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Employment Equity Amendment Act
2013/2014 heralded major amendments to the Employment Equity Act.  The amended Employment Equity Act, no. 47 of 2013 is also accompanied by draft regulations, which were released by the Minister of Labour for public comment on 28th February 2014.  These regulations include guidelines on dealing with issues of equal pay for work of equal value.

AMENDMENTS TO THE EE ACT:

The following changes were introduced in the EE Amendment Act, 2013:
  • The extension of the definition of “designated group”
  • Reporting is streamlined to focus only on levels
  • Discrimination on the grounds of pay/remuneration/benefits is prohibited
  • Discrimination on ‘arbitrary grounds’ was added
  • Lower-paid employees (covered by BCEA) can approach the CCMA to address unfair discrimination
  • Unfair discrimination based on sexual harassment can now be referred to the CCMA
  • All employers will now report annually
  • The draft regulations contain proposals on how employers can approach the vexing issue of balancing national and regional demographics of the Economically Active Population
  • More robust fines are introduced for non-compliance (R1.5 million – R2.7 million).
  • For more serious violations the turnover threshold applies (2% - 10%)
  • Failure to comply after 180 days can now result in a direct appeal to the Labour Court
  • Trebling of fines for breach of confidentiality, undue influence, obstruction, fraud
 
Your EE Report is due on 1 October

Your EE Report is due on 1 October…
a fine of up to R2 700 000 or 10% of your revenue
if you don’t comply!


The 1st of October seems far away and you think there’s plenty of time to complete your EE Report.

Think again!
Completing the Employment Equity forms appropriately is no easy feat and you WILL be fined for non-compliance. But don’t stress, your HR Consultant is up to date on the latest developments and she’ll ensure your forms are in line with the new EE Regulations and all the latest EE changes – first time, on time!
 
Gender empowerment Bill would contribute toward the proliferation of ineffective laws
The WEGE Bill aims to ensure the equal participation of women in social, political and economic structures of society by providing for women’s empowerment and gender mainstreaming in the public and private sectors and civil society, and eliminating detrimental cultural, economic, social and traditional practices against women. While welcoming the WEGE Bill’s important goals, the Open Letter registers concern with the flaws in the Bill. The following concerns are highlighted:
  • The rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons, widows and disabled women are ignored, even though it is mentioned in the preamble and the Green Paper that preceded the Bill.
  • It fails to recognise the multi-levels of discrimination based on race, class, and sexual orientation that women face, and how these intersect to create embedded disadvantage for women.
  • The Bill’s good intentions will be defeated through the vague, overbroad and punitive formulation of provisions imposing obligations on ‘entities’ (affected bodies) to take measures to empower women. The Bill provides the Minister the power to penalise offenders of gender equality objectives and it will in effect need to create a super ministry to police offenders who could face a maximum prison sentence of five years. Criminal sanctions are not suited to all instances and it is not clear how it will assist in engendering gender mainstreaming in the long run. Ultimately, these sanctions are not likely to pass constitutional muster.
  • The role of the Ministry as set out in the Bill, duplicates that of other existing mechanisms such as the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE).
  • Further the law will overlap with the law already in place that address gender inequality eg the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA), Act  No 4 of 2000, which our courts have used. Commentators have questioned whether sufficient State capacity exists to monitor compliance with equality plans and progress reports in PEPUDA. Similarly, it is not clear how the Minister will have capacity to monitor compliance in the WEGE Bill, considering her current constraints with human and financial resources.
  • The vagueness of its measures to empower women through equal representation and participation. The provision dealing with quotas are unclear and vague, and although mandatory, the Bill does not provide for an offence for non-compliance. The equal participation and representation clause is based on a ‘progressive realisation’ standard, with no end-date specified.
Agenda and other concerned organisations have called on the Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities to focus attention of the implementation of existing gender inequality legislation before implementing new legislation to mainstream women’s empowerment and gender equality.

An Open Letter submission to the Minister on the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill (WEGE) (2012), raises critical concerns regarding the flaws in the Bill which will make it not only impossible to implement but that could possibly undermine and impede progress towards the achievement of gender equality.

A decision was taken by organisations and gender activists at the Agenda Feminist Dialogue held on 12th April 2013 in Durban, to register the concerns relating to the Bill that were raised during open discussion in an Open Letter to the Minister. Civil society organisations and individuals have added their support to the Open Letter submission sent to the Minister.

The Minister is urged to rather assess the progress that has been made with the implementation of existing laws that are on the statute book that address gender inequalities.

The concerns raised in the Open Letter reiterate those raised by the Gender, Health & Justice Research Unit, University of Cape Town (GHJRU) in a submission made on the Bill to the Ministry to address gaps in the existing laws, in particular on termination of pregnancy, equality, labour, domestic violence, sexual offences, maintenance and customary marriages that are mostly due to problems with implementation, not a lack of a progressive framework of legislation. The Minister should, therefore, focus on providing active support measures to support these departments and institutions in addressing the gaps (i.e. resource constraints, inaccessible complaints mechanisms and lack of training) instead of needlessly duplicating efforts.

It concludes that “In the context of scarce resources and gaps in the implementation of existing gender equality legislation, the proposed WEGE Bill would do little to advance gender equality and would contribute toward the proliferation of ineffective laws.”
 
Is your company not big enough for an entire HR department


Is your company not big enough for an entire HR department - with this resource, you don’t need one!


Just because your company doesn’t have an entire HR department doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with issues like:
Employees who surf the Internet for personal reasons;
A team who’s become despondent because they didn’t meet their monthly target;
A co-worker who's absent almost every Monday.


The pressure of doing your job grows with every passing moment

And if you don’t deal with these issues correctly, there’s a chance you could end up at the CCMA or labour court. Or worse – get fired! So what do you do when it’s your responsibility to…
  • Motivate staff?
  • Deal with poor performance?
  • Keep up to date with changing legislation?
  • Implement legal disciplinary processes?
  • Recruit star performers?
  • Reduce absenteeism?
  • Develop skills?
The list goes on! And when your boss says the company’s too small to employ an HR department, all these issues become your responsibility.

What if I told you we can give you access to a resource that’s always up to date to tell you exactly how to:
Implement an internet usage policy;
Encourage peak performance;
Stop absenteeism in 4 easy steps.
And much, much more!


It’s like an entire HR Department at your fingertips

Don’t let the size of your company be the reason for not complying with legislation. To find out how you can access resources which are “of valuable help”, “excellent” and “peace of mind”.
 
The Protection of Personal Information Bill
The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Bill has been passed by parliament on 11 April 2014, and it is just a matter of time before it is passed into law.

Is Your Company POPI Compliant?

POPI sets into law, what you can and can’t do with private information. The aim of this well considered legislation is to ensure that all private information is treated with the respect that it deserves. POPI brings South Africa into line with international best practice and will help to eliminate the confusion with regards to dealing with people’s information. We will soon have a law to follow in our business communication and marketing. Failure to comply with this legislation could result in:
  • Fines of up to R10m
  • Jail for up to 10 years
  • Irreparable reputational damage for your company
As with all legislation, there will be a race between the justice system and prominent law firms to create the first scapegoat. You will have one year to comply with all of facets of POPI. You don’t have a long time to get to grips with POPI.

DO YOU HAVE THE CORRECT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES IN PLACE?
Contact CharDes and Associates, we would gladly assist you with customising your Policies and Procedures to comply with legislation.
 
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