EE Amendment Bill tabled before portfolio committee

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pretoria - The new proposed Employment Equity Amendment Bill could see the introduction of far reaching changes to ensure South Africa’s compliance with international labour standards.

The proposals were tabled by the Department of Labour before the Portfolio Committee on Labour in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Director for Employment Equity Ntsoaki Mamashela said among the changes to be introduced are those dealing with unfair discrimination by employers in respect of terms and conditions of employment of employees doing the same work, similar work or work of equal value.

Another change relates to allowing employees an option of referring unfair discrimination cases for arbitration in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in circumstances such as where an employee’s cause of action arises from an allegation of sexual harassment on a prescribed ground, and where lower paid employees will be entitled to refer any discrimination claim to the CCMA for arbitration.

Mamashela said designated employers who fail to prepare and implement their employment equity plan can be referred directly to the Labour Court by the Director General for a fine, without first securing an undertaking or issuing a compliance order. 

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant published her intention to amend the Labour Relations Act (LRA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Employment Equity Act (EEA) and introduce the Public Employment Services (PES) Bill in the Government Gazette early last year.

Public hearings in all provinces then followed before the matter was brought before the portfolio committee.

Once completed, the amendments will be referred to the National Assembly before being debated by the National Council of Provinces to pave way for their enactment.–