Fines for too many whites in the workplace flighted

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant‚ presenting the 17th Employment Equity report launch in Pretoria on Tuesday‚ says she is considering drafting-in harsher consequences for non-compliance.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant

Oliphant said the report highlighted the “painfully slow” pace of transformation in the South African labour market.

“Black people‚ women and persons with disabilities remain severely under-represented in all aspects of employment equity. It also mirrors the glaring lack of appetite for transformation especially by big corporates.”

She was concerned that “too many” JSE-listed companies were ignoring the law‚ saying that there are more than 21 companies that have been fined for non-compliance and several others that are on the verge of being fined.

Black people‚ women and persons with disabilities remain severely under-represented in all aspects of employment equity. It also mirrors the glaring lack of appetite for transformation especially by big corporates

JSE listed companies account for more than 50% of the companies that have issued fines for non-compliance.

“Some commentators ridicule the maximum amount that an offending employer could be fined‚ as too small to be a deterrent as some employers simply budget for it just in case they get caught.

“It is this state of affairs that leaves us with no option‚ but to consider‚ drafting-in harsher consequences for non-compliance.

“It’s time to ‘up the ante’ and this may include promulgating the ‘stick’ sections of the Employment Equity Act because quite frankly‚ the ‘carrot’ sections have not delivered the desired results‚” she said.

“We are seriously considering approaching the President to enact the more punitive Sections and Chapters of the EE Act‚ which were‚ initially excluded from the earlier promulgation.

“This will give the Employment Equity Act‚ real teeth and will bite where it hurts the most‚ and that is‚ designated employers’ revenue.”

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Highlights of the report:

  • At Top Management Level‚ white group representation (68.5%) continues to dominate‚ followed by the Indian group (8.9%) compared to their economically active population (EAP) distribution. “An emerging trend in the increase in employment of foreign nationals (3.5%) at this level is noted‚ particularly in the private sector. This trend analysis has to be interpreted and compared to the increase in multinational operations in the country‚” the report noted. Female representation at Top Management level has remained largely unchanged at just over 20% for the last three reporting periods. This is cited as a concern because “an equitable representation of women at this strategic decision-making level at this rate is likely to have an adverse effect on the equitable representation of women at every other occupational level“.
  • At Senior Management Level‚ the white group comprises 58%‚ while the Indian group is measured at 10.6%. Female representation at this level again remained largely unchanged at just above 30% for the past three reporting periods.
  • A positive trend towards equitable representation is noted for the first time at Professionally Qualified/Middle Management Level. This level serves as a feeder to Senior Management level‚ which could deliver improved representation in future.
  • At Skilled Technical/Junior Management Level‚ a positive move towards equitable representation across all population groups is noted in the report. However‚ it states “the drastic increase in the representation of foreign nationals representation 2014 to 2016 at this level needs further analysis“. This trend was seen as contrary to employment legislation seeking to govern migrant labour and employment regulations‚ such as skills transfer programmes.

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  • At Semi-Skilled Level‚ Africans and Coloureds account for the highest representation. The representation
    of women at this level still needs improvement towards equal access to employment opportunities and representation in the workplace.
  • At Unskilled Level‚ the White representation is approximately one-third of their EAP distribution.
  • Disability representation across all Occupational Levels remained very low.

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In summary‚ “the Employment Equity Reports received from employers for the 2014‚ 2015 and 2016 reporting periods reflected that Africans continue to occupy the largest portion of the workforce with their representation mainly concentrated at the bottom occupational levels. Whites and Indians accounted for a rather small portion of the workforce over the same period‚ but their representation continue to dominate at the middle-to-upper occupational levels in terms of their EAP distribution. Males make up majority of the workforce and continue to dominate participation at every occupational level and women continue to encounter the glass-ceiling effect in the workforce.”

Click HERE for the full report.  – Tiso Black Star Group Digital

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