Wed, Oct 20, 2021

Stipend regulations are based on Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships. A stipend is income issued to unemployed candidates placed on internships, learnerships and apprenticeships. Keeping stipends low increases the opportunity for low wages once qualified.

Unemployed black youth, regardless of education achievement, are fundamentally reduced to NQF levels and tax rebates. Stipends have become anti poor, not based on the realistic living conditions of disadvantaged youth, supposedly the ‘beneficiaries.’

Organisations gain lucrative incentives for providing opportunities to the youth, no matter how badly they treat them. BEE points, rebates and other perks have become a convenient revenue stream for companies.

Employers who pay learners a stipend can claim back each cent paid, yet stipends are often as low as R1 500 p/mth or R30 per day.

Learnership Stipends for trust fund kids now?

Stipends are going so low, you need to be wealthy to be on one!

Learnership stipends are paid to those who were unemployed when placed on a learnership or apprenticeship. If you were already employed and then placed on a learnership you are not entitled to a stipend in addition to your salary.

Learnerships have become an easy way to employ and pay low, Learnership candidates aren’t paid market related wages.

If you apply for a learnership, try negotiate the best possible amount but don’t expect this as a right. Most organisations aren’t looking for youth who believe they have rights, they are looking for youth who can survive on very little for one year.  Hopefully you can afford to accept an opportunity to qualify even if you are poor and have no family support.

Decide on the minimum you’re willing to sign up for and then honour it – i.e. be the best you can be or don’t accept the position.


The Department of Labour has published rules for Learnerships called Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships.

Learners have a right to challenge the regulations, I’m surprised they don’t.

This determination sets Learnership regulations for:

  • minimum wages
  • working hours
  • number of leave days
  • termination rules

Who does this regulation apply to?

  1. 1. (a) This determination applies to –
    • the employment of a learner –
      • who has concluded a learnership agreement in terms of section 17 of the Act; and
      • who was not in the employment of the employer party to the learnership agreement when the agreement was concluded.

(b)     to every employer who employs a learner contemplated in sub-paragraph (a). (edited)

(2.2)  (a)      This determination forms part of the contract of employment of any learner employed in terms of section 18(2) of the Act.

(b)      Sub-paragraph (a) does not stop an employer and a learner from agreeing to a contract of employment in terms of section 18(2) of the Act, which has terms, and conditions that are more favourable to the learner. (edited)

(3) This determination comes before any collective agreement, except where learners receive an allowance or conditions of employment that are more favourable to the employee than provided for in this determination. (edited)


Minimum Payments

  1. (1) An employer must pay a learner an allowance calculated in terms of this clause.
  • Subject to subclause 3, a learner’s allowance must be calculated as a percentage of the qualified wage in accordance with column 3 of Table A.
  • No learner may be paid less than the applicable allowance specified
  • For the purposes of this clause –
    • the “qualified wage” is the wage that the employer would pay the learner on obtaining the qualification for which the learnership is registered;
    • “wage” means the amount of money payable to an employee in respect of the hours of work an employee normally works, excluding any overtime.

Stipend Amounts

  • Depicts the increases across years , note that increases are not required if the stipend paid by the employer already satisfies all minimum requirements.
  • This table reveals how stipends are used to reduce young disadvantaged adults to nothing more than a number on the NQF.
COLUMN 1 COLUMN 2 COLUMN 3 COLUMN 4
Exit level of learnership Credits already earned by learner Percentage of qualified wage to be paid as allowance Minimum  allowance per week
NQF 1 or 2 0 – 120 35% R204.47
121 – 240 69% R408.92
NQF 3 0 – 120 17% R204.47
121 – 240 40% R385.10
241 – 360 53% R630.45
NQF 4 0 – 120 13% R204.47
121 – 240 25% R408.96
241 – 360 53% R630.45
361 – 480 56% R920.09
NQF 5 to 8 0 – 120 8% R204.45
120 – 240 18% R442.99
240 – 360 27% R662.81
361 – 480 38% R933.74
481 – 600 49% R1192.70

