Does claiming back SDLs really have to be a nightmare?

You have an annual payroll of more than R500 000 and pay your 1% of your annual payroll towards the Skills Development Levy (SDL) for the sake of being compliant. You know your staff need to be up-skilled, but neither you, nor your overworked HR manager have the time or energy to figure out what SDLs are all about.

And once you’re finally done ensuring you’re compliant with your Workplace Skills Plan and Annual Training Reports - where do you even start looking for the right service provider for your training needs? And what exactly happens to the 1% that you pay over towards the SDL?

One of the services offered by Staff Training is the use of external Skills Development Facilitators (SDF) to assist companies with exactly this process.

Why should you use an external SDF?

Firstly, cost – you don’t need to employ another permanent staff member.

When you appoint an SDF, you only get billed for the time the facilitator spends working with your company. SDFs do Workplace Skills Plans (WSP) and Annual Training Reports (ATR) for a living; therefore they are able to do this in a fraction of the time it would take a business owner or an HR manager who only works with this once a year. Failure to submit your WSP and ATR will result in a zero score on skills development as this is a strict requirement for the new B-BBEE codes.

SDFs keep up to date with all the changes in the SETAs.

They know all the terminology, have the right contacts and have long-standing relationships with SETAs. They also keep themselves updated with the discretionary funding opportunities from the SETAs – Discretional and Pivotal Funding gets allocated the largest part of the SDL funds.

External SDFs have a huge network of service providers and will be able to refer you to the supplier whose training will best fit your company and employee’s needs.

Should you have more than 50 employees, you are required to create a Skills Development Committee that can be chaired by an internal or external Skills Development Facilitator. This committee identifies skills requirements that are evidenced through the provision of meetings and skills audits. You are also allowed to use an external SDF to chair these meetings.

Does your HR manager have your Skill Development needs under control?

Life happens. Employees get sick, they retire, they resign. You can still appoint a secondary SDF to double check your compliance and to be ready to step up, should your HR manager or internal SDF not be able to act when they are needed to.

So what happens to your 1% contribution?

20% is allocated to the National Skills Fund (NSF) and 80% to the different SETAs.

The SETAs break their 80% down to 10.5% SETA administrational allowance, 0.5% to QCTO for quality assurance, 20% for Mandatory Grants and 49% for Pivotal Grants (which are split into 80% Pivotal Funding and 20% Discretional Funding).

The National Skills Fund support skills development projects that don’t fall under the SETAS. The fund enables the state to meet training needs of the unemployed, non-levy paying cooperatives, NGO’s, community structures and vulnerable groups. In 2015/2016 fifteen thousand students benefited from the R1 billion in scholarships and bursaries from the NSF.

Appointing an SDF will not only ensure that you are compliant, but your staff will also be able to get the training they - and your company - deserve. As Henry Ford said – “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay.”

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider, contact us at 0861 996 660 or send us an email.