Comply with Employment Equity or no business with the State - Labour Department

8 September 2021 by  Jonisayi Maromo 

Pretoria – The Department of Employment and Labour says employers and companies will have to meet a set of stringent conditions before being issued with the employment equity (EE) compliance certificate which is a prerequisite for access to contracts with the State and any of its organs.

Deputy director responsible for the employment equity directorate, Masilo Lefika said the compliance certificates are applicable for a year from the date of issue, and it is one of the reasons for the amendment of Section 53 of the Employment Equity Act.

In terms of proposed Employment Equity amendments, the criteria for non-designated employers [companies employing less than 49 employees] is to comply with the national minimum wage or prove that they have been granted exemption and have no CCMA unfair discrimination award against them.

The criteria for designated employers – entities employing 50 or more employees – will have to submit annual Employment Equity Reports; comply with the national minimum wage or prove that they have been granted exemption not to pay the national minimum wage; comply with their own annual employment equity targets towards the five-year sector employment equity targets.

These employers should also not have CCMA unfair discrimination award against them given in the previous 12 months.

Lefika however emphasised that the intention is not to “bottleneck” employers.

“The five-year sector targets are not quotas, but we are flexible. We do not want a one size fits all solution,” he said.

The department of employment and labour said with the proposed amendments, the employment equity compliance certificate exemptions will be granted only when there are justifiable reasons including insufficient recruitment opportunities; insufficient target individuals from the designated groups with the relevant qualifications, skills and experience; insufficient promotion opportunities.

The other reasons will include transfer of business; merger/acquisitions; impact on business economic circumstances for example the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on business.

Lefika said employers will be subjected to strict audit before the certificates are issued.

He was speaking during the joint employment equity virtual workshops held on Tuesday for KwaZulu-Natal. The virtual employment equity workshops will run until 28 September and have already been held for the provinces of Limpopo and Free State.


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