Changes to Seta Regulations
November 25 2019 By Progression
The new SETA Regulations, which came into effect earlier this year, put employers' last minute Skills Development project implementation at risk. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) promulgated the SETA Workplace-Based Learning Programme Agreement Regulations (2018), which came into effect on 1 April 2019.
The Regulations have broadened the definition of a learning programme to now also include "candidacy" and various categories of "internship", in addition to the standard learning programmes (learnerships and apprenticeships) covered in the previous legislation. The Learnership Agreement has also been replaced by a new document: the Workplace-Based Learning Programme Agreement.
In order to register a Workplace-Based Learning Programme Agreement, the relevant SETA must receive the original signed agreement and all supporting documents within 30 working days of the learner's signature date. Should the agreement not be received by the SETA within the required 30 day period, the application will be closed.
Upon receipt of the completed agreement, the SETA must confirm in writing that it has received the documents and indicate the date of receipt. However, this is merely confirmation of receipt and the SETA has a further 30 working days in order to verify that all the requirements have been complied with and then register the learner. The start date of the learning programme and the agreement is determined by the date on which the SETA registers the agreement. The end date is subject to the number of credits of the qualification or the duration of the curriculum.
When a learner signs an agreement, the employer must conditionally place the learner on the relevant learning programme, pending the SETA's registration and compliance process. If the learner was unemployed prior to signing the agreement, a contract of employment comes into effect when the learner is conditionally placed on the learning programme. After the SETA registers the agreement, the employer must confirm the learner's placement. If the SETA declines the agreement, the employer must terminate the learner's placement, whether or not funding has been secured.
In addition, some SETAs are also requiring an application process for funded and unfunded learnerships/internships as well as, in some cases, workplace approval.
Although the above regulations have been in place for almost eight months, many employers are only now beginning to understand and experience the impact on their skills development planning. Employers can no longer implement skills development initiatives on very short notice in order to quickly achieve the required points on their B-BBEE Scorecards. The very specific and stringent processes and time-frames imposed by the Regulations mean that employers now need to be much more proactive and plan their skills development projects well in advance in order to attain their desired Skills Development spend and targets.