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

Code of Good Practice

Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of the Employment Equity Plan (EE Plan)

6. Process for Constructing Plan

6.1.2 Communication, Awareness and Consultation


When communicating on matters concerning employment equity, it is important to take special care that the content is communicated in clear and easily understood language to provide the entire workforce reasonable opportunity to grasp the content and subsequent rights. All employees should be made aware and informed of—
(a) The objectives, content and application of the Act, its regulations and Codes of good practice in preparation for their participation, including consultation.
(b) Matters relating to the identification, prohibition and elimination of unfair discrimination and affirmative action to achieve equality and diversity in the workplace.
(c) The proposed process to be followed by the employer.
(d) The advantages to employees for participation in the process.
(e) The need for the involvement of all stakeholders in order to promote positive outcomes. Employers must consult with employees, both from designated and non-designated groups at all occupational levels in the organization, when conducting an analysis, preparing and implementing a plan and when submitting employment equity reports to the Department of Labour. Managers should be informed of their obligations in terms of the Act, and training should be provided to them where particular skills do not exist, e.g. diversity management, coaching and mentoring. Communication on employment equity should focus on positive outcomes, including the better utilization of all of the employer’s human resources and the creation of a diverse and more productive workforce. Consultation with employees should commence as early as possible in the process, which should involve:
(a) An employer establishing a consultative forum or using an existing forum to consult with employees on employment equity matters.
(b) Employee representatives and trade unions reflecting the interests of employees from both designated and non-designated groups and across all occupational levels of the workforce.
(c) Where the employer does not have representatives from a specific group, a member of the forum can be assigned to represent the interest of such groupings/ constituency until such time a representative is nominated.
(d) Representative trade unions, where these exist, or representatives nominated by such trade unions must be included in the consultation process.
(e) The employer should be represented by one or more members of senior management in the forum. Consultation would include—
(a) Reasonable opportunity for employee representatives to meet with the employer to consult on the conducting of an analysis, development of a plan and the submitting of reports to the Department of Labour.
(b) The opportunity for both employer and employee representatives to provide feedback to their respective constituencies.
(c) The request, receipt and consideration of relevant information.
(d) The allocation of adequate time for each of the steps to be completed. Regular (at least quarterly), structured and scheduled meetings must be held and the deliberations properly recorded to ensure a constructive and well-informed process. Employee representatives must be allowed time to effectively participate in the consultation process. The disclosure of relevant information by designated employers is vital for the successful implementation of the EE Plan, which should include—
(a) the extent to which suitably qualified people from and amongst the different designated groups are equitably represented within each occupational level in that employer’s workforce in relation to the demographic profile of the national and regional (provincial) economically active population.
(b) steps taken by a designated employer to train suitably qualified people from the designated groups.
(c) steps to be taken by a designated employer to recruit and promote persons from the designated groups to implement its EE Plan.
(d) the extent to which the designated employer has made progress in eliminating employment barriers that adversely affect people from designated groups.
(e) steps taken by an employer to appoint and retain suitably qualified people from the designated groups.
(f) steps taken by the designated employer to provide reasonable accommodation for suitably qualified people from the designated groups. Where a representative or trade union refuses to take part in the consultation process, the employer should record the circumstances in writing and a copy of this document should be provided to the representative or trade union concerned.