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Basic Guide to Affirmative Action

Basic Guide to Affirmative Action

Affirmative action ensures that qualified people from designated groups have equal opportunities in the workplace.

Application

The Employment Equity Act applies to all employers, workers and job applicants, but not members of the –

  • National Defence Force;
  • National Intelligence Agency; and
  • South African Secret Service.

The provisions for affirmative action apply to –

  • employers with 50 or more workers, or whose annual income is more than the amount specified in Schedule 4 of the Act;
  • municipalities;
  • organs of State;
  • employers ordered to comply by a bargaining council agreement;
  • any employers who volunteer to comply.

See (Ref)

Applies to all employers and workers and protects workers and job seekers from unfair discrimination, and also provides a framework for implementing affirmative action.

Affirmative Action Measures

Employers must make sure designated groups (black people, women and people with disabilities) have equal opportunities in the workplace. Designated groups must be equally represented in all job categories and levels.

Based on Legislation in Section 15of the Employment Equity Act

Why is Affirmative Action Necessary?

Affirmative action makes sure that qualified designated groups (black people, women and people with disabilities) have equal opportunities to get a job. They must also be equally represented in all job categories and levels of the workplace.

Based on legislation in Section 15, of the Employment Equity Act

What Measures Must Employers Take?

Employers must –

  • find and remove things that badly affect designated groups;
  • support diversity through equal dignity and respect to all people;
  • make changes to ensure designated groups have equal chances;
  • ensure equal representation of designated groups in all job categories and levels in the workplace; and
  • retain and develop designated groups.

Based on Legislation in Section 15 of the Employment Equity Act

Discussing Affirmative Action with Workers

Employers must discuss employment equity issues with their workers. They must include different kinds of workers in the talks.

Based on Legislation in Section 16of the Employment Equity Act

Who Should Employers Talk To?

When they discuss employment equity, employers must make sure they include workers from:

  • all job categories and levels;
  • designated groups (black people, women and people with disabilities); and
  • workers who are not from designated groups.

Based on legislation in Section 16of the Employment Equity Act

What Should Employers Discuss With Workers?

Employers must talk to workers or their unions about their employment equity:

  • studies;
  • plans; and
  • reports.

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Originally appeared on labour.gov.za on 14-11-2007. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of estome. estome accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or fairness of the article, nor does the information contained herein constitute advice, legal or otherwise.

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