Employment Equity – the need for compliance

The need for transformation must be taken seriously and the Department of labour is adamant it will happen or employers will suffer the consequences. The reality of transformation is currently given “lip service” and in many companies little or nothing is being done. The place to start is with the introduction of an Employment Equity Forum, Skills Development Forum or a combined forum.
The need to consult with employees on EE matters and Skills development issues is enshrined in the EE Act, the SDA and the LRA and is now a requirement for WSP and ATR submissions. This is often overlooked by employers. Non compliance may well lead to heavy fines and as of this year there will be more serious consequences for non compliance. Now is the time for action to ensure your company is compliant.
The EE Act was introduced in 1998 to foster and promote sound and fair workplace practices. In order to address the inequalities in employment patterns and practices it was deemed necessary to address the issue of inequality in the workplace. The act is specific in terms of minimum requirements and on the completion of EE reports while at the same time making it possible for employees to question employers on issues related to Employment Equity. Designated employers are required to establish a consultative forum in order to give effect to the process.

We recently saw the release of the latest report on Employment Equity – there were no surprises in this – very little has changed. The Labour Minister’s threat to once again ‘name and shame’ companies that aren’t making progress or complying with the letter and spirit of the Employment Equity Act is not surprising as transformation is far too slow. Top management positions over the past 10 years or more has changed very slightly and white managers still dominate.

Finding of key executives from historically disadvantaged groups may not be easy to do but taking active steps to develop such individuals, while at the same time nurturing and sustaining such talent from within companies is possible.

Succession planning should be embedded in the thinking of every board, ever human resources department and in the mind of every SDF. Succession planning however must start at the bottom of the ladder and not necessarily at the top.
It would be unrealistic to expect companies to promote incompetent individuals for management position or to just pluck them off the street. However if companies make a decision now to start doing a little more, we can bring about the required transformation.
Preparation of possible candidates for management positions coupled with the necessary mentoring, training, up skilling and empowerment are some of the areas that should be under consideration and in addition should be ongoing. We need to change mindsets if we are to achieve these objectives.
Companies in South Africa will have no one to blame but themselves if they do not clean up their act and address the issue of non compliance.
Who will be the first to criticise if the Government takes more stringent action to whip employers into submission?
Des Squire (Managing Member)
Amsi and Associates cc

Training for EE Forum members, SD Forum Members or Combined Forum members – We also consult on the formation of the various forums

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