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Compliance to Employment Equity:

The purpose of the Act is to achieve equity in the workplace, by:

  • promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination; and
  • implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups, to ensure their equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce.

Who needs to comply?

A designated employer means an employer who employs 50 or more employees, or has a total annual turnover as reflected in Schedule 4 of the Act, municipalities and organs of state. Employers can also volunteer to become designated employers.

Important concepts applicable  to Employment Equity:

1. Prohibition of Unfair Discrimination

No person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds including race, gender, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, and birth.

2. Affirmative Action measures

Affirmative action measures are measures intended to ensure that suitably qualified employees from designated groups have equal employment opportunity and are equitably represented in all occupational categories and levels of the workforce.

Such measures must include:

  • identification and elimination of barriers with an adverse impact on designated groups;
  • measures which promote diversity;
  • making reasonable accommodation for people from designated groups;
  • retention, development and training of designated groups (including skills development); and preferential treatment and numerical goals to ensure equitable representation. This excludes quotas.

3. Employment Equity plan:

  • have objectives for each year of the plan;
  • include affirmative action measures;
  • have numerical goals for achieving equitable representation;
  • have a timetable for each year;
  • have internal monitoring and evaluation procedures, including internal dispute resolution mechanisms; and
  • identify persons, including senior managers, to monitor and implement the plan.

4. Reporting:

  • An employer who employs fewer than 150 employees must submit its first report to the Director-General within 12 months after the commencement of the Act, and thereafter every 2 years on the first working day of October.
  • An employer who employers 150 or more employees, must submit its first report 6 months after the commencement of the Act, and thereafter every year on the first working day of October.

How to comply with the act:

The following steps needs to be taken:

  • consult with employees;
  • conduct an analysis;
  • prepare an employment equity plan;
  • report to the Director-General on progress made in the implementation of the plan;
  • assign an equity manager; and
  • elect an equity committee.