Youth employment is a critical issue for South Africa. The Employment Tax Incentive was launched in January 2014 to reduce the cost to employers of hiring young people in order to help with this issue.
This ETI incentive is due to come to an end on the 28 February 2019 but will be reviewed by National Treasury during 2018. If the benefits exceed the tax revenue foregone, the sunset clause in the ETI will again be extended.
In addition, the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator public-private partnerships prepare young people for work through training and matching programmes.
To provide additional pathways for young people into the world of work, the state President recently formally launched the Youth Employment Service, known as YES. The YES initiative was initiated as a collaborated between government, business, labour and civil society. Companies such as Unilever, Sasol, Investec, ABSA and Netcare have come forward to provide work experience opportunities to the first 100 YES participants. The YES initiative aims to see more than one million young South Africans being offered paid work experience over the next three years.
How does YES work?
The programme has three channels through which employment opportunities can occur:
- Corporate work experiences – Business that participate in the programme create one year paid positions for youths aged between 18 and 35, in addition to their current headcount.
- SMME host placements – Businesses that do not have the capacity to place more people in their organisations, have the option of sponsoring the salary for a one-year placement in small and medium enterprise (in year one for 7 to 10 months); and
- SMME development – Young people are empowered to start and grow their own businesses, with support from YES in the form of training, seed funding and value – chain integration.
There have been meetings early in 2017 to involve computerised payroll systems in the initiative and this resulted in the establishment of a working committee, this committee has met several times with the YES initiative team during the latter part of 2017 with a view to relating the data required by the YES team to the data available in payroll Systems.
The following documents have recently been issued for public comment:
- Draft Requirements for B-BBEE verification for the YES initiative.
- Draft Terms and Conditions: Youth Employment B-BBEE Recognition.
- Draft Amendment Bill to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Amendment Act that, amongst other key amendments, introduces the youth Employment Service initiative B-BBEE Recognition.