I have received a spate of calls from employers who have been visited by Department of Labour inspectors checking up on their compliance with the Employment Equity Act (EEA). All of these callers have been shocked either because they did not know the EEA applied to them or because they had believed they would never be caught!
However, the Department of Labour has a simple and foolproof method of checking up on employers who fail to comply with the EEA. Firstly, the EEA allows employees and trade unions to report defaulting employers. Secondly, the Department of Labour has a comprehensive database of all employers that are registered for unemployment Insurance. Their inspectors are therefore easily able to visit you and to take action if you have not complied.
Your company or organisation does not have to comply with all of the EEA’s provisions if you fall into BOTH of the following categories:
You have fewer than 50 employees
Your annual income (sales turnover or other source of income) is less than the threshold for your economic sector. For example, the turnover threshold for employers in the construction, catering, accommodation, community, social and personal services is R5 million per annum. The threshold for the manufacturing, electrical, gas, water finance and business service sectors is R10 million per annum. This means that even if you have fewer than 50 employees of any type you still have to comply with these provisions if your annual turnover exceeds the statutory thresholds provided for in the EEA.
Fines for non-compliance can be as much as R500 000-00 for a first offence. It is therefore crucial for you as an employer in any sector to be able to establish whether your company or organisation is complying with the law.
You can go a long way towards evaluating the level of your compliance with the statutory and practical requirements of EE implementation by checking whether your business or organisation has clearly codified policies and procedures on:
➢ Core EE Policy and Rationale
➢ Organisational Culture
➢ Basic Principles of EE implementation
➢ The Desired Objective
➢ Conduct of EE Audit
➢ Employment Equity Plan
➢ Employment Equity Report
➢ What is Discrimination?
➢ What is Indirect Discrimination?
➢ Discrimination, Victimisation and Harassment
➢ Instructions or Pressure to Discriminate
➢ Strategic HR Planning – Workforce Composition
➢ Roles and Responsibilities
➢ Treatment of Applicants, Short-Listing , Interviewing and Selec-
➢ Promotion, Transfers, Training and Development
➢ Communication and Language Training for Employees
➢ Selection Criteria and Tests
➢ Career Pathing and Mentoring
➢ Performance Appraisals
➢ Discipline, Dismissal and Redundancy
➢ Retention Measures
➢ Employment Conditions
➢ Social Responsibility
➢ Disabled Employees
➢ HIV / AIDS
➢ Grievance Disputes
➢ Monitoring Employment Equity
➢ Legal Dispute Resolution
You also need to ask the following questions:
Have these policies and procedures been checked by a Labour law expert with EE expertise in order to ensure their compliance with the EEA and their practical viability?
Have all managers, employee committee members/trade union representatives and employees been trained in the content and meaning of these policies?
Do these policies form a rational and firm foundation for the development of the employer’s EE targets and EE plans?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No” then you need to act quickly before you are visited by a government inspector. You need to ensure not only that you comply with the requirements of the EEA but also you’re your implementation process is effective and practical.
Written by lvan lsraelstam, Chief Executive of Labour Law Management Consulting. He may be contacted on (011) 888-7944 or 0828522973 or on e-mail address: email@example.com. Web Address: www.labourlawadvice.co.za.
This article first appeared in The Star.