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NCOP Briefed on Employment Equity Amendment Bill

November 22, 2021

Department of Employment and Labour

The employment and labour department has briefed the national council of provinces (NCOP) on the Employment Equity Amendment Bill.

The bill was tabled in parliament in July 2020.

The draft bill was published for comment in October 2018.

The explanatory summary was published in Government Gazette 43535.

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;
• provide criteria for the Minister to issue certificates; 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 portfolio committee on employment and labour called for comment on the bill at the end of 2020.

In a recent statement, the department indicated that its Employment Equity (EE) Directorate is gearing itself for the implementation and enforcement of the new Employment Equity Act once the parliamentary processes are finalised.

The committee adopted the bill at the end of August 2021 with amendments.

The national assembly (NA) passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence this week.

During the briefing to the select committee on trade and industry, economic development, small business development, tourism, employment and labour, the department pointed out that, in conjunction with the Commission for Employment Equity, a consultation process with each economic sector separately was initiated in 2019 with the aim of reaching consensus on the setting of EE sector specific targets for the designated groups, particularly at the top four occupational levels, namely, Top Management; Senior Management; Professionally Qualified and Skilled Technical level.

Meanwhile, the department also briefed the committee on the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Bill.

The NA passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in September 2021.

The bill was tabled in parliament in September 2020.

The bill’s explanatory summary was published in Government Gazette 43658 at the end of August 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 bill seeks to amend the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993, so as to:

• amend, substitute, insert, delete and repeal certain definitions and sections;
• provide for matters pertaining to the Board and its members;
• provide for the Commissioner to perform certain functions that were previously performed by the Director-General;
• further provide for matters pertaining to the rehabilitation, re-integration and return to work of occupationally injured and diseased employees;
• regulate the use of health care services;
• provide for the Commissioner to review pension claims or awards;
• provide for administrative penalties;
• regulate compliance and enforcement; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The portfolio committee on employment and labour called for comment on the bill in December 2020 and public hearings were held in April 2021.

The committee adopted the bill with amendments.