CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE:
IMPLEMENTATION, AND MONITORING OF EMPLOYMENT EQUITY PLANS
Notice is hereby given under Section 54 of the Employment Equity Act,
1998, that the Minister of Labour, having been advised by the Commission for
Employment Equity, has issued a Code of Good Practice on the preparation,
implementation and monitoring of an Employment Equity Plan, as set out in
Monitoring and evaluating the plan
- Legal Framework
Purpose and rationale for the plan
- Structure of
Process for constructing a plan
- Planning phase
The objective of this
code is to provide guidelines of
good practice, in terms of the requirements of the Employment Equity Act,
1998 (Act No 55 of 1998) (hereafter referred to as "the Act"), for the
preparation and implementation of an employment equity plan (hereafter
referred to as "the plan").
2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 This code is issued in
terms of Section 54 of the Employment Equity Act, No. 55 of 1998 and
relates to Section 20.
2.2 This code does not
impose any legal obligations in addition to those in the Act and the
failure to observe it does not, by itself, render a designated employer
liable in any proceedings, except where the code refers to obligations
that are required by the Act
2.3 When interpreting the
Act, any relevant code of good practice must be taken into account.
3.1 This code is relevant
to all employers that are regarded as designated employers in the Act.
3.2 Designated employers
and the employees of designated employers should apply the guidelines
set out in this code to develop their employment equity plans, taking
into account the specific circumstances of their own organisations.
3.3 This code may be read
in conjunction with other codes of good practice that may be issued by
the Minister of Labour.
4. PURPOSE AND RATIONALE FOR THE
4.1 The plan reflects a
designated employer’s employment equity implementation programme.
4.2 The plan represents the
critical link between the current workforce profile and possible
barriers in employment policies and procedures, and the implementation
of remedial steps to ultimately result in employment equity in the
5. STRUCTURE OF THE PLAN
5.1 The plan may be a
separate document or a component of a broader document such as a
5.2 In terms of the manner
in which it is set out, the plan may closely follow the sections of the
Act and the relevant items of the Code, or may be organised differently,
as long as the statutory requirements in Section 20 of the Act are
reflected in the plan.
5.3 The plan should be
accessible and structured in such a way that it is easy to understand.
6. PROCESS FOR CONSTRUCTING A
6.1 The development of a
plan should be undertaken as an inclusive process that will result in a
6.2 The process of
developing a plan has three sequential phases: planning, development,
and implementation and monitoring.
6.3 The planning phase of
the process should include –
- assignment of responsibility and accountability to one or more
- a communication, awareness and training programme;
- consultation with relevant stakeholders;
- an analysis of existing employment policies, procedures, and
- an analysis of the existing workforce profile;
- an analysis of relevant demographic information such as that
contained in form EEA 8, and
- an appropriate benchmarking exercise, such as comparing the
organisation’s workforce profile with those of other organisations
within the same sector, or the development of other meaningful
6.4 In the development
phase, in consultation with the identified role players, should include
- objectives set;
- corrective measures formulated;
- time frames established;
- the plan drawn up;
- resources identified and allocated for the implementation of the
- the plan communicated.
6.5 Implementation and
monitoring is an ongoing process and should continue to include
components of the earlier phases, such as consultation, communication,
awareness and training. This phase should include: –
- monitoring and evaluating progress;
- reviewing the plan, and
- reporting on progress.
7. PLANNING PHASE
7.1 Assignment of senior
manager (see 3)
7.1.1 The planning phase
should commence with the assignment of one or more senior managers who
should have the responsibility for the development, implementation and
monitoring of the plan. They should –
- be permanent employees, and
- report directly to the Chief Executive Officer.
7.1.2 The assignment of
one or more senior managers implies that –
- the employer should also provide the assigned managers with the
necessary authority and means, such as an appropriate budget, to
perform their allocated functions;
- the employer is not relieved of any duty imposed by this Act or
any other law, and
- the employer should take reasonable steps to ensure that these
managers perform their allocated functions. This could be done
through the incorporation of key employment equity outcomes in
performance contracts of the responsible managers as well as line
managers throughout the organisation.
7.2 Communication, Awareness and Consultation
All employees should be made
aware and informed of –
- the content and application of the Act as preparation for their
participation and consultation;
- employment equity and anti-discrimination issues;
- the proposed process to be followed by the employer;
- the advantages to employees of participation in the process, and
- the need for the involvement of all stakeholders in order to
promote positive outcomes.
