Section 21 of the Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998 (EEA) places an obligation on designated employers to submit an employment equity report once every year.  

Who is a designated employer?

A designated employer is (i) an employer who employs 50 or more employees or (ii) an employer who employers fewer that 50 employees, but has a total annual turnover that is equal to or above the annual turnover threshold specific to the relevant sector. Schedule 4 of the EEA sets outs these thresholds.

What is an employment equity report?

In terms of section 20 of the EEA, a designated employer must prepare and implement an employment equity plan which will achieve reasonable progress towards employment equity in the employer's workforce.

Section 21 of the EEA requires a designated employer to submit an employment equity report to the Director-General of the Department of Labour (Director-General), reporting on its employment equity plan.

When must a designated employer submit its employment equity report?

A designated employer must submit its employment equity report to the Director-General on an annual basis.

If a designated employer submits its employment equity report manually to the Director-General, the report must be submitted by the first working day of October. This year, manual submissions are due on or before 3 October 2016.

Alternatively, if a designated employer elects to submit its employment equity report online, the report must be submitted by 15 January.

Worried you will miss the deadline?

If a designated employer is not able to submit its (manual) employment equity report timeously, it must notify the Director-General in writing before the last working day of August of the same year, providing reasons for its inability to do so. This year, the last working day of August falls on 31 August 2016.

Possible penalties for non-compliance

The Director-General may apply to the Labour Court to impose a fine if an employer -

  • fails to submit an employment equity report;  
  • fails to notify the Director-General in writing that it will not be able to submit its report timeously and providing reasons for the same; or  
  • has informed the Director-General in writing that it is not able to submit its report timeously, however, the reasons provided are false or invalid.

The Labour Court may impose a fine ranging from the greater of ZAR 1 500 000.00 or 2% of the employer's turnover to ZAR 2 700 000.00 or 10% of the employer's turnover.

Practical Steps

If this has come as news to you and you are concerned that your business will miss the deadline for manual submission of its employment equity report, you must -

  • write to the Director-General with valid reasons for your inability to submit the report; or
  • register online in order to take advantage of the extended deadline of 15 January.

If you intend to write the Director-General, the end of August is looming. Don't delay or you might pay!