Should companies revisit their study leave policies? – Dylan Von Meyer
The South African government has been focussed on and driving skills development since the new dispensation came into being.
Various legislation has been enacted to this effect.
The Skills Development Act NO. 97 OF 1998 is considered to be the government’s main driving force as far as skill development is concerned.
The purpose of the Act:
“To provide an institutional framework to devise and implement national, sector and workplace strategies to develop and improve the skills of the South African workforce; to integrate those strategies within the National Qualifications Framework contemplated in the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995; to provide for learnerships that lead to recognised occupational qualifications; to provide for the financing of skills development by means of a levy-grant scheme and a National Skills Fund; to provide for and regulate employment services; and to provide for matters connected therewith”
Recognising the dire need to improve skills development, in 1998, the South African Parliament ratified the Skills Development Act which defined a new Sector Training and Education Authority (SETA) system. In essence, the plan was to develop a series of sector skills plans within a clearly defined framework of the National Skills Development Strategy.
One of the primary objectives of the SETAs was to collect skills levies from employers within each sector, in terms of the Skills Development Levies Act and make the money available within the sector for education and training. This was to go to employers and training bodies, and to learners in the form of discretionary grants and bursaries.
With all this in mind I find it’s rather bizarre that the government places no obligation on employers to provide employees with study leave. None of the enacted labour law currently makes any provision for study leave whatsoever. The Labour legislation is silent on the matter of study leave, so as far as the law is concerned study leave does not exist. This is a matter that has to get dealt with between employer and employees. The employer has the final say, either the employee takes the study leave as annual leave or unpaid.
Perhaps the matter of study leave must be re visited as far as legislation is concerned??