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Seta Mandatory & Discretionary grant regulations declared invalid 21st Aug. 2015

On 3 December 2012, the SETA Grant Regulations were gazetted (Government Gazette no. 35940). These come into effect on 1 April 2013. There were many major substantial changes in the new regulations and these may have serious implications for skills development in our country.

Some of the main changes were:

  1. That the mandatory grant to employers is reduced from 50% to 20%.
  2. Any unclaimed mandatory grants must be transferred by the 15 August each financial year into the discretionary fund.
  3. Discretionary grants will mainly be paid for programmes offered by public FET colleges and universities.

As a result‚ these funds could be spent on national skills initiatives that were not related to workplace training.

Labour Court has set aside certain aspects of the 2012 Seta Grant Regulations‚ declaring them invalid!

The Labour Court’s judgment on Friday 21st of August 2015 declared both regulations to be invalid‚ and it set them aside with effect from March 31 2016.

The court found that Mr Nzimande had failed to consult the National Skills Authority as required by law.

The court also ruled that the minister had acted irrationally by reducing the mandatory grant to employers as set out in the Skills Development Act. The minister had exceeded his powers by prescribing that surplus Seta funds be moved to the National Skills Fund.

The minister was ordered to pay all costs of the application, and Seta’s now have a period of about six months to prepare for the return to the previous skills-funding regime effective in March 2016.

Busa said on Monday it viewed the judgment as a significant decision that reinforced the rule of law and that reasserted the importance of workplace skills training programmes in SA.

Ethics and Protocol in the Workplace

As 21st century companies face more stringent governmental and societal expectations with regard to ethics, many are developing ethical codes of conduct for the workplace. Company leaders set the tone for ethics in any organization, but they also establish expectations for employees and workplace conduct to require all employees to participate in ethical decision making.

Moral Judgment
Cornelius von Baeyer is a European management consultant who specializes in workplace ethics. In his 1999 “What’s Workplace Ethics” article, he explains that organizational ethics sit between the law and religion. His point is that established legal principles formalize expectations while religion represents personal appreciation for virtue. Part of von Baeyer’s job is to help managers and employees in organizations understand the common ethical dilemmas they face and, through discussion, help them consistently respond to these dilemmas with ethical principles.

Ethical Code
Most medium- to large-sized companies have ethical codes of conducts to guide employees in ethical decision making. Ethical codes are grounded in an organization’s guiding values, and a code of conduct specifies behaviors that are either expected or prohibited, explains von Baeyer, who also helps businesses develop effective codes. Company conduct codes should extend beyond legal precedent to guide employees in making appropriate business decisions in lieu of assistance from management.

Ethics and workplace protocol require ongoing training, notes Business Training Media President Myron Curry in his article “Ethics in the Workplace.” Curry and his company believe that ethical codes are not enough to deter unethical behavior. He suggests that companies consistently review ethical decisions with employees and provide ongoing training for workers. While routine ethics training comes with a cost, Curry is quick to point out that the expenses that can occur without well-trained employees are often much more expensive and can include “devastating lawsuits, negative publicity, wasted time, loss of money, and low employee morale.”

Examples of Verbal Communication in the Workplace

Business professionals demonstrating effective verbal communication skills use spoken words to convey a message clearly and concisely. To get a message across, the sender needs to ensure the receiver correctly interprets the words. If not, confusion and conflict typically results. By successfully delivering a message, business professionals describe ideas, thoughts and directives that allow colleagues to work better together. Effective verbal communication begins by acknowledging what the audience needs. By planning what he wants to say, how he wants to say it and seeking feedback on how the message was received, a business professional ensures successful communication.

Verbal communication occurs in meetings when participants share their ideas. Effective meeting organizers clearly define their objective, such as whether the intent of the meeting is to make a decision, brainstorm ideas, approve a plan, communicate a change or get a status report. At the beginning of the meeting, an organizer uses verbal communication to state the priorities of the meeting, the desired outcomes and the amount of time allowed to discuss each topic. By asking for additional input from participants, she ensures the meeting remains relevant for everyone. The meeting organizer also ensures that every participant gets a chance to speak without monopolizing the agenda.

Presentations and Lectures
Using effective verbal communication, business professionals give presentations and lectures to convey their expertise on a particular topic. Whether a business professional provides instruction, describes a product to make a sale or communicates a vision or strategy, he needs to keep the message clear by preparing adequately. Using vivid language, descriptive examples and supplementary visuals, he ensures a successful presentation. By using short words and sentences, speakers tend to avoid confusion. Effective presenters allow time for the audience to ask questions and provide comments.

Workshop organizers use verbal communication to direct the activities of participants. By providing clear instructions for group, the facilitator ensures a positive development experience. For example, a leader describes the rules for participating a role-playing exercises, talks about the scenario and determines how long the activity takes. Using effective verbal communication, leaders guide participants in researching issues, solving problems, negotiating solutions and making decisions.

Conversations typically involve two people discussing a topic. Effective verbal communication occurs during conversations when the speaker acknowledges the sensitivity of the subject, time constraints and types of questions the receiver might ask. If the conversation occurs face to face, successful communicators use active listening skills such as repeating back what the other person has said. They also resist the temptation to interrupt and allow the other person to speak up as well to convey their thoughts. If the conversation occurs by telephone, the participants need to pay even more attention.