UPDATE: Here is the 2019 table


Report stipend and contract issues


Calculating Pay

  1.  A learner’s allowance is calculated by reference to the number of hours the learner normally works.
  • For the purposes of calculating the allowance of a learner, a learner is deemed normally to work-
    • 45 hours in a week, unless the learner ordinarily works a lesser number of hours in a week;
    • nine hours in a day, or seven and a half hours in the case of a learner who works for more than five days a week, or the number of hours that a learner works in a day in terms of an agreement concluded in accordance with clause 11, unless the learner normally works a lesser number of hours in a day.
  • A learner’s monthly remuneration or allowance is four and one-third times the learner’s weekly remuneration or allowance, respectively.
  • If a learner’s remuneration or allowance fluctuates significantly from period to period, any payment to that learner in terms of this Act must be calculated by reference to the learner’s remuneration or allowance during-
    • the preceding 13 weeks; or
    • if the learner has been in employment for a shorter period, that period.

Payment

  1.  An employer must pay to a learner any remuneration that is paid in money-
    • in South African currency;
    • daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly; and
    • in cash, by cheque or by direct deposit into an account designated by the learner.
  • Any remuneration paid in cash or by cheque must be given to each learner-
    • at the workplace or at a place agreed to by the learner;
    • during the learner’s working hours or within 15 minutes of the commencement or conclusion of those hours; and
    • in a sealed envelope which becomes the property of the learner.
  • An employer must pay remuneration not later than seven days after-
    • the completion of the period for which the remuneration is payable; or
    • the termination of the learnership.
  • Subclause (3)(b) does not apply to any pension or provident fund payment to a learner that is made in terms of the rules of the fund.

Pay and Record Keeping

  1. An employer must give a learner the following information in writing on each day the learner is paid: <subclause (1)>
    • the employer’s name and address;
    • the learner’s name and learnership;
    • the period for which the payment is made;
    • the learner’s remuneration in money;
    • the amount and purpose of any deduction made from the remuneration;
    • the actual amount paid to the learner; and
    • if relevant to the calculation of that learner’s remuneration-
      • the learner’s rate of remuneration and overtime rate;
      • the number of ordinary and overtime hours worked by the learner during the period for which the payment is made;
      • the number of hours worked by the learner on a Sunday or public holiday during that period; and
      • if an agreement to average working time has been concluded in terms of clause 12, the total number of ordinary and overtime hours worked by the learner in the period of averaging.
  • The written information required in terms of subclause (1) must be given to each learner-
    • at the workplace or at a place agreed to by the learner; and
    • during the learner’s ordinary working hours or within 15 minutes of the commencement or conclusion of those hours.

DEDUCTIONS AND OTHER ACTS CONCERNING REMUNERATION

We removed this section as it’s so important and needs to stand alone.  Please read why deductions are illegal unless you gave permission for them.

Click here to read what is allowed.


  Working hours, mealtimes and overtime

Do you know that the legislation says learners must be issued with a Contract of Employment and Certificate of Service?

Rules for the termination of learnership agreements

South African salaries and Learnership stipends


 Clauses 14 – 16 Read what the legislation says about  rest, Sunday work and night shifts


Clause 24: Read about MATERNITY LEAVE


 Tips about learnerships and stipends:

  • Keep Climbing receives requests for advice from people on learnerships concerned about their experience and stipends. A funded learnership is one that is implemented specifically for the unemployed, also known as the 18.2 category at the SETAs.
  • Stipends should be paid on time every month or week, the amount agreed upon during the interview should be honoured.
  • If you ‘feel’ or ‘believe’ that you are being paid too little – ask yourself ‘how much is this training worth? and ‘could I pay for the training on my own?’
  • Learnerships provide access to professionals who can coach you through your development phase and connect you with future career opportunity. This in itself is worth a lot of money. Use a learnership, apprenticeship or internship as a networking opportunity to set yourself up.
  • Create your choices for yourself and make the most of every opportunity – no matter how big or small.

