By Silke Rathbone, Principal Partner, LabourExcel


As we’ve just celebrated Youth Day, 16th of June, a day of commemoration to highlight the importance of equality and youth appreciation, I think about the many youth working full time. Some have stepped into jobs where they must learn as they go, and others bring with them their tertiary education, but both with very little or no experience.

As it goes with many companies, especially under the trying times we live in and the year of 2020 that still lingers on the fringes, the ‘last in  – last out’ philosophy applies. However, many are also adopting the ‘youngest out first’ methodology, primarily because of their lack of skills and/or experience. Statista shows that the average % of unemployed youth over the last 4 years in South Africa is around 54%, and with 63.4% of the total unemployed population being young people, these stats don’t seem to be about to change any time soon.


Focusing on the youth – using the resources you have

Many employers are avoiding employing youth for the reason that they may not be able to upskill them quick enough. But, what many employers do not know is that SETA will pay for 75 % of the employee’s salary while they obtain training.  How so, you ask? 

Before considering retrenchment, employers who contribute to SETA via their SDL Levies should sign up for the Training Layoff Scheme.

The way that it works is like this:

  • The employment relationship is essentially suspended whilst the employee goes on a skills training programme;
  • It is important to note that this scheme is voluntary, and both the employer and the employee must agree to it;
  • The employee does not receive a salary during this training period but rather a training allowance amounting to 75% of their salary;
  • The employer continues to pay the employee’s basic social security contributions, such as UIF, death/disability cover and pension/provident funds;
  • If the employer can, they are encouraged to top-up the remaining 25% of the salary;
  • The training programme generally lasts up to six months and is arranged by the relevant SETA department;
  • In order for the employer to qualify for the Training Layoff Scheme, they must prove that the business is in financial distress, i.e. show by way of their financials that there has been at least a 10% decrease in turnover.

A win-win situation for both employer and employee

Both the employer and the employee/s benefit from the Training Layoff Scheme. The employer saves financially and gains a more skilled employee, whilst the employee keeps their job and gains new skills, setting them up for a bright future.

It is essential to know that the process between employers, CCMA and SETA is not a quick one.  It is timeously receiving the 75% where many employers and employees alike end up giving up. Another more significant point to note, is that if business owners are passionate about helping the youth, they will consider this way instead of retrenchment.


Where to apply

Employees who qualify can apply for the Training Layoff Scheme through the CCMA at 021 469 0111 or by e-mail at: or

Should you have any questions about the Training Layoff Scheme, retrenchment or any other Labour Law or HR-related query, you can also reach out to Silke Rathbone of Labour Excel.

LabourExcel specialises in offering a variety of Labour Law and HR Solutions.  Silke Rathbone, one of the Principal Partners, has crafted and honed her skillset and assists corporates and individuals along the labour journey to ensure they understand what is required of them at all levels.

The services Silke offers are:

  • Human and Industrial Relations Related Services
  • Retrenchments – assisting with everything relating to the restructuring of a business
  • Unfair dismissals cases
  • Unfair discrimination cases
  • Drafting of employment contracts
  • Transferring of a business as a going concern
  • Labour Law Statutory Compliance – audit
  • Monthly retainer packages for IR advice
  • Outsourced HR services


Get in touch with Silke


Cell:  +27 72 018 5827

Work: +27 086 1000801



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