IS YOUR EMPLOYMENT EQUITY STRATEGY NON-COMPLIANT?
The purpose of this 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, in order to ensure their equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce.
All employers who employ 50 or more staff members or whose annual turnover is more than that set down in Schedule 4 of the Act must submit a report.
What is included in the EE plan?
- objectives for every year;
- affirmative action measures that will be implemented;
- where black people, women and people with disabilities are not represented:
- numerical goals to reach this;
- timetables and strategies;
- timetables for annual objectives - the duration of the plan (not shorter than a year or longer than five years);
- procedures that will be used to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the plan;
- ways to solve disputes about the plan; and
- people responsible for implementing the plan.
The Department of Labor recommends this is achieved in three phases: preparation (assign responsibility, set up a consultative forum, analysis of employment practices and environment, draw up workforce profile); implementation (proactive steps to improve the company’s diversity profile); and monitoring.
A few tips to assist your company in achieving its strategy:
- Equal opportunity must be a company lived value;
- It extends beyond the numerical goals;
- Policies and procedures are important, including but not limited to recruitment, training;
- Formal training must be given to the Employment Equity committee members;
- The Employment Equity committee must fully engage with the process.
Employers are warned that, while submitting their EE Report in time is crucial, this is not enough to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the legislation. Employers are also legally bound to ensure that the report's contents are true and correct and that they can show that they have made sufficient progress with affirmative action in the staffing of their organizations as required by the EEA.
The Department of Labour (DOL) takes non-compliance with the provisions of the action seriously and is not hesitating to bring penalties against defaulters. These penalties can be anywhere between R1.5 million and up to 10% of an employer’s annual turnover, depending on the nature and frequency of the non-compliance”.