Hundreds of employers packed into the Milnerton venue in Cape Town in the hope of obtaining clarity on the newly instituted Amended Employment Equity Act and regulations at a roadshow hosted by the Department of Labour (DoL).
The meeting, which included improvements to the Employment Equity reporting methods, formed part of the Department’s National Employment Equity (EE) Roadshow, and sought to encourage and inform designated employers on successful EE reporting, with special focus on publicizing the Amended Employment Equity Act and EE Regulations. The amendments were recently signed into law by President Jacob Zuma and took effect from 1 August 2014.
Niresh Singh, from the Employment Equity unit of the Department of Labour, in his introductory comments, noted that in the Act, provision is made for the Minister to make recommendations. One of the changes highlighted in the Amendments, makes reference to equal pay, meaning, same work or similar work for equal pay for employees working for the same employer. Zoleka Ntshoza, Deputy Director in the Inspection and Enforcement Services Unit (IES) at the Department of Labour in Cape Town, encouraged employers to take the necessary steps to ensure that they comply, “Employers must be proactive and make a review of their current status,” she said.
In affirming the Departments commitment in ensuring compliance, specific mention was made of the harsh penalties companies would receive should they fail to implement and comply with the changes. Section 20 (7) says, “the Director-General may apply to the Labour Court to impose a fine in accordance with Schedule 1, if a designated employer fails to prepare or implement an Employment Equity Plan in terms of section 20”.
The Act also addresses unfair discrimination in the workplace as measures have been put into place to protect employees who have been unfairly discriminated against.
In addition to the amendments presented, a live demonstration was also given on EE submissions which opens 1 September 2014. By the 1st October 2014, manual submissions should be submitted, EE online submissions closes 15 January 2015. In 2013, 98.5-percent of employers reported online, an increase from the 96% who submitted online the previous year – a clear indication that the department is moving away from manual submissions. Some of the benefits of reporting online include that errors are immediately picked up and can be quickly remedied. For overviews of the sectors, employers are encouraged to go to the DoL website and scrutinise the public register.
The road-show was attended by human resource executives and practitioners, assigned senior EE managers/transformation managers; EE forum members and trade unions members among others.
Media Statement: Department of Labour: 06 August 2013
- 2014 EE Regulations published on 1 August 2014
- Proclamation notice of the effective date of Amended EEA published 25 July 2014