Section 21 of the Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998 (EEA) places an obligation on designated employers to submit an employment equity report once every year.

Who is a designated employer?

A designated employer is (i) an employer who employs 50 or more employees or (ii) an employer who employers fewer that 50 employees, but has a total annual turnover that is equal to or above the annual turnover threshold specific to the relevant sector. Schedule 4 of the EEA sets outs these thresholds.

What is an employment equity report?

In terms of section 20 of the EEA, a designated employer must prepare and implement an employment equity plan which will achieve reasonable progress towards employment equity in the employer's workforce.

Section 21 of the EEA requires a designated employer to submit an employment equity report to the Director-General of the Department of Labour (Director-General), reporting on its employment equity plan.

When must a designated employer submit its employment equity report?

A designated employer must submit its employment equity report to the Director-General on an annual basis.

If a designated employer submits its employment equity report manually to the Director-General, the report must be submitted by the first working day of October. This year, manual submissions are due on or before 3 October 2016.

Alternatively, if a designated employer elects to submit its employment equity report online, the report must be submitted by 15 January.

This means that employers have only 5 days to submit their employment equity report for the 2016 reporting year, if they have not already done so.

Possible penalties for non-compliance

The Director-General may apply to the Labour Court to impose a fine if an employer -

  • fails to submit an employment equity report;
  • fails to notify the Director-General in writing that it will not be able to submit its report timeously and providing reasons for the same; or
  • has informed the Director-General in writing that it is not able to submit its report timeously, however, the reasons provided are false or invalid.

The Labour Court may impose a fine ranging from the greater of ZAR 1 500 000.00 or 2 percent of the employer's turnover to ZAR 2 700 000.00 or 10 percent of the employer's turnover.

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