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Revealed: Why the Employment Equity Act draft regulations are 'controversial'

by , 28 March 2014
There's been a lot of criticism directed at the Employment Equity Act draft regulations which are currently open for public comment. But, the reality is that a lot of employers don't really understand what the uproar is about. Continue reading as we explain the debate regarding the Employment Equity Act draft regulations.

The controversy regarding the Employment Equity Act draft regulations explained

The Employment Equity Act draft regulations, which were gazetted by the Department of Labour last month, state that when determining targets companies that employ more than 150 people have to use:

  • The 'national economically active population' demographics for three upper levels (top and senior management and professionally qualified).
  • And an average of national and regional demographics for the three lower levels (skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled technical) as a guide...

The draft regulations go on to say that companies that employ less than 150 people have to use the 'national economically active population' demographics for two upper levels and an average of national and the regional demographic for four lower levels.

So where does the problem come in?

The Mail & Guardian explains that the problem with these draft regulations is that 'if companies are eventually required to apply national demographics, worthy candidates who were disadvantaged under apartheid because of their race perversely face a similar disadvantage. This is, of course, unless they opt to move to another province.'

According to the article, the effect in provinces such as the Western Cape, where regional demographics differ starkly from national ones, could negatively distort hiring practices and, as the FW de Klerk Foundation argued in a recent statement, place a further burden on small businesses already struggling with red tape.

In the province, coloured people account for 51% of the economically active population (EAP) but less than 11% nationally, according to figures from the Commission for Employment Equity. Similarly, in KwaZulu-Natal, Indian people make up almost 12% of the EAP but nationally account for only 3%.

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Tips, Tools & advice to implement Employment Equity in your company

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Employment Equity Act draft regulations could be unconstitutional

We reported, not so long ago that some legal experts say the Employment Equity Act draft regulations could be unconstitutional as they're aimed at giving Africans a special leg-up in the employment market above coloureds and Indians in professional, senior and top management positions.

An interesting twist to the whole saga is that even provincial arms of the ANC believe the regulations are flawed and intend to challenge them, says the Mail & Guardian.

Prior to this, the DA was the only party that had indicated that it wants to challenge the regulations in court.

Now that you understand why the Employment Equity Act draft regulations are being opposed, find out about the other key changes to the Act here.



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