us most likely made a promise that this year will be different, this year we will not wait until the eleventh hour to submit our reports and we are reminded to make good on that promise to ourselves by starting the process of submission now.

The due date for all submissions to the various SETAs is the 30th of April 2019 and yet again I have seen stakeholder invitations from many SETA’s inviting SDF’s to participate in an information session on how to successfully submit a WSP-ATR online. Be sure to rsvp to these information sessions and be sure to ask your SETA for their policy and timelines for submitting discretionary grant applications.

One of the most common pitfalls in an organisation when in the process of submitting their WSP-ATR, is the rushed process or utter guesswork applied to the population of the Workplace Skills Plan.

A training plan should be a strategic document which aligns to an organisation’s needs and goals and the training programmes themselves should strengthen those skills that each employee needs to improve. This part of the mandatory grant submission requires proper planning as it involves all employees, line managers, executives and the skills committee to provide input into the final WSP.

As an External SDF, I am frequently asked ‘Can we claim for this type of training?’
This is another common misunderstanding perhaps of how the mandatory and discretionary grant funding process works. An organisation submits its WSP-ATR on an annual basis to qualify for the payment of its mandatory grant which in Rand value terms is 20% of the 1% levy a company pays.

This means that by just submitting the WSP-ATR an organisation automatically gets back 20% of the 1% Skills Development Levy (SDL) they have paid. SDL is calculated as 1% of your leviable amount, i.e. the company’s payroll*.

It does not matter how much money was spent on training in that reporting year; the value which is paid back to the employer is not based on the total training spend, the value being paid to the employer is calculated as 20% of your 1% SDL.

So, to answer the question, you don’t actually ever ‘claim’ a direct refund for any training expense; you capture the training completed on your ATR and you receive a fixed amount back as your mandatory grant repayment.

Discretionary Grants

Discretionary grants are of course different in that here we need to apply for funding by submitting an application to the relevant SETA we are registered with asking for funding for a specific person (employed or unemployed) linked to a specific training programme.

The bulk of discretional funding is directed at the provision of PIVOTAL (professional, vocational, technical and academic) learning programmes, which comprise of either Learnerships, Work Integrated Learning, Internships, Bursaries and/or Skills programmes. All these training interventions are expected to result in qualifications or partial qualifications aligned to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and as contemplated in the Grant Regulations.

Discretionary Grants are allocated at the sole discretion of the SETA depending on the availability of funds and adherence to specific criteria as per the SETA Discretionary Grants Policy and Guidelines.

My top tips and some guidelines in completing your WSP-ATR:

  • Identify who your Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) is in your organisation. Only one person may be assigned this role as access to the submission portal will only be granted to one person by SETA.
  • You may appoint an external/independent SDF to submit your organisation’s WSP-ATR.
  • Register the SDF with the relevant SETA to gain access to the organisation’s online submission profile.
  • Ensure that your SDF attends the relevant SETA Stakeholder Engagement session and be on the look-out for communications from the SETAs as to when that will be held in your region.
  • Download or request a copy of the SETA’s Mandatory Grant Process Guideline document as they provide step by steps guidelines on how to submit a WSP-ATR.
  • The SDF should schedule a meeting with the organisation’s Accountant to obtain any/all documentation for any training related expenses as this will assist with the completion of the ATR.
  • The SDF can engage line managers and employees to ask for details of any training attended for the reporting time period. Ensure that copies of all attendance registers are on file.
  • The SDF must engage HR and line management to discuss planned training for the reporting time period.
    The reporting time period will either be 01 April – 31 March or 01 January – 31 December depending on the SETA you are registered with. It is advisable to find this out in advance.
  • The SDF will be required to submit or at least check the banking details of the organisation. Request a cancelled cheque or bank letter early on so that you have it available at the time of submission.
  • A meeting must be scheduled before the submission of the WSP-ATR for the organisation’s Skills Committee to review and sign off on the draft WSP. Minutes of this meeting will have to be uploaded to the SETA’s submission portal.
  • Signatures of the Accounting Office, Chief Financial Officer, SDF and Employee Representative (Skills Committee Chair) will be required so please be sure to check the diaries of these individuals to confirm that they will be available to sign the Declaration form at the time of submission.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if I can be of any assistance to you.

Kind Regards

Menet Hamel can help you institute a learnership in your company.

*The employer’s contribution is calculated as 1% of leviable amount, which is equivalent to the employee’s remuneration for PAYE purposes – in other words, the employee’s remuneration less any taxable income deductions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]