The purpose of the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of 1998 is to achieve equity in the workplace by
promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through elimination of unfair
discrimination and implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in
employment experienced by designated groups, in order to ensure equitable representation in all
occupational categories and levels in the workforce.
This Act provides for additional reporting requirements employers with the additional burden of
submitting an Employment Equity Report. All designated employers must, in terms of Section 21 of the Employment Equity Act of 1998 submit their annual report annually. The next reporting deadline for 2016 is 3 October 2016, if you submit manually or by post. Reports cannot be submitted via e-mail or fax.
The Department of Labour has also launched an Employment Equity Online Reporting System where
reports can be submitted electronically. The deadline for online submissions for the 2016 reporting
period is 15 January 2017. To complete the online report, please visit the Department of Labour's
website and register for the on-line reporting. On 21 July 2014 the President signed the Employment Amendment Act, No 47 of 2013. This Amendment Act became effective on 1 August 2014.
Obligations of the employer:
1. Unfair Discrimination
All employers must take steps to prevent discrimination in any employment policy or practice.
Grounds for unfair discrimination are numerous & include race, sex, pregnancy, HIV status
and religion amongst others.
2. Affirmative Action
An employer basically has four main duties. These are:
Process: This includes consultation with employees & employee representatives.
The issues to be consulted must include the methodology for the conduct analysis,
the preparation and implementation of the plan & report to the Department of Labour.
The employer must impart all relevant information, which would make consultation
Research: Conduct an analysis of all employment practices, including access to medical aid and pension funds, recruitment procedure, remuneration, training etc. This must also include preparation for workforce in all levels from senior management to unskilled persons.
Prepare & Implement an Employment Equity Plan.
This plan, arising from the analysis must cover a number of issues ranging from the
objectives to be achieved for the following five years to time frames for achievement
of objectives and goals.
Report: A report of the plan and progress toward its objectives must be submitted to
the Department of Labour on an annual or bi-annual basis, depending on the size of
the organisation. Designated employers with more than 150 employees must submit
a new report each year.
Other designated employers need only submit a report every two years. Designated employers who are public companies must publish a summary of the report in their annual financial statement. Designated employers who are state organs must table the report in parliament. Every designated employer must assign one or more managers to take responsibility for implementing & monitoring the plan. Regulations, containing a standard notice summarising the provisions of the Act must be displayed in the workplace. The employer must keep all records relevant to the Act for a prescribed period of time.
The role of the commission is to advise the minister on codes of Good practice, the regulations &
policy. The commission may also make achievement awards to employers, and research & report to
the minister on issues relating to the Act. The commission must submit an annual report to the