Wednesday, 08 September 2021

Kwazulu-Natal: Employers and companies will have to meet a set of conditions before being issued with the employment equity (EE) compliance certificate as a prerequisite for access to contracts with the State and any of its organs.

Speaking during the joint EE virtual workshops held on Tuesday for KwaZulu-Natal, the Department of Employment and Labour’s Deputy Director for Employment Equity, Masilo Lefika, said the certificate will be applicable for a year from the date of issue, and is one of the reasons for the amendment of the of section 53 of the EE Act.

In terms of proposed EE amendments, the criteria for non-designated employers (those employing 0-49 employees) is to comply with the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or prove that they have been granted exemption, and have no Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) unfair discrimination award against employers in the previous 12 months.

Meanwhile, the criteria for designated employers (those employing 50 or more employees) is submitting annual EE Report (EEA2 & EEA4 forms); complying with the NMW or proving to have been granted exemption not to pay NMW; complying with own annual EE targets towards the five-year Sector EE Target, and have no CCMA unfair discrimination award against employers in the previous 12 months.

“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,” Lefika said.

According to the proposed amendments, the EE Compliance Certificate exemptions will be granted only when there are justifiable reasons.

“The reasons include insufficient recruitment opportunities; insufficient target individuals from the designated groups with the relevant qualifications, skills and experience; insufficient promotion opportunities, transfer of business or merger, and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on business,” Lefika said.

The Deputy Director said employers will be subjected to strict audit before the certificate is issued.

The virtual EE workshops will run until 28 September 2021 and have already been held for the provinces of Limpopo and Free State.