NML

Sponsorship of Professional Qualifications/Training Course Policy

Purpose

This policy sets out a guide to provide a fair and consistent approach to supporting employees through their studies towards relevant professional qualifications. We are committed to the development of our employees and we will, subject to operational constraints and requirements, endeavour to support individuals in attaining professional qualifications where there is a significant and measurable business benefit. The need for an individual to attain a particular professional qualification should be derived from a business need as agreed with their Manager or a Director.

Please refer to the Training and Certifications document for information on some of the training courses and certifications NML will assist with.

Application

This policy applies to all New Media Labs Services (Pty) Ltd, hereinafter referred to as "the Company" employees.

Level of Support

The level of support (time off, funding, etc.) will vary from person to person depending on the following:

  • Prior performance of the individual and their demonstrated potential ability to complete the qualification (consideration should be given to prior academic achievements, etc.)
  • Duration and timings of the course
  • Relevance of the qualification to the current and future role of the individual
  • The motivation for the obtainment of the particular qualification (business need versus the employee's request and personal qualification)
  • The level of the qualification M.B.A., Degree, Diploma or Certificate, etc.
  • Employment terms e.g. fixed-term, permanent
  • Impact on the individual's ability to fulfil their duties

Management Approval

The procedure for approving sponsorship for professional qualifications is as follows:

  • Initial discussion and agreement between the individual and the manager that the qualification is relevant to the current/future role and that there is a significant business benefit to be derived from sponsoring the employee.
  • The employee has to complete the Further Education Sponsorship Application form.
  • The applicant's manager and a Company Director will need to approve the Application.
  • At this final stage we will consider the request for consistency across the business.

Bonding Arrangements

Anyone who receives Company funding to follow professional qualifications as outlined in this guide will be asked to sign a bonding agreement. This ensures that if the person leaves the Company within a defined period of time they will pay all or some of their course fees back, as detailed below.

CostBonding DurationRepayment Proportions
Up to R3000Course duration + 6 monthsRepayment in full
R3001 – R6000Course duration + 9 monthsRepayment in full
R6001 – R12 000Course duration + 12 monthsRepayment in full
Over R12 000Course duration + 12 monthsRepayment in full during first 6 months
Repayment of 75% between 6-9 months
Repayment of 50% between 9-12 months
Repayment of 25% between 12-18 months
After 18 months, post course duration, the bond will be considered settled

Where the attainment of a certificated qualification is necessitated by the Company, consideration may be given to waiving the application of the bonding agreement and will be discussed and agreed on a case-by-case basis.

If you terminate your employment with the Company or you are dismissed from the Company during the course all monies paid to the provider shall become immediately due and repayable by the employee to the Company. The Company reserves the right to deduct all or any portion of the outstanding repayment from your final salary.

Funding may not be repayable in the following circumstances:

Upon the Company being left no commercial alternative but to restructure for reason related to its operational requirements in which you are offered terms of employment that may be less advantageous than the terms under which you were employed by the Company immediately prior to the restructuring.

Upon you being dismissed on the basis of operational requirements as per Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995.

Time off to attend the course

Where the course is run during normal working hours, individuals may (depending on the agreement reached) be able to attend the course without loss of pay for up to a maximum of 2 weeks per annum, including any workshops, residential and sequential, which is a requirement of the course.

It is common practice across the finance industry for individuals studying financial qualifications to do so in their own time. This is normal practice and any variation from this approach will be by exception.

Managers will need to be as consistent as possible in their approach. In all instances the operational requirements of the business will be given priority over attendance of courses. Attendance should be discussed and agreed with the individual's manager well in advance of the date(s).

Study Leave and Examinations

The Company will grant two days study leave per subject (one for preparation and one for examination) per annum with a maximum of no more than 10 days study leave in total per annum.

Any additional leave required for study purposes will have to be taken as unpaid leave. Annual leave may be applied for if the employee has annual leave available.

Requests for study leave must be in writing. Supporting documentation must accompany the application (e.g. official exam time table).

Study Leave, for re-sits, should be discussed with your Line Manager but will have to be taken as unpaid leave or as part of an employee's annual leave entitlement. Any request for study leave must be approved by your Manager or a Company Director.

Professional Institute Annual Fees

Annual Fees in respect of membership to a professional institute that relates to or is required by the Company business may be covered.

Withdrawal of Support

Support may be withdrawn at the Manager's discretion if at any time the employee:

  • withdraws from the course without good reason
  • does not attend the external tuition without good reason
  • does not attend an examination for which they have studied without good reason
  • does not pass the course
  • has not achieved a satisfactory standard of work in their job
  • receives or has a disciplinary penalty or written warning for above

In these circumstances the Company reserves the right to recover all monies paid in relation to the course from the employee. It is, therefore, of critical importance that decisions to undertake such studies is made in an informed manner, and the employee's capacity and ability to convert the study inputs successfully are thoroughly considered at the point when application for support is made.