New employment equity regulations came into force on 1 August 2014. The significant developments are:
- The Minister of Labour has attached templates to the regulations which designated employers may use when drafting their employment equity plans and when conducting their workplace analysis to establish whether there are any barriers to employment equity and to determine the degree of under-representation of designated groups.
- The regulations contain the definition of “work of equal value” and the Minister has introduced a list of factors which employers can take into account in determining whether work is of equal value. In short, employers must objectively assess the work, taking into account the following criteria:
- The responsibility demanded of the work (including responsibility for people, finances and material)
- The skills, qualifications, including prior learning and experience required to perform the work, whether formal or informal
- Physical, mental and emotional effort required to perform the work
- To the extent that it is relevant, the conditions under which work is performed, including the physical environment, psychological conditions, time when and geographic location where the work is performed.
- The regulations also contain factors justifying any differentiation in terms and conditions of employment. These factors include the respective individuals’ seniority or length of service, qualifications, ability, competence, their performance, quantity or quality of work, whether one of the employees has been demoted without a reduction in pay, whether there is a shortage of the relevant skills in the market and any other factor that is not unfairly discriminatory.
- The deadline for submission of annual reports is extended to 15 January each year for electronic reporting only.
- A new summary of the Act which includes the recent amendments has been provided and employers must display this in the workplace.
The draft regulations published earlier in the year indicated that in setting numerical goals and targets, employers can use the demographic profile of the national and regional economically active population applicable to them and introduced guidelines on how employers can determine these demographics. These paragraphs have been removed from the regulations which are now in force. However, in line with the amendments to the Employment Equity Act (which also came into force on 1 August 2014), employers should still use national and regional demographics when setting numerical goals for each level of employment.
Designated employers are urged to familiarise themselves with the new regulations as these will form the basis of assessment for inspections by the Department of Labour and Director General employment equity reviews.