Companies which meet the requirements to be designated employers (those with 50 Employees or more) face the arduous task of implementing Employment Equity policies and procedures within their organisations. Employment Equity, like Occupational Health and Safety, has criminal repercussions for the CEO or business owner which ultimately means the possibility of jail if not implemented correctly. Employment Equity is then an “all or nothing” Act which must be followed to the letter in all of its many aspects.
The Employment Equity Act is not that difficult to follow and to understand what is required, at a glance. However it is the implementation and far reaching aspects of Employment Equity that makes the process difficult. If you happen to be a business with no human resources department, then this is something that you would definitely want to consider outsourcing because of all of the legal implications of the Act. Leaving Employment Equity to anyone whose job is not focused on H.R. or who doesn’t have an in-depth knowledge of equity is too risky as other tasks may end up taking precedence.
The Department of Labour wants to see that business owners and CEO’s are taking Employment Equity as seriously as they do. When the Department comes to your premises for an inspection, they will not leave any stone unturned and inspectors can spot a “front” very quickly. It’s certainly not the same as B-BBEE where companies have been caught out and taken to court for “fronting” but they do know when Employment Equity has been implemented as a “box ticking” exercise rather than with genuine desire for transformation. The Department is looking to see that Employment Equity is being addressed by management and the Employees alike. While a senior manager is appointed to oversee the implementation of Employment Equity in the workplace, it is highly recommended that all managers have Employment Equity as one of their KPI’s.
Not only does the Department want to see that managers are being held accountable for their role in Employment Equity within the organisation but they are also looking to see that employees are also being involved in the process. The Employment Equity Committee plays a vital role in this as they are mouth-piece for the rest of the employers and it is their task to provide information to the Employees about Employment Equity within the business as well as to field questions, distinguish between issues that are Employment Equity related and those that are not, as well as to identify any latent issues which may exist within the organisation. Together, managers and the Employment Equity committee are responsible for discussing and providing input to processes and procedures as well as remedies which will ultimately address imbalances.
Employees from every level within the organisation are require to play their part as well which means that they need to be informed and included regarding everything Employment Equity in nature. Education plays a big role here because while most employees are really great at their jobs, they are human resources professionals and so the onus is on the employer to provide appropriate training for both their staff and the committee members, on an on-going basis.
Employment Equity affects all areas of your business where people are involved which means any policies, procedures or practices which affect any staff member from the moment that they apply for a position at your workplace to the moment that they leave it.
KZNEIA has professional consultants who are able assist organisations with their Employment Equity needs.