The deadline for manual submission of Employment Equity Reports was 1 October. The Department of Labour expected a ‘record’ number of 16 000 Employment Equity Reports to be submitted by business owners this year, but this was an overestimation and hardly representative considering the number of organisations there are in South Africa.
The date for online submissions of the report is 15 January 2013, so it’s not too late for organisations to get to grips with the Employment Equity Act. It’s important to start now, however, especially if you don’t have an Employment Equity Plan in place.
When Marleen Potgieter and I teamed up to create e-learning courseware that simplifies the Act, we found that the best way to put it across was to keep it simple. We break EE reporting into five simple steps.
Employment Equity Plans vs. Employment Equity Reports
An Employment Equity Plan is a one- to five-year-plan that an organisation draws up which outlines the steps it’s going to take to comply with the government’s Employment Equity Act.
It includes details of the company policy and ways that your business is going to make sure there aren’t any barriers to employing women, people with disabilities, from different races, of different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs and sexual orientation.
Drawing it up is a process that takes some time and thought – it can’t be rushed.
The Directorate of Employment Equity in the Department of Labour also insists that, as part of the Employment Equity process, companies train staff on topics such as Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity, HIV and AIDS and Harassment and Bullying, including Sexual Harassment programs.
Due to operational reasons, for most companies, it is far easier to refer staff to self-help online training, for which they gain points at the end of the training.
An Employment Equity Report, on the other hand, is a report you send to the Department of Labour based on the progress you make following your Employment Equity Plan over a set period of time. If your Employment Equity Plan is in order, drawing up your report is a far simpler process.
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Who needs to draw up an Equity Report?
Every business that has an Employment Equity Plan needs to draw up an Equity Report. Companies that employ 50 or more staff members or who have an annual turnover more than the Employment Equity Act sets down for each industry are compelled to draw up Employment Equity Plans. This is what their Employment Equity Reports will be based on.
What if I don’t have an Employment Equity Plan?
If your business is new and without an Employment Equity Plan in place or if the plan has expired, drawing up a report can be somewhat complicated.
When the Employment Equity Act came into being in 1998, comprehensive plans were drawn up but were not followed through and eventually they expired. Employment Equity Plans can take between one and five years to expire, depending on the length of time they’re laid out for.
If an organisation doesn’t have an Employment Equity Plan or it has expired, it’s well worth hiring a consultancy to help put one in place quickly as there’s little time left before 1 October to compile the report.
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Filling in the form
Once you have an Employment Equity Plan in place, you’ll find putting your report together quite straightforward. The online Employment Equity Report is available on the Department of Labour website (labour.gov.za).
It’s divided into sections that allow you to report on your progress regarding your business’ goals when it comes to recruitment, promotion, skills development and other elements of your Employment Equity Plan. All you have to do is tick the relevant boxes.
You’ll find a number of useful forms, on the Department of Labour’s website. They can also be contacted on their helpline: 0860 10 10 18.