7.2.2 Employers are
required to consult with regard to conducting an analysis, the
preparation and implementation of the plan, and the submission of
employment equity reports to the Department of Labour.
7.2.3 To ensure the
successful implementation of a plan, employers should make every effort
to include employee representatives in all aspects of the plan,
especially the planning and development phases.
7.2.4 Managers should be
informed of their obligations in terms of the Act, and training should
be provided to them where particular skills do not exist. Examples of
required training could include diversity management, coaching and
7.2.5 The communication
of an employment equity strategy should focus on positive outcomes, such
as the better utilisation of all of the employer’s human resources and
the creation of a diverse and more productive workforce.
should also include employees from non-designated groups5 and focus on
the contribution that can be made by them.
7.2.7 Consultation with
employees should commence as early as possible in the process.
7.2.8 A consultative
forum should be established or an existing forum utilised. The forum
should include employee representatives reflecting the interests of
employees from both designated and non-designated groups and across all
occupational categories and levels of the workforce. Representative
trade unions, where these exist, or representatives nominated by such
trade unions must be included in the consultation process.
7.2.9 The employer should
be represented by one or more members of senior management.
7.2.10 Consultation would
- the opportunity to meet and report back to employees and
- reasonable opportunity for employee representatives to meet with
- the request, receipt and consideration of relevant information,
- adequate time allowed for each of these steps.
7.2.11 To ensure an
informed and constructive consultation process, structured and regular
meetings of the consultative forum or forums should be held.
7.2.12 The disclosure of
relevant information by designated employers is vital for the successful
implementation of the plan. Such information could include –
- the particular business environment and circumstances of the
- information relating to the relevant economic sector or industry;
- relevant local, regional, and national demographic information
relating to the economically active population;
- the anticipated growth or reduction of the employer’s workforce;
- the turnover of employees in the employer’s workforce;
- the internal and external availability for appointment or
promotion of suitably qualified people from the designated groups;
- the degree of representation of designated employees in each
occupational category and level in the employer’s workforce, and
- employment policies and practices of the employer.
7.2.13 All parties
should, in all good faith, keep an open mind throughout the process and
seriously consider proposals put forward.
7.2.14 Where a
representative body or trade union refuses to take part in the
consultation process, the employer should record the circumstances, in
writing, including those steps that the employer has taken to
communicate and initiate the consultation process. A copy of this
document should be provided to the representative body or trade union
7.3 Conducting an analysis
The purpose of the
analysis is –
- to assess all
employment policies, practices, procedures, and the working
environment so as to –
- identify any barriers that may contribute to the
under-representation or under-utilisation of employees from the
- identify any barriers or factors that may contribute to the lack
of affirmation of diversity in the workplace;
- identify other employment conditions that may adversely affect
- identify practices or factors that positively promote employment
equity and diversity in the workplace; and
- to determine the extent of under-representation of employees from
the designated groups in the different occupational categories and
levels of the employer’s workforce.
While the first type of analysis is of a more qualitative and legal
nature, the second is mainly a statistical and data processing exercise.
7.3.1 Review of
employment policies, practices, procedures, and working environment
A review of all
employment policies, practices, procedures, and of the working
environment should be undertaken in order to identify any barriers that
may be responsible for the under-representation or under-utilisation of
employees from designated groups.
- The review should
include a critical examination of all established policies,
practices, procedures and working environment. These would include –
- employment policy or practices, such as recruitment, selection,
pre-employment testing, and induction that could be biased,
inappropriate, or unaffirming;
- practices related to succession and experience planning, and
related promotions and transfers to establish whether designated
groups are excluded or adversely impacted;
- utilisation and job assignments to establish whether designated
groups are able to meaningfully participate and contribute;
- current training and development methodologies and strategies,
including access to training for designated groups;
- remuneration structures and practices such as equal remuneration
for work of equal value;
- employee benefits related to retirement, risk, and medical aid
to establish whether designated groups have equal access;
- disciplinary practices that may have a disproportionately
adverse effect on designated groups and that may not be justified;
- working conditions that may not accommodate cultural or
religious differences, such as the use of traditional healers and
observance of religious holidays;
- the number and nature of dismissals, voluntary terminations and
retrenchments of employees from designated groups that may indicate
internal or external equity-related factors contributing to such
- corporate culture, which may be characterised by exclusionary
social and other practices;
- practices relating to the management of HIV/AIDS in the
workplace, to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS are not
discriminated against, and
- any other practices or conditions that are tabled arising out of
the consultative process.
