Employment Equity measures the percentage of BEE members employed in the business. The purpose of the employment Equity Act no: 55 of 1998 is to protect workers and job seekers from unfair discrimination. It also provides a framework for implementing affirmative action.
No unfair discrimination may take place against any employee regarding race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language and birth.
The Employment Equity Act applies to all employers, workers and job applicants, but not members of the:
• National Defence Force.
• National Intelligence Agency.
• South African Secret Service.
It is vital for every employer to design and implement an Employment Equity Plan. The Employment Equity plan will assist the employer to achieve the requirements of the Employment Equity Act successfully, thus, eliminating unfair discrimination in the workplace, and to ensure equal representation of employees from designated groups by means of affirmative action measures.
The Employment Equity plan must clearly explain the steps that the employer plans to follow to achieve these objectives. The Department of Labour published a Code of Good Practice on the Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of Employment Equity Plans with the intention of assisting employers to achieve all necessary objectives. The Department of Labour also published a user guide to the Employment Equity Act, highlighting 10 steps to preparing and implementing an Employment equity Plan. Every employer should be in possession of these two documents.
The act allows employers to modify the plan to adapt to their needs. Both Employment Equity and Affirmative Action applies to all designated employers and their employees, particularly those employees from designated groups. Designated employers, refers to those employers who employ 50 or more employees. However, employer’s who employ less than 50 employees but whose annual turnover exceeds or equals the amounts in schedule 4 of the EEA, or an employer who has been declared a designated employer in terms of a collective agreement, also has an obligation to comply.
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