Employment Equity a requirement for State business

Companies wanting to do business with Government, Public Entities and State Owned Enterprizes will have to get their EE status in order, or lose out!

This was the crux of the ultimatum issued by the Department of Labour.

“Amending Section 53 of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) is a critical component to speed up transformation in the workplaces,” said Department of Labour Director of EE Directorate, Ntsoaki Mamashela.

Mamashela said companies or organisations who do not want to transform may as well bid goodbye to doing business with the State. Mamashela was speaking during the Department of Labour EE Reporting, Amendment Bill & Regulations public hearings held at the Running Waters Conference Centre in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Section 53 of the EE Act of 1998 relates to designated employers and employers who seek to do business with any organ of State, that they will have to apply for a certificate from the Minister confirming their compliance with the provisions of the Act – this in relation to prohibition of unfair discrimination, and the implementation of affirmative action measures for designated groups to achieve employment equity.

The Department of Labour’s Employment Equity Directorate yesterday (02 October) started the hosting of national public hearings on the Amendments to EE Act and the unveiling of draft EE regulations and its implications for South Africa’s workplaces.

Mamashela said the EE Act came into effect in 1998. Mamashela said the 20-year trend analysis showed that South Africa has not moved to achieve the objectives of the Act – that of transformation and equity in the workplace. She said the Commission for Employment Equity and the Department of Labour had to look at other strategies to fast track transformation in the workplace.

The public hearings are held under the theme: “Real transformation makes business sense”.

The key objectives of the EE amendments are:

o   To bring alignment between definitions, policy provisions and the administration systems and enhancing on the collection of data for the National Minimum Wage Commission,

o   Introduction of provisions in the EE Amendment Bill and regulations for the consultation and setting of numerically based sector targets across various occupational levels to ensure an equitably represented workforce,

o   To make reporting requirements easier for designated employers who are small employers, and

o   Introduction of provisions and regulatory requirements for the promulgation of Section 53 to ensure employers financially benefiting from State contracts comply with the EE Act.

The Department of Labour has published the Employment Equity Amendment Bill and the Draft Employment Equity Regulations in the Government Gazette in response to the slow pace of transformation in the workplace. The Department will use the public hearings to elicit inputs to the amendments and proposed regulations.

The EE public hearings are targeted at stakeholders such as: employers or heads of organisations, assigned senior EE managers, consultative forum members, human resources practitioners, trade unions and employees.

Employers (companies, government departments etc.) are as per the EE Act obliged to submit annually to the Department of Labour their employment equity reports in regard to demographic profiles, gender representation and EE plans on how to address discrimination and inequity in the workplace.

The closing date for written submission on the EE Amendment Bill and Regulations is 20 November 2018.

The upcoming EE public hearings will be held from 08:30 to 14:00. The roadshows started on yesterday (02 October) at the East London International Convention Centre.

Tomorrow the Department will be conducting public hearing at the Southern Sun in Cape Town.

Next week the spotlight falls in KwaZulu-Natal where public hearings will be held on 09 October 2018 at the Golden Horse Casino Hotel in Pietermaritzburg and on 10 October 2018 at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban. The public hearings end on 26 October 2018 in Gauteng Province.

Meanwhile, the EE 2018 Online reporting season is also open. The online EE reporting closes on 15 January 2019.

Source: Department of Labour – South Africa

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Jessica van Zyl

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