SA’s employment equity laws to undergo makeover

Major amendments to equity laws on the cards for South Africa.

The Department of Employment and Labour has confirmed plans to proceed with its Employment Equity Amendment Bill, which undertakes a shake-up of the country’s employment equity laws. On 28 October the department said that the bill aims to empower the minister to regulate sector-specific employment equity targets.

The bill is currently before parliament after being introduced in the Government Gazette on 20 July 2020, and the parliamentary process will unfold as per parliament’s schedule, with no specific schedule set for the official introduction of the bill.

The minister will first publish a notice in the Gazette identifying the national economic sectors that will be affected. After consulting the sectors and on the advice of Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) – for the purpose of ensuring the equitable representation of the designated groups at all occupational levels – the minister may set numerical targets for any sector or part of a sector by notice in the Gazette.

The department said that the notice may set different numerical targets for different occupational levels, sub-sectors or regions. The bill stipulates that a draft of any notice that the minister proposes must be published in the Gazette and interested parties must be permitted at least 30 days to comment.

Some of the factors which the minister will consider when setting sector targets include:

  • The qualification, skills and experience required to be employed in a particular occupational level;
  • The rate of turnover and natural attrition in a sector; and
  • Recruitment and promotional trends within a sector.

The department said that engagements on the setting of sector-specific employment targets have already commenced with the mining, retail, wholesale, financial and construction sectors.