A great deal is happening at present to bring employers on line and to ensure they comply with the requirements of section 19 and 20 of the EE Act as outlined in the EE Act.
Many companies I have come into contact with are familiar with the various EEA forms and have completed these but what sort of thought has gone into them and are they all discussed with the members of the EE forum before any plans are developed or changes made to existing plans? This constitutes an integral part of the consultation process.
The EEA2 for instances deals with the present profile of the company and considers what changes will be made in terms of recruitment, terminations and promotions. This is the sort of information that should be discussed with the forum members so as to bring them up to date with proposed changes in the company.
What about the EEA12? According to section 19(1) of the Act, a designated employer must conduct an analysis of its employment policies, practices, procedures and the working environment in order to identify employment barriers, which adversely affect people from designated groups.
How has the analysis been conducted? Were the members of the forum advised about the process of analysis and were they aware such an analysis took place? Were the members advised how long ago an analysis took place or when the next analysis is going to take place? Were the forum members consulted about the barriers to Employment Equity? Do the members of the forum understand anything to do with barriers and what have been identified as barriers by the company? The completed form EEA12 should in fact be circulated to members of the forum and should be discussed in detail with them.
Of particular importance are the affirmative action measures to be taken by the company over the term of the EE Plan. Who has decided on the affirmative action and have the affirmative action measures decided on been implemented and adhered to? These are some more issues for consultation particularly when not adhered to.
Do members of the forum know what the various categories covered in the EEA12 are and what is supposed to be happening in relation to each category? Are the forum members familiar with the various policies, practices or procedures the company has reported on? Do they agree or have they been given an opportunity to comment on these issues?
The demographics that companies report on in relation to the Economically Active Population are another area where most forum members are not brought into the picture. Again discussing the EEA12 with the members will give them a thorough understanding as to why the company is making changes or failing to make changes as required by the Act.
What about the EEA13? Section 20 of the Act requires designated employers to prepare and implement an Employment Equity Plan which will achieve reasonable progress towards employment equity.
The workforce profile, numerical goals and targets as set out in the EEA13 with exact time-frames according to the duration of the plan must be accompanied by strategies to achieve them as informed by the findings in the audit analysis as per section 19 of the Act
The Plan must outline the objectives to be achieved for each year of the plan. The objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound.
Barriers and Affirmative Action Measures must be aligned with those indicated in the audit analysis I have referred to earlier in terms of Section 19. The affirmative action measures must include time-frames that fall within the duration of the plan in order to track progress in the implementation of these measures. Responsible person must be appointed to ensure the AA measures are in fact implemented.
Again this is an area for consultation and the members of the forum should be provided with a copy of the EEA13. The numeric Goals and Targets should be discussed and members should know what is supposed to be happening each year of the plan.
The need to ensure that forum members are familiar with the EE Plan is not enough. The members must have details of what exactly is supposed to be happening and what decisions have been made or need to be made going forward. It is imperative members of the forum have all of the fact at their disposal otherwise they cannot function as the overseeing body they are supposed to be.