Employment Equity - the big stick is coming and employers can no longer run or hide!

02 September 2019

“Employment Equity – 20 years down the line, a marginal movement to diversity”

“Transformation lagging in private sector, minister calls for crackdown on culprits”

“BMF creates legal fund to take on companies violating Employment Equity laws”

“Big employment equity shake-up as government looks to speed up transformation”

The above are but a few of the mainstream media headlines seen within the last week or two following the release of the 2018 report of the Commission for Employment Equity. It seems that employers are soon to be held to stricter account on the Employment Equity score.

Given that South Africa’s employment equity legislation has been in place now for over 20 years (since 1998), it is disappointing to say the least that there has been very little practical implementation of workplace transformation. Workplaces that truly represent the diversity of our rainbow nation are few and far between. The recently released 2018 report of the Commission for Employment Equity provides a picture of top, senior and professional sections of the workforce dominated by men and whites. According to the report, white men represent just 5.1% of the economically active population, and white women 3.9%, but they make up 66.5% of top managers, 54.4% of senior managers and 37.4% of professionals. In comparison, only 15.1% of top managers in 2018 were African, even though they accounted for 78.8% of the economically active population.

It appears to finally be time for consequences. Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, recently stated that the upcoming Employment Equity Amendment Bill will regulate the setting of sector-specific employment targets to address the gross under-representation of blacks, women and persons with disabilities in South African workplaces. The Bill will also ensure that an Employment Equity Certificate of Compliance becomes a pre-condition for access to state contracts.

According to Nxesi - “We are now going to be hard. We are very clear, those who do not comply must face the music. Those who do not comply must be punished.”

At this juncture, more than ever, it is incumbent on employers to familiarize themselves fully with the spirit and practical requirements of Employment Equity legislation. And of primary importance in the process of EE compliance and implementation is the formation, skilling and empowerment of an effective Employment Equity Committee. A committee whose members understand the context for its existence as well as their specific roles and responsibilities in contributing to true workplace diversity.

As the annual EE reporting season approaches, Conflict Dynamics is running a 1-day workshop on 2 October 2019 which will provide an overview of the basic requirements of the Employment Equity Act as well as the specific role and responsibilities of the Employment Equity Committee. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to become fully familiar with the requirements of the EEA and avoid the impending big stick!

Book now for the course being held in Johannesburg on 2nd October 2019. BOOKING FORM

Vanessa Botha

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