- All practices should
be assessed in terms of cross-cultural and gender fairness.
- The review should take
into account more subtle or indirect forms of discrimination and
stereo-typing which could result in certain groups of people not
being employed in particular jobs, or which could preclude people
from being promoted. Examples would include pregnancy, family
responsibility (see 7), exclusionary social
practices, sexual harassment, and religious or cultural beliefs and
7.3.2 Workforce profile
- The first step in
conducting an analysis of the workforce profile is to establish
which employees are members of designated groups. This information
should be obtained from employees themselves, either from a
declaration as provided for in Regulation 2(1) or from existing and
dependable sources. An example of an existing and dependable source
would be an employer’s database that contains the information
required on employment application forms. If such existing records
are utilised for this purpose, each employee should have the
opportunity to verify or request changes to this information.
- An analysis of the
workforce profile should provide a comparison of designated groups
by occupational categories and levels to relevant demographic data.
Form EEA 8 contains some demographic data for this purpose, but
there are many other sources of information that could be utilised
and might be more relevant.
- In addition to the
demographics, both the availability of suitably qualified people
from designated groups in the relevant recruitment area, as well as
the internal skills profile of designated employees, should be taken
into account. The ‘relevant recruitment area’ is that geographic
area from which the employer would reasonably be expected to draw or
- Recruitment areas may
vary depending upon the level of responsibility and the degree of
specialisation of the occupation. Usually, the higher the degree of
responsibility or specialisation required for the job, the broader
the recruitment area.
- The standard
occupational classification as defined in form EEA 10 should form
the basis for determining occupational categories. Occupational
levels could be determined by any of the professional job grading
systems (Paterson, Peromnes, Hay, etc.) or their equivalents as
detailed in form EEA 9. In the absence of a formal job grading
system, designated employers may use equivalent occupational levels
as the basis for the workforce analysis.
- Sections B and C of
the Employment Equity Report as defined by form EEA 2 should guide
employers in establishing information requirements to develop a
plan, and provide the basis for developing a workforce profile
DEVELOPING THE PLAN
8.1 Duration of the plan
The duration of the plan
should be for a period that will allow the employer to make reasonable
progress towards achieving employment equity. This period should be no
shorter than one year and no longer than five years, as specified in the
8.2 Broad objectives of the plan
The broad objectives of
the plan should be specified and a timetable developed for the
fulfilment of each objective. These objectives should:
- take into account the output of the planning phase;
- the particular circumstances of the employer, and
- be aligned with and included in the broader business strategy of the
8.3 Affirmative action measures
8.3.1 Affirmative action
measures, to address the barriers identified during the analysis, should
be developed to improve the under-representation of designated group
members. Such measures relate to, but are not limited to the following:
from designated groups
- Appointment of members from designated groups
This would include transparent recruitment strategies such
as appropriate and unbiased selection criteria and selection panels,
and targeted advertising.
- Increasing the pool of available candidates
Community investment and bridging programmes can increase
the number of potential candidates.
- Training and development of people from designated groups
These measures include access to training by members of
designated groups, structured training and development programmes
like learnerships and internships; on the job mentoring and
coaching, and accelerated training for new recruits. Where
required, diversity training should be provided to responsible
managers as well as training in coaching and mentoring skills.
- Promotion of people from designated groups
This could form part of structured succession and
experience planning and would include appropriate and accelerated
- Retention of people from designated groups
Retention strategies would include the promotion of a more
diverse organisational culture; an interactive communication and
feedback strategy; and ongoing labour turnover analysis.
- Reasonable accommodation
These measures include providing an enabling environment for
disabled workers and workers with family responsibilities so that
they may participate fully and, in so doing, improve productivity.
Examples of reasonable accommodation are accessible working areas,
modifications to buildings and facilities, and flexible working
hours where these can be accommodated.
