Is Business Heroic?
Companies are rewarded for providing learnerships. They receive generous BEE points and tax rebates, often raking back millions.
What is the amount of the allowance for companies?
Companies can claim a total of R60 000 per completed learnership, and R100 000 for each disabled candidate. Companies ALSO claim back all payments made to learners. This means firms have nothing to lose but everything to gain if they pay learners a stipend that helps alleviate poverty conditions.
So why don’t they? Do firms secure their wealth by creating a poor working class who earn too little to change and improve their economic status?
Youth who can’t afford traditional qualifications can choose occupational qualifications such as learnerships. Do we punish them by exploiting their limited choices?
On a learnership, you can only qualify if your portfolio is signed off by an employer and if you have completed the workplace experience requirements.
This means youth must provide their labour at whatever price the company is willing to pay if they wish to achieve a qualification.
Question: Would it be better if funded learnerships for the unemployed were implemented by TVET Colleges and if only learnerships for the employed were implemented by firms? This would remove the problem of youth being exploited in a labour market that offers them very little protections.
Employers believe that since they are providing the study and work opportunity – learners should not expect more. Is this fair given that the business isn’t sacrificing much and in fact, gains plenty by providing the opportunity? If learners can’t cope on R1500, does it mean they are too poor to participate?
Legislation provides minimum stipend benchmarks, but few organisations have policies against exploiting low wages and instead, opt to only pay minimums.
Complaints about learnership stipend issues were posted on Keep Climbing. Names have been removed to protect the identity of learners, some of whom are still in the situation.
*Disclaimer: Comments have not been investigated and while some efforts have been made to assist, not everyone received the support required. Comments must be substantiated as fact, but should not be dismissed without investigation by the relevant authorities.
The names of organisations remain in the comments. If the relevant SETA contacts me with evidence to dispute the comments, then I will add the evidence they provide to this post.
Learners posting comments should understand that issues of non-payment should be taken to the DHET, the Department of Labour, the relevant Union, the relevant SETA and finally the CCMA.
Lodge complaints at each of the departments listed, they are all inefficient and you cannot be sure who will actually step up for you. The CCMA is listed last as it’s the least effective in these matters. When you go to them, you must say you’re an employee and that your SALARY hasn’t been paid, they don’t understand learnerships and stipends.