Employment Equity Amendment Bill – Act 55 of 1998

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The long-awaited Employment Equity (EE) Amendment Bill is almost here.

On the 2nd of September 2021 a statement was released by The Department of Employment and Labour (DoEL) stating that the Amendment of the EE Bill is entering the last leg of the sectoral discussions as the Department of Employment and Labour is gearing up for the sectoral-targets era.

The bill will soon go out to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for consideration where the enforcement of the EE Amendment Bill will happen once the Parliamentary processes are finalised by March 2022. When the Bill is passed by the NCOP with a majority vote, the last step is for the Minister to sign the bill into law.

Timeline for the proposed amendments of the EE Act:

  • February 2022: All sector engagements will be concluded with the agreement on the proposed targets

  • March 2022: Enforcement of the Bill will commence

  • September 2022: Current Employment Equity plans will fall away, and new 5-year plans will need to be implemented

According to the Department of Employment and Labour, The Amendment of the EE Act will assist with:

  • Reducing the burden on small business owners

  • Assist the Minister to regulate sector specific Employment Equity numerical targets.

  • Promulgate section 53 of the EEA for issuing of the EE Compliance Certificate.

The major concern for all Employers with regards to the proposed amendments, are the sectoral targets and the enforcement thereof by the Department of Employment and Labour. With current legislation, Employers have the power to determine and set their own numerical targets, based on the underrepresentation of designated groups.

The underrepresentation in each occupational level is determined through a comparison with the Economically Active Population (EAP) statistic, either National or Provincial. The same EAP statistic is applied to Companies in all industries, which poses a challenge to Employers who operate in industries that are, for example, male or female dominant.

The new sectoral targets will be determined by the Minister, after engagements with the relevant stakeholders in each sector. The hope is that industry-specific challenges will be taken into consideration, and this could result in an opportunity for Employers to better comply with Employment Equity targets.

The importance of recordkeeping is going to be amplified by the proposed amendments. Employers are encouraged to revise recruitment procedures and ensure that the necessary evidence is kept for a minimum of five (05) years.

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