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Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998)

Code of Good Practice

Employment of Persons with Disabilities

16. Employment equity planning in respect of persons with disabilities


16.1 The Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of Employment Equity Plans provides guidelines to employers and employees.14 This Code spells out additional measures to ensure that persons with disabilities who are suitably qualified for a job can enjoy equal opportunities and are equitably represented in the workforce.


16.2 Further guidance is also provided in the Code of Good Practice for Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of Employment Equity Plans on how to conduct an analysis and develop and employment equity plan in templates annexed to the Employment Equity Regulations.


16.3 When designated employers are consulting in terms of section 16 of the Employment Equity Act, 1998 they should use the opportunity to heighten the awareness of their employees of the value and importance of recruiting and retaining the employees who have  disabilities.


16.4 When an employer facilitates the establishment of a consultative forum in terms of section 16(1)(a) and (b) of the Act15, the employer should take specific steps to promote the representation of employees with different disabilities in the forum.


16.5 If people with disabilities are under-represented in all occupational levels and categories in the workplace, the employer could seek guidance from organisations that represent persons with disabilities or relevant experts, for example in vocational rehabilitation and occupational therapy.


16.6 When designated employers are compiling their workplace profile in terms of Section 19 of the Act, employees with disabilities, including persons with non-visible disabilities, may choose to either:
(a) not disclose their disability status; or
(b) disclose their disability openly to their employer; or
(c) disclose their disability in a confidential way which assures confidentiality of their identity and their impairment and any disability related accommodation that may be requested and/or required.


16.7 The workplace profile should include any employees who are not in active employment; for example, employees who are receiving total or partial income replacement benefits while recovering from illness or disability.


16.8 When designated employers are setting targets, they must aim to recruit and promote and retain persons with disabilities at all occupational levels, as persons with disabilities are often employed in low status work and tend to be promoted less often than employees without disabilities.


16.9 If employees with disabilities are concentrated in particular occupational levels, the employer should consider if its criteria for selection or performance standards could be adapted to facilitate employees with disabilities being employed in different levels.


16.10 Employers should regularly evaluate the relationship between employees and the working environment, and where necessary provide appropriate programmes to prevent injury, illness and disability and promote health and safety at work.


16.11 Employers should also adopt and implement the 'Universal Design'16 concept to promote accessibility to their goods and services.



14 See also Code of Good Practice on the Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of Employment Equity Plans.


15 Section 16(1) states that "A designated employer must take reasonable steps to consult and attempt to reach agreement on the matters referred to in section 17 - (a) with a representative trade union representing members at the workplace and its employees or representatives nominated by them; or (b) if no representative trade union represents members at the workplace, with its employees or representatives nominated by them.


16 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2007 defines "Universal Design" as the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design "Universal Design" shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed."