There has been a lot of talk around the topic of Employment Equity (EE) since 1998 when the Employment Equity Act No 55 was established. But what exactly is Employment Equity and how does it affect your organisation?
First of all, it is important to understand that EE is non-negotiable. The purpose of EE is to promote equal opportunity for employees of different races and genders by eliminating discrimination and making use of affirmative action techniques.
EE is an unmissable part of the labour industry in South Africa, considering the widely diverse population and the urgent need to access employment opportunities. When applied correctly, EE should reduce the terribly high unemployment rate the country is currently experiencing, because it will allow the most suitable candidates to find employment without the focus being solely on demographic factors.
It is important that employers and employees alike are compliant with EE requirements, as this will remove unnecessary barriers preventing people from being granted access to job opportunities, training and promotion.
Employers must be aware that it is unacceptable according to the EE Act to discriminate against any potential employee or existing employee on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, language, religious stance, age, colour, marital status pregnancy, or even HIV status. Job opportunities must be made available to all candidates and recruitment policies and procedures must be the same for all.
Should an employer not heed the requirements of the EE Act and continue to discriminate against employees, the employees will be allowed to declare a dispute or lodge a formal grievance. Should the matter remain unresolved, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) may be approached for assistance.
Registering and reporting according to the EE Act applies to organisations with 50 or more employees and based on their turnover amount as specified by government.
However, there is a current amendment bill in progress, that seeks to amend the definition of ‘designated employer’ which will exclude employers of less than 50 employees regardless of their annual turnover, which means those employers will be exempt from Affirmative Action (AA) provisions and will not have to participate in voluntary reporting.
Dalitso Holdings are well up to speed with all the pending changes to the Employment Equity Act and can assist your business not only to comply with regulations but also to become more diverse. As mentioned above, the EE Act is a legal requirement and companies must submit their relevant reports before the 15th of January each year.
Contact us today and let us help you reach your EE goals: www.dalitso.co.za