Steps to ensure that members of designated groups are
appointed in such positions that they are able to meaningfully
participate in corporate decision-making processes
A conscious effort should be made to avoid all forms of
tokenism. Candidates must be appointed with commensurate degrees of
Steps to ensure that the corporate culture of the past is
transformed in a way that affirms diversity in the workplace and
harnesses the potential of all employees
Such steps could include programmes for all staff,
including management, contextualising employment equity and
sensitising employees with regard to the grounds of discrimination
such as race, diversity, gender, disability, and religious
Any other measures arising out of the consultative process
8.3.2 All corrective
measures to eliminate any barriers identified during the analysis should
be specified in the plan.
8.3.3 The employer is
under no obligation to introduce an absolute barrier relating to people
who are not from designated groups, for example having a policy of not
considering white males at all for promotion or excluding them from
applying for vacant positions.
8.4 Numerical goals
8.4.1 Numerical goals
should be developed for the appointment and promotion of people from
designated groups. The purpose of these goals would be to increase the
representation of people from designated groups in each occupational
category and level in the employer’s workforce, where
under-representation has been identified and to make the workforce
reflective of the relevant demographics as provided for in form EEA 8.
8.4.2 In developing the
numerical goals, the following factors should be taken into
- The degree of under-representation of employees from designated
groups in each occupational category and level in the employer’s
- present and planned vacancies;
- the provincial and national economically active population as
presented in form EEA 8;
- the pool of suitably qualified persons from designated groups,
from which the employer may be reasonably expected to draw for
- present and anticipated economic and financial factors relevant to
the industry in which the employer operates;
- economic and financial circumstances of the employer;
- the anticipated growth or reduction in the employer’s workforce
during the time period for the goals;
- the expected turnover of employees in the employer’s workforce
during the time period for the goals, and
- labour turnover trends and underlying reasons, specifically for
employees from designated groups.
In setting objectives and
developing corrective measures, parties to the consultative processes
should attempt to reach consensus on what would constitute reasonable
progress over the duration of the plan.
budgets, should be appropriately allocated in order to implement the
agreed components of the plan.
8.7 Assignment of
implementation and monitoring of the plan, as assigned during the
planning phase, should be confirmed and noted.
8.8 Dispute Resolution
8.8.1 Internal procedures
for resolving any dispute about the interpretation and implementation of
the plan should be agreed and specified.
8.8.2 The use of existing
dispute resolution procedures should be encouraged provided that they
are appropriate, and if necessary adapted to the needs of employment
8.8.3 Alternatively, a
mechanism with appropriate representation from employer
and employees may be established in order to address and resolve such
8.9.1 The plan should be
appropriately and comprehensively communicated to employees. This
communication mechanism should indicate the parties responsible for the
implementation of the plan and the agreed dispute resolution procedures.
Information about the plan should be easily accessible to all levels of
9. MONITORING AND EVALUATING THE
9.1 Records should be kept
to effectively monitor and evaluate the plan.
9.2 Mechanisms to monitor
and evaluate the implementation of the plan should be agreed and include
benchmarks that would permit assessment of reasonable progress.
9.3 The plan should be
evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that reasonable progress is
made. This evaluation should be integrated into mechanisms that the
employer normally utilises to monitor its operations.
9.4 The consultative
forum(s) should continue to meet on a regular basis, and should receive
progress reports. Progress should be recorded and communicated to
employees. Such meetings should take place at reasonable intervals to
ensure feedback and inform the ongoing implementation process.
9.5 The plan should be
reviewed and revised, as necessary, through consultation.
9.6.1 Larger employers,
with 150 or more employees, will be required to submit first reports by
1 June 2000 and thereafter annually on the first working day of October,
starting in 2001.
9.6.2 Smaller employers,
with fewer than 150 employees, will be required to submit their first
reports by 1 December 2000 and thereafter every second year, on the
first working day of October, starting in 2002.
9.6.3 The reporting
format for employers is contained in the Employment Equity Report as
defined in form EEA2.
employers whose operations extend across different geographical areas,
functional units, workplaces or industry sectors may elect to submit
either a consolidated or a separate report for each of these. This
decision should be made by employers after consultation with the
- Section 3(c) of the Act
- See the definition of "designated employer" in the Act.
- See section 24 of the Act.
- See sections 16 and 17 of the Act.
- See the definition of "designated groups" in the Act.
- See section 19 of the Act.
- See the definition of "family responsibility " in the Act.
- See section 20(2)(e) of the Act.
- See sections 15 and 20(2)(b) of the Act.
- See the definition of "reasonable accommodation" in the Act.
- See section 20(2)(e) of the Act.
- See section 21 of the Act.