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Who is responsible for developing the Employment Equity Plan?

 The development of the Employment Equity Plan is the responsibility of a designated employer as provided for in Section 5, Section 13 and Section 20 of the Employment Equity Act, Act 55 of 1998. This, the employer does in consultation with its employees.

Section 5: Elimination of unfair discrimination

Every employer must take steps to promote equal opportunities in the workplace by eliminating unfair discrimination in any employment policy or practice..

Section 13: Duties of designated employers

(1)     Every designated employer must, in order to achieve employment equity, implement affirmative action measures for people from designated groups in terms of this Act.

(2)     A designated employer must –

a.       Consult with its employees

b.       Conduct and analysis

c.        Prepare an employment equity plan, and

d.       Report to the Director-General on progress made in implementing its employment equity plan.

Section 20: Employment Equity Plan

This section outlines what the contents of an Employment Equity Plan should be and, except where otherwise provided, it applies only to designated employers and their employees, particularly those employees from designated groups

Designated employers include:

  • Employers who employ 50 or more employees.

  • Employers who employ fewer than 50 employees, but has a total annual turnover that is equal to or above the applicable annual turnover of a small business in terms of Schedule 4 of the Employment Equity Act

  • An employer bound by a collective agreement, appointed as a designated employer in terms of the employment equity Act

  • Municipalities

  • Organs of state


Consultation with employees

A designated employer must consult with employees as follows, that is:

  • With a representative trade union representing members at the workplace and its employees or representatives nominated by them; or

  • If no representative trade union represents members at the workplace, with its employees or representatives nominated by them; and

  • These employees must reflect the interests of

    • Employees from across all occupational categories and levels of the employer’s workforce;

    • Employees from designated groups; and

    • Employees who are not from designated groups.

A designated employer consults with its employees, through a consultation structure that may be established in accordance with the guide provided above, when conducting an analysis, preparing and implementing the employment equity plan and reporting to the Director-General of Labour.

Employment Equity Plan

The employment equity plan of a designated employer must state the following aspects in order to achieve reasonable progress in the employer’s workforce, and they are:

  • The objectives to be achieved for each year of the plan;

  • The affirmative action measures to be implemented as prescribed in the Act (See Affirmative Action definitions);

  • Where underrepresentation of people from designated groups has been identified by the analysis, the numerical goals to achieve the equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups within each occupational category and level in the workforce, the timetable within which this is to be achieved, and the strategies intended to achieve those goals;

  • The timetable for each year of the plan for the achievement of goals and objectives other than numerical goals;

  • The duration of the plan, which may not be shorter than one year or longer than five years;

  • The procedures that will be used to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the plan and whether reasonable progress is being made towards implementing employment equity;

  • The internal procedures to resolve any dispute about the interpretation or implementation of the plan;

  • The persons in the workforce, including senior managers, responsible for monitoring and implementing the plan; and

  • Any other prescribed matter, and

    • An employment equity plan may contain any other measures that are consistent with the purpose of the Employment Equity Act.

An Employment Equity Plan of a designated employer must be made available to employees once agreed upon through the consultation process.


Designated groups

This means black people, women and people with disabilities. ‘Black people’ is a generic term which means, Africans, Coloureds and Indians.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action measures are measures designed to ensure that suitably qualified people from designated groups have equal employment opportunities and are equitably represented in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce of a designated employer.

Affirmative action measures must include –

  • Measures to identify and eliminate employment barriers, including unfair discrimination, which adversely affect people from designated groups

  • Measures designed to further diversity in the workplace based on equal dignity and respect of all people;

  • Making reasonable accommodation for people from designated groups in order to ensure that they enjoy equal opportunities and are equitably represented in the workforce of a designated employer; and

  • Ensure equitable representation of suitably qualified people from designated groups in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce; and

    • These measures include preferential treatment and numerical goals but exclude quotas.

  • Retain and develop people from designated groups and to implement appropriate training measures, including measures in terms of the Skills Development Act, Act 97 of 1998

Reasonable Accommodation

This means that ‘any modification or adjustment to a job or to the working environment that will enable a person from a designated group to have access to or participate or advance in employment’.

Suitably Qualified Person

This means that ‘a person may be suitably qualified for a job as a result of one, or any combination of that person’s –

  • Formal qualifications

  • Prior learning

  • Relevant experience; or

  • Capacity to acquire, within a reasonable time, the ability to do the job.

When determining whether a person is suitably qualified for a job, an employer must –

  • Review all the factors listed above;

  • Determine whether that person has the ability to do the job in terms of any one of, or any combination of these factors.

In making such a determination, an employer may not unfairly discrimination against a person solely on the grounds of that person’s lack of relevant experience.


his document is based on information available on the official Department of Labour website

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