The Commission for Employment Equity (CEE), as per Section 30 of the Employment Equity Act of 1998 (the EEA), is mandated to advise the Minister on Codes of Good Practice, Regulations, Policy and any other matter concerning the EEA.
The CEE recognises the impact of COVID-19 on the various sectors of the economy, including the threat posed by the pandemic on economic growth, job creation and retention. The CEE acknowledges the fact that it will be business unusual as all organisations continue to grapple with various COVID-19 responses and recovery plans with regard to business continuity. Therefore, in the midst of all the organisational configuration processes, the CEE concedes that it would be inevitable that the achievement of the initially planned annual employment equity targets would not be left unaffected.
In response to the inevitable consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on organisations and, in particular, on the implementation of employment equity in various workplaces, the CEE request all designated employers to take into account the following guidelines:
- all employers are reminded that they are still legally obliged to comply with all the provisions of all employment laws during their organisational restructuring and/ or configuration processes to ensure that there is no unfair treatment and/ or unfair discrimination policies and practices against all employees;
- all designated employers are requested to strive not to reverse the previously attained transformation gains, including to achieve, where reasonably practical, their initially planned annual EE targets for 2020. In instances where it is practically not possible to maintain and achieve the initially planned EE targets, employers may consider reviewing and amending their EE Plans in consultation with the EE Consultative Forums (Sections 16 read with 17 of the EEA), but must document all the reasons for the changes as prescribed in the Employment Equity Regulations, 2014;
- all designated employers are still required to submit their annual EE Reports as prescribed by Section 21 of the EEA and the EE Regulations, 2014 from 1 September 2020 until 15 January 2021. This EE data is critical in assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the transformation agenda of the labour market and society as a whole. There is no legal provision for exemptions, condonations or appeals in the EEA for submission of EE Reports.
- in instances where designated employers are unable to submit an EE Report as per Section 21 of the EEA, such an employer must notify the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour in writing with reasons before the last working day of August 2020, as prescribed by Section 21(4A) of the EE Amendment Act, 2013 and the EEA14 form in the EE Regulations, 2014; and
- the reasons that can be advanced as per the EEA14 form include Section 197 of the LRA, mergers/ acquisitions, Labour Court Order, liquidations/ judicial winding down; insolvency and/or any other reasons (e.g. employer no longer designated because of size and/ or turnover, or the company has closed due to retrenchments and/or the company is under business rescue, etc.).
All completed EEA14 forms must be accompanied by supporting documentation and must be emailed to email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com before the last working day of August 2020.
CEFA is available to assist members on how to process these notifications and on how to complete the EEA14 Form.