Countries across the world, including Sout hAfrica, are affected by the deepest & most serious economic crisis in at least 80 years.
NEDLAC, in partnership with the Presidency, have agreed on acollective response to the challenge facingus. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure:
- that the poor & the most vulnerable are protected as far as possible from its impact;
- that the economy is ready to take advantage of the next up turn & that the benefits of such growth are shared by all our people.
The NEDLAC Framework Document prior it is estraining & skills development & introduces the training lay off as follows:
“In addition to other measures to avoid retrenchment, one further option that parties will consider is training layoffs
- financed by the NSF & SETA’s;
- for workers whose employers would ordinarily retrench them;
- & which can be introduced on terms that would keep them in employment during the economic downturn;
- but re-skill them as an investment for the future economic recovery.”
“A training layoff is a temporary suspension of work of a worker or group of workers that is used for training purposes.
The layoff depends on an agreement between an employer & a trade union on behalf of workers,or ,in the absence of a trade union, between an employer & individual workers;
who may otherwise be subject to dismissal for operational requirements.
Participation in the training layoff is voluntary.”
- Retain employment & avoid retrenchments.
- Enhance the skills of workers.
- Support companies to survive the recession.
- Position workers & employers to take advantage of the next economic up turn.
- Social partners strongly encouraged to participate
- A temporary suspens on of work used for training.
- Retention of the employment contract.
- Training to be flexible, but linked to the skills needs of the company.
- A training allowance paid to the affected workers.
- Employer carries the costs of a basic package of social benefits.
- Participation in the scheme is by agreement & subject to approval by a DoL Committee.
- Workers remain employed during the training layoff period but forego their normal wage for a training allowance.
- Employers pay full contributions to a basic social security package.
- The training layoff may be combined with short-time work arrangements during the period of training.
- The envisaged training period is flexible but based on three to six months of training. This can be spread over a longer period depending on the circumstances, such as combining with short-time arrangements.
- There is a single point of entry via the CCMA. All parties wishing to participate do so through the CCMA.
- The CCMA recommends participation in the scheme & facilitates the conclusionof a Training Layoff Agreement.
- SETAs facilitate the provision of training, fund training costs, apply to the DoL Committee for training allowances & transfer funds to employers.
- The DoL Committee considers the CCMA recommendation & pays training allowances to SETA’s on application.
- Employers pay the training allowances to the affected workers.
- Employers, trade unions, an individual worker or group of workers may participate in the scheme.
- Workers earning up to R180 000-00 per year (the R180,000 threshold is flexible but the training allowance cap is not) and who may be at risk of retrenchment are eligible, subject to certain conditions.
- The scheme is limited to employers facing economic distress and contemplating retrenchment of workers.
- Employers must be in the position to benefit from the short-term relief & re-absorb workers at the conclusion of the training layoff.
- Employers must be compliant with statutory obligations.
- The training allowance is calculated on amaximum income of R149736 per annum; R12478 per month; R2880 per week (UIF thresholds).
- The trainin gallowance may be up to 50% of the worker’s normal wage up to amaximum of R6239-00 per month or R1440-00 pe rweek.
- To qualify there must be full layoff lasting a continuous period of at least four weeks or partial layoff (short-time) lasting at least two days a week(or 16days) and contemplated to last for atleast 8 weeks.
Social benefit contributions:
- Employers pay full contributions (unless otherwise agreed) to basic social security package to which workers are entitled at time of introduction of the training layoff.
- The basic social security package is pension/provident fund, death cover & unemployment insurance.
- Parties are free to negotiate a continuation of all existing social benefit contributions (e.g. medical scheme contributions and housing allowances).
- Training of workers in distressed companies should be linked to the skills needs of the employer, as far as is possible.
- Various training options may apply, depending on the nature of the business, the position of workers whose jobs are at risk & the future economic opportunities for the employer.
- The menu of training options may include apprenticeships, learnerships & skills programmes of shorter duration.
- Training may also include generic workplace skills, such as ABET courses & other generic skills that may further personal development.
The CCMA process
Key aspects to the CCMA process
- A request for a training layoff may be made either directly to the CCMA by completing a form (workplace request), or it may emerge as an alternative to retrenchment during a CCMA process.
- A CCMA Advisory Committee evaluates eligibility of parties for participation in the training layoff scheme based on whether:
- the business is infinancial distress;
- has the potential to turn around after the layoff period; &
- whether the workers are eligible to participate in the scheme.
- The CCMA Advisory Committee makes a recommendation in the form of an advisory award.
- If there commendation is positive, the CCMA then facilitates the process to conclude a TrainingLayoff Agreement.
- The Training Layoff Agreement is perused for compliance & then forwarded, along with the advisory award & other documents, to the DoLCommittee&theaffectedSETA.
- The DoL Committee considers the CCMA’s recommendation.
- The CCMA monitors & reports on Training Layoff Agreements & the impact on the CCMA.
The 3 ways a training layoff may arise at the CCMA
- Scenario 1 – the training layoff arises from a CCMA process dealing with operational requirements matters (LRAs189A facilitation or as189[s135]conciliation).
- Scenario 2 – the training layoff arises from are quest to participate from a party/parties in the labour market not involved in a CCMA process(intermsofLRAs150).
- Scenario 3 – the training layoff arises froma Training Layoff Agreement concluded by parties in the labour market not involved in a CCMA process, along with are quest to participate(in terms ofLRAs150).
The role of DoL
- The DoL Committee considers the CCMA’s recommendation.
- The DoL Committee funds the cost of the training allowance.
- The Dol Committee does this on the basis of an application lodged by the SETA.
- The funds are transferred to the SETA.
- The DoL plays an oversight & coordination role.
The role of SETA’s
- The SETA structures grant allocation stoac commodate training layoff claims.
- Facilitates the provision of training for workers participating in the scheme.This includes engaging with individual companies regarding type, cost, provider & duration of training.
- Applies to the DoL Committee for funding of the training allowances.
- Makes transfers of funds to employers & training providers(received from the DoL Committee).
The role of social partners + implementing partners
- A Steering Committee toassess progress & consider changes to Terms & Conditions of the training layoff scheme.
- NEDLAC teams to review the training layoff scheme.
- Social Partners to promote & ensure appropriate use of training layoff scheme.