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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

‘No submission, no BBBEE points’: Companies must submit Workplace Skills Plans by 30 April

Failure to submit will result in loss of BBBEE points.

Admin awaits entrepreneurs in April as companies will have to get through some paperwork to keep their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) status intact.

The Workplace Skills Plan submission deadline has been set for 30 April.

Businesses with an annual payroll exceeding R500 000, or with more than 50 employees are required to submit their Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and Annual Record of Training (ATR) to the relevant Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) by end of April.

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Why the big deal?

Anton Visser, Group CEOO at SA Business School and Alefbet Learning said getting the WSP-ATR paperwork was a big deal.

“By doing so, companies can claim 20% of the SDL (Skills Development Levy) through a grant from the relevant Seta for their training and skills development initiatives, and very importantly, get 20 points towards their BBBEE scorecard.”

Visser explained that eligible companies should be registered to pay Skills Development Levies before they can submit their WSPs and ATRs.

If you’re looking to up your Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) points, then submitting your WSP is key.

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What if I don’t submit?

Failure to meet the deadline could earn you significant penalties, and cause you to lose the benefits of your L & D investment – compromising your BBBEE score.

“No submission, no points,” Visser said.

Warning against non-compliance, Visser said companies could lose 20 skills development points, causing their BBBEE to drop by two levels.

“If your BBBEE level drops by two levels, you may find that you’re unable to participate successfully in any tender bids, especially where those specify pre-qualifying criteria such as the submission of a WSP. The opportunity cost is huge.”

Furthermore, Visser said that any grant linked to the WSP will also be suspended for the year, until the submission window opens again.

“In essence you’re losing the benefits of two years of L&D investment, not just one,” he said.

Companies who don’t meet the cut-off date will also forfeit their mandatory grant, which is 20% of their SDL spend to the South African Revenue Services (Sars). They’ll also lose their discretionary grants.

“This means losing invaluable opportunities to improve the skills of your own employees and your business competitiveness suffers as a result.”

“Any financial benefits of the training undertaken are permanently lost to you, as you cannot account for them retroactively or recoup any of the levies in the following financial year. The doors are closed in terms of the BBBEE scorecard points you could have claimed.”

However, Visser explained that submission of WSP and ATR documents should be more than just a BBEE compliance exercise.

“When done in the proper spirit and intent of the WSP and BBBEE scorecard, it’s a strategic enabler to competitive advantage for your business and your people.

“It is time to abandon the tick-box approach to skills development, and to embrace the intent of these tools to address critical skills shortages, create jobs, progress careers and deliver a competitive advantage for businesses and our economy.”

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What are these so-called documents?

A WSP identifies the skills needed in your workforce and defines your learning and development strategy for the upcoming financial year.

Visser said the WSP is a strategically important document as it defines an organisation’s business plan for employee skills development – and is integral to unlocking the Skills Development component of the BBBEE Scorecard.

“A comprehensive WSP is also key to improving business performance by addressing the skills gap that exists among historically disadvantaged groups, and thus encouraging inclusive economic growth.”

The ATR is also essential to the process of claiming points towards BBEEE verification. The documentation is a record of all the documented skills development training that has already taken place in the current financial year.

“The ATR, which is submitted with your WSP, is a record of all the documented skills development training that has already taken place in the current financial year, and which is essential for you to claim the points towards your BBBEE verification.

“In other words, the ATR measures your company’s skills development delivery measured against your previous year’s WSP.”

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Entrepreneur’s checklist

As the WSP deadline looms, companies will have to get their documentation ready for submission.

  • Current Employee List
  • Employee List for Previous Training Period
  • Total Payroll Figure
  • Comprehensive Training Completed Summary
  • Proof of Training Completed
  • Comprehensive Training Plan
  • Proof of bank details
  • Registered SDF
  • SDF Appointment Letter
  • Signed Authorisation Form
  • Hard to fill vacancies with reasons
  • Training Committee Members with ID numbers

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