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The Employment Equity Bill which seeks to ensure that workers are paid the same for the work of equal value was passed in the National Assembly today (24 October 2013).

The bill seeks to further end unfair discrimination by employers in respect of terms and conditions of employment of employees doing the same work, similar work or work of equal value.

This was said by the Minister of Labour in the National Assembly today during the second reading of the EE Bill which was adopted and proceeds to the National Council of Provinces for consideration by that body.

 

The main aim of this Bill is to give effect to

fundamental Constitutional rights, including the right to equality, fair labour practice and protection against unfair discrimination; to strengthen the implementation and enforcement mechanisms of the Act; and to ensure that South Africa complies and meets its obligations in terms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.

“The proposed amendments have gone through a rigorous process with the initial advice coming from the Commission for Employment Equity.

This process included adopting strategies to engage the public and other stakeholders through public hearings, briefings and availing the Bill on the Department’s website for public comment,” she told the house.

These are the first amendments to the EEA since it was enacted in 1998 and have been necessitated, in the main, by the reluctance of employers to embrace transformation in the workplace.

“Unfortunately employers have refused or are unwilling to make a leap of faith with regards to transformation.

Reports received from employers over the past 15 years clearly show that not much progress has been made.

Whites and males, particularly White males, continue to dominate in the middle-to-upper echelons of organisations, according to the report by the Commission for Employment Equity for the 2012 reporting period.

“It is clear that the legislation has not induced any serious transformation in the upper echelons where real decisions are taken.

It is also clear that the patterns as noted above will not lead to any different results any time soon.

The current amendments for EE, therefore could not have come at a better time,” she said.

The EE Bill is the third such bill that has gone through Parliament’s rigorous process. The other two amending the Basic Conditions of Employment and Labour Relations were passed by the National Assembly earlier in the year.

The two bills have since been adopted by the NCOP as well which means they are just a step shy of being enacted into law.

Media Statement: Labour Ministry: 24 October 2013