Whilst we are all coming to grips with the contents of the newly minted Employment Equity Act it is worth remembering that the accompanying regulations have also come into effect on the 1st of August. To track the development of the regulations it is worth considering the following:
• The last time the regulations were amended was in 2009.
• Draft regulations were gazetted during the first quarter of the year. It was these regulations which introduced us to the concept of equal pay for work of equal value for the first time (read with the sweeping changes in the Act), as well as the hugely controversial utilisation of national and regional demographics for the purpose of the development of one’s employment equity plan in response to a workforce analysis.
• The regulations have now been finalized and gazetted on 1 August 2014. They replace the regulations from 2009.
What do the final regulations contain and how do they differ from what we had previously (2009 and draft regulations)? The real changes that we notice are the following:
1. Of huge significance is that the concept of equal work for work of equal value remains as well as the guidelines in terms of the assessment of work to determine whether a comparison can be made. This should not present any surprises as it effectively mirrors what we have in the new Act.
2. A notable omission is the reference to the utilisation of the national vs regional EAP when it comes to analysing one’s workforce against an objective standard. Our readers will recall the huge backlash to the draft regulations which presented this for the first time. This means that the status quo remains. A little grey with a good dollop of common sense – we simply ask you to be mindful of the recent judgments in this regard which we have previously covered here.
3. When compared to the 2009 regulations, the new regulations do make provision for amended annexures as well as new annexures. In an attempt to achieve uniformity, the regulations now contain as EEA13 a template for an Employment Equity Plan. The DOL can hardly complain if designated employers are utilising the template for the purpose of structure. Structure should drive the content. We are hoping this will result in a greater degree of substantive compliance.
Should you have any questions concerning the above including issues of practical implementation and interpretation, please do not hesitate to give us a call.