Employment Equity Act – Amendments May 2006

 

The amendments to the Employment Equity regulations, published in government notice R 480 on 26th May 2006, are now available on the Department of Labour website.

These amendments include amendments to the various reporting forms, as well as amendments to the regulations.

Some of the more important amendments include an expanded definition of "Designated groups."

 

This definition now states that " Designated groups" means Black people (i.e. Africans, Coloureds and Indians), women and people with disabilities who are natural persons, and: 

  • Citizens of the Republic of South Africa by birth or descent,  or
  • citizens of the Republic of South Africa by naturalisation before the commencement date of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa act of 1993, or
  • became citizens of the Republic of South Africa after the commencement date of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa act of 1993, but who, were it not for Apartheid policy that had been in place prior to that date, would have been entitled to acquire citizenship by naturalisation prior to do date.

This makes it clear that citizens of other countries, who claim to be classed as members of the designated group because they are Black, can no longer make that claim. 

The amendments deal further with the assigning of the responsibility of Employment Equity to a senior manager.

The regulation states that a senior manager or managers who are assigned this responsibility, must be permanent employees, and must have their employment Equity duties or outcomes incorporated into their performance contracts. 

In addition such persons must be given the necessary executive authority and mandate to act and take action in terms of the employment Equity Act, they must be provided with an appropriate budget and be given access to other required resources, and very importantly, they must be provided with time off from other duties and commitments in order to perform their duties in terms of employment equity.

 

The duty of employers to report (usually annually) and the method of completing the necessary report forms are now incorporated in the regulations. 

The reporting requirements regarding income differentials is also addressed as well as the employer's duty to consult and keep employees informed of the content and application of the act, employment equity and anti-discrimination issues, the process that the employer is following and the need for involvement of all stakeholders.

The regulations now provide that the consultative Forum must be established or an existing forum, such as a Workplace Forum, must be utilised. The Forum must include employee representatives from both designated and non-designated groups, and the employer must be represented on the Forum by one or more members of senior management in the Forum. 

The regulations require that a regular meetings and feedback to employees and management must take place.

 

The amendments include special forms to be completed by each employee in the process of combining a workplace profile, and provision is made for employees at any time to be able to add information to the form that is completed. 

Form EEA 2, which previously consisted of 12 pages, now consists of 23 pages, and the form EEA 4, previously 2 pages, now consists of 11 pages. 

This give you an idea of the amount of homework that needs to be done by employers in terms of these new regulations, and we on our part will be studying the amendments carefully, and we will be updating our training course on Basic Employment Equity accordingly. 

It is our aim to have revised and amended course ready for presentation to interested employers by the end of August, to afford employer's the opportunity of attending this course before the deadline reporting date of 1st October. 

For more information contact [email protected]

 

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