If you’re on a learnership and have started to question the stipend, please consider the following:

  1. If you agreed to an amount at the beginning of the contract and have become unhappy – you can speak to HR, the union, the CCMA etc. but given that you agreed to the contract, there’s little that can be done. Resign in a responsible manner, clearly state why you have to leave and why the stipend amount is a disadvantage to you.
  2. If you feel you are being treated unfairly by the employer, lodge a dispute at the Department of Labour or the CCMA. You are considered to be an employee, protected by our labour legislation.
    • Remember that learnerships are hard work and that anyone studying has to make sacrifices in order to achieve their goals of success.
    • Learnerships were established for positive economic and social goals, and to benefit people who had limited access to education and employment. It’s an opportunity for companies to do good, get tax benefits and grow their organisations so that they can employ some of the learners they recruited for a learnership.
    • If a company does not intend to hire learners at the end of the learnership, they must provide vocational guidance and prepare you to be a job seeker or entrepreneur.

Ultimately, you are responsible for making your life a success. Go for it!!!

More from Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships

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66 Comments

dianah Mar 4, 2015 at 11:18 am

i wish to hv a learnership so tht i cn further my studies

    1bigLEO Mar 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Dianah! That’s a good reason to look for a learnership. Click the ‘Find a Learnership’ link for our advice and links to learnership sites. Good luck, always put your best foot forward and be the best you can be!

Thembela Apr 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Iam doing Ancillary health care at Varsity college but I’m fired now at school because I don’t have money to pay my school fees.I need a schoolarship.

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Ratha Nayager Jul 28, 2016 at 11:33 am

If the learnership runs for 36 months, (18 months at a college and 18 months practical training at a workplace) is the stipend paid for the full 36 months? In other words is it payable during the college vacation period as well?

    Leonie Hall Jul 28, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Hi Ratha! Is this for one qualification or two? How many credits? Because 3 years to complete one qualification sounds pretty darn unreasonable. Most learnerships are completed within 18 months. An 18-month work experience programme sounds like learner exploitation. Stipends are like salaries and should be paid each month that a learner is registered – regardless of vacations. Failure to do so is in contravention of the regulations and most unfair to the learners – in fact, it’s an indictment on the ethics and principles of the training provider. Please let me know who is delivering this programme as I would like to query it with the relevant statuary body. Although the provider may have the best of intentions – this is not a sustainable model for one qualification. If you respond saying there are indeed two qualifications then I’d say – ‘fantastically innovative!’ – but stipends must be paid in full, each month or the provider can be taken to the CCMA.

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THEMBINKOSI MACHEQUE Sep 30, 2016 at 11:38 am

im doing experiential learning at mpumalanga department of health: ROB FERREIRA HOSPITAL buh i dont receive any stipend, how can i apply for it?

viwe gxumisa Oct 4, 2016 at 8:24 pm

What is a maximum duration period of a learnership in terms of years, does it allowed by labour regulation act to exceed 24? Can you be offered a learnership towards artisan in electrical qualification? If so what about danger compensation?
According to labour laws please explain me difference between learnership and apprentice interns of duration period . does labour laws allows a learnership to run up to 3years?

siyanda Oct 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm

hy I’m siyanda . I am doing inservise training in HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT at Nkandla SAPS. But my problem is that I don’t get nothing . I have no money to pay a room ,have no money to pay a Transport, have no money even to buy food .. I’m thinking of to quet now. just becouse I don’t have nothing to eat please help me good people.

    Leonie Hall Oct 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Sorry to hear about your struggles Siyanda. Please remember that without in-service you probably won’t be able to qualify. I suggest you hang in there until you’ve completed what you need to do to get the qualification or you’ll have to start all over again wth someone else. Either get a part-time job on the side or speak to your employer about a stipend. But remember that a stipend isn’t a salary and may still not cover all your expenses. If I were you I’d continue the in-service so that I could graduate, find a part-time job and speak to the employer. Be tough and focus on your goals, I know it’s difficult but you’ve made it this far, push on.

Nthabiseng Oct 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Your comment goes here.
Hi, I’m doing a Leadership NQF L2 for New Venture Creation at Climamark. I am surprised because every time they have to pay us they come up with stories that SETA did not pay them. They told us that we get stipend on the 15 the or 30th of every month so I’m surprised this month we did not get any stipend and today they told us that we will get it next month and they will loan us 300 and that they will deduct it from the stipend. We did not get played for 2 months now and we travel to school and some even pay accommodation,please help. And where we attend there is no water,no tables to write,we don’t have stationery.

