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Amendments to the Employment Equity Act

Fiona Leppan

Section 27 of the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of 1998 (EEA) regulates the statement/report an employer has to submit when reporting in terms of s21(1) on the remuneration and benefits received in each occupational level of that employer's workforce. This is done in accordance with, and as prescribed by, the Employment Conditions Commission (ECC) established by s59 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).

The only amendments to s27 were the heading, subsection 1 and 2.

The old s27 only focuses on the issue of disproportionate income differentials and that the designated employer had to take steps to rapidly reduce these, subject to guidance as may have been given by the minister.

The amended s27 now not only places the onus on the employer to reduce disproportionate income differentials rapidly but adds the words 'unfair discrimination' by virtue of difference in terms and conditions of employment as contemplated in s6(4).

The rest of the section - from subsection 4 to 6 - remains the same.

Subsection 4 sets out, but doesn't limit, the measures the employer can take to reduce any disproportionate income differentials or unfair discrimination - on the terms and conditions of employment – rapidly, namely:

  • Collective bargaining,
  • Compliance with sectoral determinations made by the minister in terms of s51 of the BCEA,
  • Applying the norms and benchmarks set by the ECC, and
  • Relevant measures contained in skills development legislation.

Sections 5 to 6 set out that the ECC must research and investigate the norms and benchmarks for proportionate income differentials and advise the minister on appropriate measures for reducing disproportionate differentials. The commission may not disclose any information pertaining to individual employees or employers. The only instance where information can be disclosed is when parties to a collective bargaining process request the information contained in the statement submitted by the employer. This request is, however, subject to s16(4) and (5) of the Labour Relations Act, No 66 of 1995 that regulates confidential information that an employer does not have to disclose to a trade union.

It would therefore be best to act proactively if the employer notices any form of disproportionate income differentials or potential unfair discrimination.

Source: SA Labour News

Fiona Leppan is a director in the employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. She has extensive experience in the field of employee relations both from a litigation perspective and in terms of strategic planning. Fiona has approximately 30 years’ experience in the field and holds a BA LLB HDip (advanced company law) from the University of the Witwatersrand as well as a certificate in mining and prospecting law (distinction) from the Mandela School of Law.
Benjamin Cripps is a candidate attorney in the employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. He joined the firm at the beginning of 2014 after completing his LLB at the University of Johannesburg.