The aim of the Employment Equity Act is to facilitate workplace transformation by incorporating two fundamental elements: a) the elimination of unfair discrimination and b) the implementation of affirmative action and measures to enable equitable representation of employees from diverse racial, disability and gender groups in the workplace.
The Employment Equity Act has been in effect since 1998 and is applicable to all designated employers (employers who employ more than 50 people or have an annual turnover equal to or in excess of a specific industry or sector threshold). These designated employers must develop and implement an employment equity plan effective for one to five years to address inequalities in employment, eliminate unfair discrimination and uphold the right to equality.
The Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) is a statutory body established to advise the Minister of Labour on specific matters concerning the Employment Equity Act (EEA), including policy recommendations and matters relating to the implementation thereof to achieve the objectives of the EEA.
The CEE is required to submit an annual report to the Minister of Labour to evaluate and monitor progress towards achieving the objectives of the EEA and the targets set in the employer’s own Employment Equity Plan.
Last month the CEE released its 18th Annual Report and the so-called Public Register to the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant. Indications are that some progress has been made with transformation in the workplace:
The proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act are envisaged to accelerate transformation in the workplace through enhanced inspection and enforcement. Below is a brief synopsis of the proposed amendments:
Of significance is whether these envisaged amendments to the EEA meet the requirements set in the Constitution of South Africa. The Constitutional Court has already ruled that the use of quotas is prohibited by the EEA.
It is important to note that the proposed amendments to the EEA have already been approved by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and will soon be released for public comment. All indications are that the submission of Certificates of Employment Equity compliance will become compulsory and peremptory for all government tenders by October 2018.
SERR Synergy assists businesses with the development and implementation of Employment Equity Plans and submission of the required reports. We guide businesses through the process to ensure that equity in your organisation meets the requirements of the Employment Equity Act and supports the growth and success of your business.
About the author: Gideon Gerber is one of the founding directors of SERR Synergy and an admitted High Court attorney with more than 30 years’ experience in Business Structuring & Compliance, Training, Skills Development and Business Compliance in South Africa, the UK and Namibia. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Law from the University of Pretoria with a research dissertation on B-BBEE Fronting. Gideon is a regular speaker at various B-BBEE seminars and writes articles for the Business Day and Landbouweekblad that concerns B-BBEE Matters.
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