Employment equity policy requirements

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There are regulations that companies must adhere to in order to ensure compliance however many fail to meet these legal requirements which leads to costly and time consuming labour action. Des Squire provides guidelines to ensure employers meet the necessary requirements.


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The recent report presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour in Cape Town indicated there was a lack of will to transform companies in south Africa. In addition the report highlighted the need for companies not only to have an EE policy and plan but also to ensure the policy was adhered to.
The Director-Generals Review on labour has shown that there was no commitment from top management of corporate South Africa to address prevailing inequities in the workplace.

"Most companies we have reviewed have no equity plans. There seems to be commitment to keep more blacks at lower levels. There are no specific plans, but instead we find wishful statements of intent. To make matters worse some companies submit thumb-sucked reports prepared by consultants. If there was a will and commitment to implementation of equity, we could easily see results within three years,' she said.

Many readers will probably think - "Here we go again' - but in reality the review is factual. It is no thumb suck or figment of someone’s imagination. Many of the companies I deal with pay lip service to rules and regulations. Many have no policies or procedures in place. In this instance I am not just referring to EE policies I am referring to company policies and procedures in general.
Current legislation sets out various regulations that companies must be adhered to in order to ensure compliance with Labour Relations Act, Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Employment Equity Act, Skills Development and Skills Development levies Act and so on. As a result it is essential to ensure
1. Your managers and supervisors understand and have a thorough working knowledge of your company specific policies, procedures, disciplinary process, grievance policy and the various codes of conduct.
2. Your managers are in fact complying with, enforcing and applying the various policies as applicable.
3. Your managers and supervisors know how to administer the disciplinary process and procedures fairly (both in terms of procedure and substance) and in accordance with your company specific policy.
4. Your employees are all familiar with the company specific code of conduct, disciplinary policy and procedure, grievance policy, the various other codes and so on. It is not sufficient for employees to have received copies of the various policies and procedures - your company must ensure they understand these policies and procedures and in addition receive training to ensure common understanding. In other words, all employees must understand policies and procedures etc the same way you do.
5. In terms of legislation (EE and SD Acts), if you are a compliant employer you must establish a Skills Development Forum and an Employment Equity Forum and the members must be trained in terms of their functions, duties and responsibilities
Many companies fail to meet these legal requirements leading to unnecessary labour and or CCMA action which are both costly and time consuming. The problem is compounded by the fact that some of the legislation has changed or is likely to change in the near future.
In addition to the EE and Skills Development policies companies should also have an Aids Policy, Cell phone policy, Code of Business ethics, Grievance policy, E-communications policy, Incapacity policy, OHS Policy, Overtime policy, Patent and intellectual property policy, Poor performance policy, Sexual harassment policy, Study policy, Smoking policy, Travel Policy, Dress code and so on. What is more important is that these policies are adhered to and strictly enforced and monitored by management.
So as pointed out in the report, it is not sufficient to have an EE policy and plan it is essential it is adhered to and monitored. This would normally be done by the members of the EE committee. The EE Committee is also a requirement in terms of the EE ACT, as is the need for a skills development committee, but many companies do not or have not bothered about this. Now is the time to audit your company in terms of compliance and to ask yourself are you committed to adhering to the legalities or merely paying lip service? I trust this is food for thought?
Des Squire is the Managing Member of AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc. For more information contact 011 609 6745 or email [email protected]

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