If you’re a business owner in South Africa, you’ve likely heard of the Employment Equity Act: a set of rules governed by the Department of Labour that helps businesses achieve equality in the workplace, by eliminating unfair discrimination, and encouraging equitable representation of employees from designated groups.
In theory, the Act should have resulted in much-needed transformation since its inception in 1998. But, the reality is that many businesses have been slow to achieve real equality progress – and now the Department of Labour is clamping down.
They recently announced the Employment Equity Amendment Bill 2020, which looks set to be signed into law soon. The Bill will introduce amendments to the affirmative action provisions of the Act, especially around sector-specific employment equity targets.
And that means one thing for designated employers: you will be expected to report back accurately on your Employment Equity plans and progress, or face the consequences. Are you ready?
Who needs to report on Employment Equity?
Certain employers are required by law to submit their Employment Equity reports to the Department of Labour: Employers who employ 150 or more employees are required to report annually, and employers who employ less than 150 (but more than 50) employees are required to report a bi-annually. You also need to report if you have less than 50 employees, but an annual turnover of more than R2 million.
What needs to be in your employment equity report?
Your employment equity report should prove that you have met your responsibilities and are maintaining your transformation accountability.
The report itself can be daunting, with employers having to fill out a host of forms covering, among other details, employer details, workforce profile, occupational categories, job descriptions, workforce demographics, occupational levels, workforce movements, disciplinary action, skills development plans, and a qualitative assessment of your employment equity plans. You’ll also be expected to complete a progress report, outlining how close you are to achieving the goals set in your employment equity plan.
A new online submission and assessment system will also be implemented at the end of the 2024 reporting year, that will be able to tell whether employers have achieved their target or not. If they have not, they’ll need to provide justifiable reasons.
How long do you have to submit your report?
Employment Equity reports for 2022 need to be submitted by 15 January 2023, which doesn’t leave employers a lot of time. You’ll need to ensure you have the resources and capacity to complete the submission on time, and with compliance. Getting ready for submission includes gathering all the relevant information to input into the reports, getting the required forms to complete (EEA2 Report, 12 pages) and the EEA4 (income differential statements), and ensuring you have sufficient stakeholder input to fill out all the sections. It can be time-consuming and difficult to complete – so it’s best to get an early start!
If you’re still a little lost about where to start with your Employment Equity Report, or just don’t have the time to do the necessary reporting, we can offer Employment Equity support, by drafting your EE plan, forming your committee, facilitating your first meeting, drafting the related policies and managing your reporting submission process.