AVOID EMPLOYMENT EQUITY SANCTIONS
The Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 together with the Employment Equity Amendment Act 47 of 2013 seeks to necessitate a robust constitutional objective: Every workplace should be broadly representative of the people of South Africa. The Act aims to achieve this by implementing affirmative action measures, promoting equal opportunity, ensuring fair treatment and eliminating unfair discrimination. The legislation contains provisions of which designated employers must comply with in order to avoid heavy fines and sanctions.
Are you a designated employer?
A designated employer, according to the Act, is an employer who employs more than 50 employees, or an employer who employs less than 50 employees but has a total annual turnover that is equal to or above the applicable annual turnover of a small business in terms of schedule 4 of the Act.
How do I comply?
Legislative provisions require that a designated employer must consult with their employees and respective trade unions in order to identify employment barriers and the degree of underrepresentation in respect of policies, practices, procedures and work force. The designated employer must then conduct an analysis which precedes the preparation of an employment equity plan. The initial development of an equity plan must be submitted in a report to the Director General of the Department of Labour on the 1st of October, and subsequent reports must be submitted once a year by the 1st of October. The Act requires that a designated employer must assign a manager to monitor and implement the plan.
In the event of non-compliance or deviation the concerned managers will be held accountable and action can be taken against him or her for non-compliance. Additionally, the designated employer is not relieved of their obligations in terms of the Act.
If a labour inspector finds that there has been failure to comply with the legislative provisions, he/she may issue a compliance order, which subsequently must be displayed in an area accessible for all employees to read (embarrassing!!).
Non-compliance with a compliance order will result in the order being made an order of labour court.
The following table sets out the amended fines will be imposed for non-compliance with the Act.
In order to get off the starting blocks for EEA compliance, the first step is to arrange for your employment practices to be aligned with the Act. This includes recruitment procedures, advertising, selection criteria, appointment processes, job classification, remuneration, employment benefits, training, promotions, demotion, disciplinary measures and dismissals.
If you, as an employer, sense that your workplace practices and policies fall short of your legislative obligations, you should act now. October is almost upon you!