New EE Amendment Bill: Transformative or Transactional?

In February, Parliament tabled the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, and the Draft Employment Equity Regulations, 2018 in a bid to expedite transformation objectives envisioned in the Employment Equity Act, 1998. Amongst other important changes, the amendment Act would empower the Minister of the Department of Labour and Employment (DoL) to issue Employment Equity Certificates of Compliance as a requirement for businesses to access government contracts. The DoL is currently in talks with various stakeholders on the possible sector-specific numerical targets that could be applied if the Bill is passed.

What the proposed amendments would mean for your business?

Changes in the definition of a “designated employer” reduces the regulatory burden on small enterprises. This would mean that employers with less than 50 employees would be exempt from submitting Employment Equity plans to the DoL, irrespective of their annual turnover.

This means that companies will have to assess their employment policies and practices in order to meet their respective sectoral numerical targets; and equip EE committees to re-align their employment equity plans accordingly.

However, such employers must meet other requirements in order to conduct business with the state. For example, they must promote equal opportunity in the workplace by eliminating unfair discrimination policies and practices, and adhere to national minimum wages (ordinary employees: R20.76; farm workers: R18.68 p/h; domestic workers: R15.57 p/h; public works program: R11.42 p/h) in terms of the National Minimum Wages Act, 2017.

Most notably, Chapter 3 now includes section 15A (Establishment of Sectoral Targets). This provision will enable the Minister to set Employment Equity numerical targets for any sector or part of a sector. The amendment Bill further enables the Minister to issue Regulations stipulating the criteria to be applied in determining such numerical targets.

If you would like to find out how the proposed changes of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, 2018 might affect your business, contact our office.

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