    Leonie Hall Nov 1, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Wow that sounds really terrible!!!
    Your group must elect a Learner Representative – you can have more than one. A Rep must contact the Services SETA on behalf of the group and inform them of your struggles. This is your learner right, once a formal complaint is lodged the SETA must investigate and protect you. In addition, you are also considered employees, so the Rep must also contact the CCMA and lodge a dispute there. These actions shouldn’t result in hostile action and if the provider has a real problem with the SETA – your organised action can assist them with their SETA challenges. Please let me know what happens! Leo

moses Dec 7, 2016 at 4:28 am

hi,I’m in a road and transport management learneship where we had no induction no mentors and our log books are not signed the duties we do are not related to the learnership when ever we try to talk about this issues we are told to go and work as they are paying us to work the agent who recruited us also admits that they have no clue what a learnership is but refuse to come and talk to them..where can we seek help

    Leonie Hall Dec 28, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Sorry to hear Moses!
    I suggest taking an approach that is committed to being positive. As a group, write a statement that thanks your employer for the opportunity provided and say how committed you all are to the programme’s success.
    In the next paragraph, introduce your concerns by emphasising that you wish to raise these issues in order to prevent potential failure.
    End with a request that your emloyer / manager meets with the group at a time convenient for a discussion about these matters. When this meeting happens – take notes (minutes) and get them signed by everyone present.

    You don’t mention a training provider, yet a learnership requires an employer, training provider and learner. If the discussion with the employer is unsuccessful, you need to inform the training provider. If you do and nothing happens, or if the employer is the training provider, then you should request that TETA (Transport seta) be called in to explain learnership roles and responsibilities so that you can be correctly assessed. Don’t blame anyone for anything – focus on pulling everyone together for the benefit of the learnership and not to punish or accuse.

    Let me know how it goes!
    Leo

    Moses Mar 16, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    We tried as you suggested few days later in February we were told not to ever come to the work place and only attend classes now lately we receive letters stating that we were absent for work we have to meet with the HR department so they can take further action and we are still in possession of those SMS thy sent us and they even told us verbally on our last day at work

    Moses by Mar 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    We tried as you suggested few days later in February we were told not to ever come to the work place and only attend classes now lately we receive letters stating that we were absent for work we have to meet with the HR department so they can take further action and we are still in possession of those SMS thy sent us and they even told us verbally on our last day at work

Sibonelo Feb 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Hi guys I just pleading for assistance to anyone who can help me please I’m doing inservice training at Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital at Nquthu but I am not getting paid I started working on August 2016 until today,actually we all know cost of living is too high guys transport,accommodation and food…to be honest it’s really hard to work without getting paid.help me guys what should I do to get stipend plz.

    Sibonelo Feb 2, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    0719841500 this is my number guys,help me to get stipend guys please.

    Leonie Hall Feb 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Hi Sibonelo, please explain you problem and lets see how we can advise you. Leonie

    Leonie Hall Feb 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Sibonelo
    What kind of a programme are you on – is it an internship, learnership, bursary programme etc? Stipends are only for specific interventions so unfortunately not everyone receives one. It must be a condition of the programme you are on.

karabo Mar 31, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Hi
We are in a learnership of professional driving our problem is we have about two months not getting stipends and they stopped us coming, we don’t have any information on whats going on
As the learners we have right for education as the learnership are for youth that have to access to further their education, so what must we do?
Just leave them or what?

zamokuhle sphelele phungula May 11, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Hy Lonnie and thanks for being helpful my name is zamokuhle I was in the learnership with serviceseta since 2015 November ended last year 2016 November in partnership with department of social development and Dambuza youth centre in pietermaritzbug so there are stipend that are due to some of the students and most of the students got it all their money and some of us didn’t get it all we were supposed to get it all but it seems like serviceseta and DSD their are pointing one another are we gona be able to get our money if I may ask 4 months we haven’t been paid which makes like R6000 rand

lindiwe Jun 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm

hellow my name is lindiwe early this year(2017) i signed a contract with SETA @kuyasa development organisation in ladysmith we signed register every month but we never get paid they keep on promising us empty promises what worries me a most is that 25% of other intern got their monies except us when we call a guy from finance he keep on telling us that we will receive payment after 24hours but it been months now the is nothing in our bank

pLease help us we are struggling

    Leonie Hall Jun 20, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Lindiwe
    It’s not clear if you were attending classes or if all you did was go in and sign a register. You can’t be paid a stipend to sit at home but if you’ve been training or doing work place experience then you’re entitled to it. If so, go to the CCMA, SETA and DHET. Please read our other articles on this matter for more information about what to do and if you’re still not clear let us know.
    All the best, Leo

edd Aug 18, 2017 at 8:37 am

Hi…when you’re in a learnership aren’t you supposed to be registered with labour and SARS? I’d like to know because I’m on a learnership and I don’t have a payslip to show what money they are deducting from my stipend. we are being told that they are paying for our insurance.

