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Be Prepared Employment Equity Season is almost upon us

There is no time to delay in preparing yourself for the submission of this years report along with all of the other aspects which need to be taken into account. If you haven’t yet had time to properly implement, you have a small window of opportunity to get your company up to speed and compliant.

While the Commission for Employment Equity’s Sunil Sewpersad states that the Department is not particularly interested in brandishing old-style fear tactics and threats of fines and jail-time in the faces of employers, make no mistake, the Department is checking on your reports! With the amended bill of September 2018 still not promulgated, Mr Sewpersad, when faced with the question of when can employers expect the amendments to come into action, replied “Soon-ish”. If you are a designated employer and have not yet investigated the legislative amendments that are coming, then read on…

In the past, employers submitted their reports and instantly received an acknowledgment letter from the Dept confirming their submission. This year, however, you may need to wait for your confirmation letter as the Minister declares in the amended Bill that no longer will the automated letter be sent out. Rather, there will be a series of checks completed and only if your organisation is found to be compliant, will your receive your certificate of compliance. If you are participating in BBBEE, not receiving your certificate may result on loss of points.

The Commission for Employment Equity assures all employers, that by the time there is a Department of Labour inspector at your door,  your company has already been flagged with inconsistencies or errors. From the moment your reports are submitted you are under the magnifying glass. Of the somewhat 4200 reports submitted in the KZN region last year, the majority were found to have errors. The problem is garbage in, garbage out. It cannot be over-estimated enough… if you are not sure, then double-check or risk delays in receiving your compliance certificate.

The Department of Labour is essentially looking for accuracy and transparency with Employment Equity, alongside this, employers can no longer go ahead and make their own rules as they go along. The essence of the Employment Equity Act has been highlighted as one of the most important aspects of all. And the slow pace of transformation has been laid at the feet of employers who are not embracing the essence of employment equity but rather as a box-ticking exercise where they decide what the outcome will be. While no one expects vacancies to be simply created out of thin air, designated employers are found to be ignoring their own targets and goals stipulated in their employment equity plans, and ignore opportunities to training and develop employees in line with their EEA13. To counteract this, the Department of Labour declares its new “stick and carrot” approach which will force employers to pay more attention or face the consequences.