8 September 2014 by Employment Alert

Amendments to the Employment Equity Act

Section 27 - Income differentials, of the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of 1998 (EEA) refers.

An interesting amendment to s27 is the adding of the words unfair discrimination.

Section 27 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 and as prescribed, to the Employment Conditions Commission established by s59 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

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

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

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

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

Subsection 4 sets out but does not limit the measures the employer can take to rapidly reduce any disproportionate income differentials or unfair discrimination on the terms and conditions of employment namely:

  • collective bargaining;
  • compliance with sectoral determinations made by the Minister in terms of s51 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act;
  • applying the norms and benchmarks set by the Employment Conditions Commission; and
  • relevant measures contained in skills development legislation.

Sections 5-6 set out that the Employment Conditions Commission must research and investigate the norms and benchmarks for proportionate income differentials and accordingly 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.

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