    Leonie Hall Aug 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    You are entitled to a payslip ok!!! Please approach the union, DHET, DoL and the relevant SETA if they persist in this behaviour.

Nomfundo Baloyi Jan 25, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Good Day

My name is Nomfundo Baloyi, I entered an internship with a company from 01.11.2016 – 31.2017 as per contract, Before the internship contract could end in 01.10.2017 i was promoted to a sales and marketing assistant position with a probation of 3 months still earning the same stipend, 3 months has passed and am still earning the same stipend. On the 25.01.2017 they gave us a raise like any company normally does each year which is 12.7% increase.
Please kindly advise as what i have to do professionally, regarding this promotion issue and the increase, isn’t that when one finishes the internship and the company still keep me am suppose to move from stipend to a salary.

    Leonie Hall Jan 29, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Hi Nomfundo
    We are busy compiling information about this issue so that we can ensure youth are treated fairly and properly protected. Please check your emails. I’ll be mailing you!
    Leo

Phillip Feb 28, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Greetings Leonie

After reading the comments above I am starting to get really nervous because their situation is similiar to mine! I am also in a learnership doing a NQF level 4 certificate in SCM. The qualification is really important to me because it is in line with the career direction Im taking.Late last year around October we wrote our final assessment and then November we were called in to do all the out standing paper work so to close for December holidays.we were told that we re-open on the 8 of January 2018 to start with our practicals.We haven’t received our stipends from November until now.In January we were informed that there were problems and instructed to remain at home until further.Its end of February now and we still not clear about whats going on and the contract we have with our employer is ending in June. There are many explanation we are given and don,t know which is true.I have a good relationship with the employer and I fear that going to the CCMA or DOL may seem aggressive.I wish to solve this in an amicable manner if possible.Please guide me and my fellow learners

Hope to hear from you soon
most kind regards
Phillip

    Leonie Hall Mar 6, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Hi Phillip
    Please complete the complaint form.

Alina Apr 24, 2018 at 5:49 pm

Good day please help I’m on a learnership with rand water and department of water and sanitation so every month now we have to fight to get our stipend sorted out. Please help

Johanna Masuku Jul 24, 2018 at 6:50 am

Hi My name is Johanna … I am on a learnership program at Maccauvlei Learning Academy…
I think we have been treated unfairly becaus we were supposed to get paid our R3500 as we agreed on the contract but we instead got R875 for the whole month of July while other Learners are being paid full stipend.
When we ask they tell us we’ve been punished for the absenteeism of other learners.
Where can one report the matter because this is an unfair labour practice. Hence we did get informed that we should not expect the full stipends.

caroline Sep 18, 2018 at 10:34 am

Hi my name its caroline Sekhele ,Im am intern at City power under agent, I started working here as an main reception since 18 july even now I haven’t got payed our agent told us the company that supposed to pay us its graysonreed, we tried several times to get hold of them but different stories others learners don’t even have FNB card to get paid, so we scared to stay at home because they will replace us.

    Leonie Hall Sep 18, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Caroline! That’s not good to hear. Have you been to the CCMA?

patricia Dec 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm

hi I am patricia , I think we have been treated unfairly we did not get our December stippend and they are expecting us to come to work on January where are we going to get money for transport.

menda Aug 12, 2019 at 11:48 am

Hi I did my learnership and completed the theory part but resigned a month before my learnership was over they have been paying us half of our salary and we were supposed to receive a combined amount of the other half’s at the end of the learnership will I receive my half if resigned.

mologadi Oct 21, 2019 at 11:22 am

hi am mologadi, isit unlawful to get nsfas amount and learneship stipend?

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