How To Resolve Learnership Disputes Effectively. Numerous Learners refer to poor treatment by training providers and/or employers. It has become clear that many Learners feel disempowered, abused and exploited.
Learnership Contracts and Agreements
A Learner is required to sign an employment contract for the duration of a Learnership. A Learner is thus considered an employee and is protected by the same legislation that protects permanent employees. Although Learnerships are registered with SETAs, their authority is undermined by their absence in this tri-agreement.
Learners sign agreements with training providers who must be accredited by the QCTO and a SETA. SETA monitoring is typically limited to an accreditation site visit and the occasional follow-up at external verification (moderation).
Dealing with Learnership Disputes
The following information is sourced from the Department of Labour website, click on various links provided and you’ll be directed here.
Learners, employers or training providers can declare a dispute about the learnership with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Reasons for Disputes On Learnerships
Legislation in Section 19, of the Skills Development Act says that:
Disputes can be about –
- learnership agreements;
- employment contracts between learners and employers;
- rules in the sectoral determination for learnerships; or
- ending learnership agreements or employment contracts.
Chapter 4 : Learnership Disputes: Section 19
Learners may refer the problem to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration established by section 112 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995). If Learners do this, they must also inform their employer of the problem and the action they will be taking. However, if you are uncomfortable and afraid of this, go to the CCMA anyway and they will inform your employer officially.
The CCMA will try to resolve the issue in a friendly manner and will patiently listen to both sides. Our legislation places equal rights ad responsibilities on learners (employees) and employers to do the right thing.
Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships
This sectoral determination establishes conditions of employment and rates of allowances for learners in South Africa. It stipulates that employers give learner workers details of their employment in writing.
Information Learners are Entitled To
According to the legislation, the following details must be given to Learners in writing, at the beginning of the program:
Employer’s and Learner’s Details
- Employer’s full name
- Employer’s address
- Learner’s name and
- The Learnership
- Place/s of work
- Date of employment
- Working hours and days of work
- The hours for study training sessions
- The date when a learner’s employment will end.
- Pay or the rate and method of calculating pay
- Rate for overtime
- Any other cash payments
- Any payments in kind and their value
- Frequency of payment
- Any deductions
- Any leave to which the learner is entitled
- Period of notice required, or
- Period of contract
Learnership Disputes: The Employment contract must be –
- in writing and be signed by the employer and the learner;
- concluded when the learner commences employment;
- supplied with a copy of the contract of employment;
- updated if any of the details change;
- kept by the employer for a period of three years after the termination of the learnership