Employment Equity Act amendments: The power of the compliance certificate

Employment Equity Act amendments: The power of the compliance certificate

Employment Equity, Human Resources

Looming amendments to the Employment Equity Act brings with it higher expectations for employers to comply with regulations. Designated employers (those with 50 or more employees) will face more demanding compliance requirements, while non-designated employers (those under 50 staff), will experience changes as well. It is essential therefore, for both designated and non-designated employers to understand the implications of non-compliance, particularly concerning the new employment equity compliance certificate.

For designated employers, the amendments mean they must continue with their existing employment equity obligations, which includes maintaining an EE committee, completing and submitting the employment equity plan and reports, and conducting EE meetings. It also now includes conducting harassment risk assessments and ensuring staff are adequately trained on both employment equity and harassment in the workplace. Designated employers will now be subjected to heightened scrutiny from the Department of Labour, and failing to fulfill these obligations may result in severe consequences such as fines and failure to receive the compliance certificate, making compliance a top priority.

For non-designated employers, there has been a mass rush to de-register from the Department of Labour website, however this action warrants attention. While non-designated employers will no longer need to have an employment equity committee, conduct meetings or submit reports, they should not dismiss the importance of the employment equity compliance certificate.

The compliance certificate may become a crucial document for both designated and non-designated employers. It will be a requirement for tendering processes, including both government and private tenders. Additionally, any work done with Government will necessitate the certificate. Furthermore, there are indications that the certificate may be a consideration during BBBEE audits.

Obtaining the compliance certificate will not be a simple formality. Designated employers will need to meet the obligations as listed above, and there are now additional requirements for both designated and non-designated employers to fulfill. A certificate will only be issued if there have been no CCMA awards within the previous 12 months for failure to pay the minimum wage or any form of workplace harassment. This stringent requirement is designed to ensure that employers are treating their employees fairly and adhering to labour laws.

The risks of non-compliance are now compounded by the power employees wield. With an ability to lodge claims of harassment at the CCMA, employees could potentially abuse the system by making unfounded claims. This situation creates a challenging dilemma for employers who may feel pressured to settle claims out of fear of an adverse finding.

In conclusion, both designated and non-designated employers must be proactive in ensuring compliance with the forthcoming amendments to the Employment Equity Act. Designated employers should continue to meet their existing obligations diligently, while non-designated employers must not dismiss the significance of the EE compliance certificate. It will serve as a powerful document – crucial for accessing business opportunities, and will only be granted to employers with a clean record regarding minimum wage payment and workplace harassment. As these changes loom on the horizon, employers must be vigilant, fostering fair and inclusive workplaces to mitigate risks and seize opportunities in the evolving regulatory landscape.

We can help you with any compliancy queries or challenges you may have. Email us on [email protected] and one of the team will get back to you.