Continuing with our theme from last week’s article, skills development stands as a strategic investment for organisations aiming to achieve and maintain a favourable B-BBEE level while adhering to the requirements of the Skills Development Act. The CEO Training Dept. is committed to guiding employers in navigating the complexities of skills development, explaining the utilisation of the Skills Development Levy (SDL) to its fullest potential in employer and staff training.

Let us break it down for you:

I. Understanding the Purpose of Skills Development Levy (SDL): The SDL isn’t a mere compulsory deduction but a funding gateway for training, offering a valuable resource for enhancing staff skills. By viewing the SDL as an investment in training, employers unlock avenues for significant benefits and growth. This levy, amounting to 1% of an employer’s salary and wage bill, is payable monthly to the South African Revenue Services (SARS). All registered employers with an annual payroll exceeding R 500 000.00 (five hundred thousand rand) or who employ more than 50 (fifty) employees are required by law to pay the SDL and submit a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and an Annual Training Report (ATR) to the relevant Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA) annually by 30 April each year. Even employers with an annual payroll below R 500 000.00 (five hundred thousand rand) can benefit and voluntarily submit claims, with the levies channelled to the specific SETA, allowing these employers to potentially reclaim up to 70% of the SDL.

II. Strategic Approach to the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) & Annual Training Report (ATR): Compiling and submitting the WSP and ATR annually is crucial in establishing a demand-driven skills development system responsive to South Africa’s economic and social needs. The CEO Training Dept. encourages employers to see this process as an opportunity rather than a challenge, emphasising its role in shaping the organisation’s skills development initiatives.

III. Benefits of SDL Compliance & Proper Submission: Correct submission of the WSP and ATR ensures compliance and opens avenues for multiple benefits. Employers may qualify for a mandatory grant of 20% of their SDL, maximise their BEE points, identify and address skills gaps, and apply for discretionary grants to tackle industry-specific critical skill shortages. Employers may claim up to 50% of the SDL through a discretionary grant, which includes learnerships (tax rebates are available for registered learnerships), skills programs, apprenticeships, workplace experience placements, internships, and bursaries.

IV. Harnessing the Power of Training: Employer and staff training, often overlooked, is a valuable component of skills development. Whether training new employees, introducing new skills, providing refresher courses or reskilling staff, effective and professional training contributes to a skilled workforce. Employers can strategically plan for our training as part of their mandatory grant submissions, aligning it with the organisation’s growth and development goals.

V. Simplifying the Process with Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs): Employers are encouraged to appoint Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs) to streamline the mandatory grant submission process. SDFs play a pivotal role in planning for upcoming training, maximising grant benefits, and ensuring compliance with legal and procedural requirements.

VI. Expanding Employee & Employer Benefits: Active participation in skills development under the SDL offers a range of benefits for both employers and employees. From mandatory and discretionary grants to tax allowances for learnerships, employers gain a more skilled workforce, contributing to improved productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall organisational success.

The CEO Training Dept. emphasises the strategic importance of skills development and the proper utilisation of the SDL. Employers who embrace these initiatives not only comply with regulatory requirements but also unlock opportunities for growth, competitiveness, and a more empowered workforce. By navigating the SDL landscape with a proactive approach, businesses can shape a future where skills development is a driving force behind economic resilience and success.

Article by Carl Ranger

Head of Training at Consolidated Employers Organisation (CEO SA)