Employment Equity Bill – Amended by the President

What is employment Equity?

Every designated employer is required to design and implement an employment Equity plan. The purpose of the employment Equity plan is to enable the employer “to achieve reasonable progress towards employment Equity”, to assist in eliminating unfair discrimination in the workplace, and to achieve equitable representation of employees from designated groups by means of affirmative action measures.

An employment Equity plan therefore must clearly set out the steps that the employer plans to follow to achieve these objectives. In order to assist employers, the Department of Labour published a Code of Good Practice on the Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of Employment Equity Plans. The Department of Labour also published a user guide to the employment Equity act, detailing 10 steps to preparing and implementing an employment Equity plan. Every employer should be in possession of at least these two documents – the Code of Good Practice and the User Guide.

New amendments – President assents to the Employment Equity Amendment Bill.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law the Employment Equity Amendment Bill of 2020. The Amendment Bill seeks to advance transformation of South Africa’s workforce by setting equity targets for economic sectors and geographical regions, and requiring enterprises to develop transformation plans.

The Bill amends the Employment Equity Act of 1998 (Act No 55 of 1998) with new measures to promote diversity and equality in the workplace.

Among its key provisions, the Amendment Bill empowers the Minister of Employment and Labour to set employment-equity targets for economic sectors, as well as regions where transformation is lagging. The amendment Bill also empowers the Minister of Employment and Labour to regulate compliance criteria to issue Compliance Certificates as per Section 53 of the Employment Equity Act.

The amended Act allows the Minister of Employment and Labour to set regional targets given that racial diversity in South Africa often has regional differences.

The law requires employers with more than 50 employees to submit employment equity plans for their companies, spelling out how they will achieve these targets. Employers are then required to submit annual reports to the Department of Employment and Labour.

In the area of remuneration, the law requires employers to pay workers equal pay for equal work. The Bill provides clear definitions of discrimination and sets out what workers can do when facing such discrimination – including lodging grievances with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, or the Labour Courts.

Companies seeking to do business with the state will be required to submit a certificate from the Department confirming that they are in compliance with the Employment Equity Act and its objectives, and that they do not pay their employees less than the national minimum wage.

As part of ensuring the employment equity objectives become reality, the law now compels labour inspectors to inspect workplaces and to issue employers with compliance orders. The Department of Employment and Labour has committed to increase the number of labour inspectors and health and safety inspectors who will enforce compliance.

Source Article: gov.za

ANALYSIS | What you need to know about the new Employment Equity bill


The amendments to the EEA will bring about a change to the definition of “designated employer” to restrict the application of these sections to a reduced group of employers and relieve some of the administrative burden on smaller employers. One of the main objectives of the amendments introduced is to empower the Minister of Labour and Employment to, among other things, identify and set employment equity numerical targets for each national economic sector. The purpose of the numerical targets is to ensure equitable representation of suitably qualified people from historically disadvantaged groups based on race, gender, and disability at all occupational levels in the workplace.

News24 did a analysis on how the amendments to the act would effect your business raising some important questions like:

How will smaller employers be affected by the amendments?

Smaller employers are positively affected by a change in the definition of “designated employer”. The definition is amended to exclude employers who employ fewer than 50 employees, irrespective of their annual turnover.

What is the effect of the amendment to the definition of designated employer?

As a result of the amendment, smaller employers will not be required to comply with the obligations of a designated employer relating to affirmative action, including the development and implementation of employment equity plans and reporting to and submission of employment equity reports to the Department of Employment and Labour. This will significantly relieve the administrative burden on these employers.

As a result of the amendment, will smaller employers be deprived of the ability to secure a certificate of compliance?

No. While smaller employers will not be required to develop and submit employment equity reports, they will nevertheless be entitled to obtain a certificate of compliance under section 53 of the EEA.

For more questions and the full analysis click here.

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