By Nivaani Moodley, Partner at Webber Wentzel
The Employment Equity Amendment Bill which proposes wide-reaching changes to the regulation of transformation in the workplace will be signed into law imminently, according to the Department of Employment and Labour’s Acting Deputy Director-General of Labour Policy and Industrial Relations, with 1 September 2023 as the effective date.
On 31 August 2022, the Department of Employment and Labour (DoEL) announced that the effective date for the Employment Equity Amendment Bill (Bill) will be 1 September 2023, only 12 months away. The Bill is currently before the President for assent or, if the President has reservations about the constitutionality of the Bill, he may refer it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration, or to the Constitutional Court to determine the constitutionality of any concerns. However, the recent announcement of the effective date suggests that the Bill will be signed into law soon.
Four of the most significant changes proposed in the Bill include:
- introducing sector and sub-sector targets;
- obliging designated employers tocomply with numerical sector targets;
- requiring compliance with such targets and assessing and reporting against these; and
- requiring that compliance weigh heavily on designated employers’ ability to bid for and be awarded State contracts.
Engagements on sector and subsector targets commenced in June 2019 and are set to conclude at the end of September 2022. The sectors that have been identified for this purpose include:
|education||water supply||sewerage management & remediation||accommodation & food services||human health & social work|
|agriculture||forestry & fishing||wholesale & retail trade||repair of motor vehicles & motorcycles||administrative & support|
|professional||scientific & technical||electricity||gas steam & air conditioning supply||financial & insurance activities|
|mining & quarrying||public administration & defence||manufacturing||information & communication||construction & real estate|
According to the DoEL, all sectors have been consulted in respect of numerical sector targets save for mining and quarrying, public administration and defence, manufacturing, information & communication, construction, and real estate.
Designated employers in these sectors should acquaint themselves with the provisions of the impending Bill and take anticipatory action in preparation for the Bill to avoid attracting penalties or being barred from contracting with the State when the Bill comes into effect. The Webber Wentzel Employment and Employee Benefits team have prepared in-person and online workshops on the key aspects and implications of the Bill.