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Labour Migration Policy in the Pipeline

May 17, 2021

Department of Employment and Labour

A National Employment Policy and Labour Migration Policy will be finalized in 2021 for public comment.

The employment and labour minister, Thulas Nxesi, confirmed this during the employment and labour department’s 2021/22 budget vote speech in parliament.

Reference was also made to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill tabled in parliament in September 2020.

Cabinet approved the bill in March 2020 for tabling in parliament.

Cabinet described the bill as extending coverage for occupational injuries and diseases to previously excluded vulnerable workers as well as the improvement of compensation benefits to employees in general.

The cabinet statement added that the bill now includes, amongst others, domestic workers under the category of employees for purposes of benefits in terms of the act.

It also proposes the rehabilitation and reintegration framework of injured and/or diseased employees into the workplace.

The minister also highlighted the Employment Equity Amendment Bill currently before the portfolio committee on employment and labour.

The bill was tabled in parliament in July 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Employment Equity Act, 1998, so as to:

• amend a definition;
• insert certain definitions, to substitute a definition and to delete a definition;
• provide for the Minister to identify sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The proposed legislation will empower the labour minister to determine sectoral numerical targets in order to ensure the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups (blacks, women and persons with disabilities) at all occupational levels in the workforce.

It also seeks to enhance the administration of the act including the implementation of section 53 that provides for the issuing of a certificate by the minister confirming an employer’s compliance with Chapter II, or Chapters II and III, of the act, as the case may be, in relation to the conclusion of State Contracts.

The bill also aims to remove the requirement for psychological testing and similar assessments of employees to be certified by the Health Professions Council of South Africa and to remove a provision empowering non-designated employers to notify the Director-General of the labour department that they intend to voluntarily comply with Chapter III of the act as if they were a designated employer.

The minister also pointed out that NEDLAC’s priorities in the current year include the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan with a focus on energy security, localisation, improving public transport, the movement of freight and enabling small business development, as well as the roll-out of the vaccination campaign in workplaces.