Let’s start by saying that the intention of the EE Act is primarily to give effect to equality clause in our Constitution which aims to achieve equality in the workplace by:
1. Preventing unfair discrimination and
2. Implementing affirmative action measures to address underrepresentation of previously disadvantaged groups.
It has been 20 years since the enactment of the EE Act and due to the slow pace of transformation, an amendment is necessary. Over the years, there have been multiple companies imposing self-regulated targets that have had no impact, and are far from achieving the objectives of our Constitution.
The change is welcomed, as there are too many organisations currently benefiting from State Contracts, without creating real empowerment opportunities and implementing transformation in the workplace.
The next section deals with major changes proposed in the Employment Equity Amendment Bill.
A notable change is that the definition of a ‘Designated Employer’ has been amended. The turnover thresholds will no longer apply, and only companies employing 50 or more people will need to comply with the Act, which includes annual reporting to the Department of Labour.There are some other amendments to the definitions that companies need to be aware of.
Sector Targets have also been introduced. Companies will need to re-align their EE plans to ensure that there is compliance with the relevant Sector Targets. Companies will need to seriously assess their remuneration practices as compliance with the Equal pay for work of equal value regulations, as well as the National Minimum Wage Bill, have been prioritized in these proposed amendments.
Designated employers will be required to apply for a Certificate of Compliance from the DoL, should they wish to accessState Contracts. To receive this certificate, organisations will need to ensure they:
- Comply with the relevant Sectoral Targets;
- Submit their EE Reports to theDoL within the prescribed time;
- Have not been found guilty of unfair discrimination or failed to pay the minimum wage in compliance with theMinimum Wage Act, 2017.
Compliance certificates can be requested for on the www.labour.gov.za website and an employer will be requested to fill out a form to prove compliance.
It is important to note that a certificate of compliance can be issued to both a designated and non-designated employer.
To apply for the certificate, non-designated employers will not need to submit EE reports, but they must show compliance with section 2 of the Act, as well as the minimum wage obligations as may be prescribed.
Section 2 speaks to the intent of Employment Equity in achieving equality in the workplace by promoting equal opportunity and implementing affirmative action measures.
We can all agree that these amendments aim to enforce compliance on designated entities, and those non-designated entities wanting to supply goods and services to the State.
In order to find out more information regarding the forms listed in the article, compliance or submissions forEmployment Equity, please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org