In reality, employment equity represents a regulatory challenge for South African businesses and the only truly effective way to ensure compliance and benefit is to have a plan in place and follow it proactively. Another reality check is that the country’s labour law is clear when it comes to employment equity, and there are legislative requirements to which ‘designated employers’ must adhere to. Designated employers, in labour terms, are defined as businesses with an employee headcount over 50, a turnover above the industry threshold and/ or a municipality/ organ of state. These requirements include several straightforward instructions like having to consult with employees on Employee Equity matters, implement affirmative action measures, and conduct an analysis regarding barriers to employment equity and identify areas of under-representation. However, it is the development and management of an employment equity plan that forms the crux of this set of regulations, specifically relevant targets and goals to be achieved. The regulations have been put in place to guide businesses to ensure that they fulfil several criteria, chief amongst which is to submit employment equity reports to the Director General at the Department of Labour. This is a mission-critical function and businesses cannot afford to ‘drop the ball’ when it comes to the development of the plan or its enforcement. The designated employer must determine the duration of the plan, the procedure used to monitor and evaluate the plan, the dispute resolution procedure regarding the plan, as well as the appointment of senior manager responsible for the plan and finally submit the EE report to the Director General. It is important to note that the submission deadline is 01 October for manual submissions and 15 January (2018) for online submissions. Non-compliance can be costly and could result in fines of up to R2,7m or 10% for the fifth contravention. Businesses must navigate the various processes involved in compliance with employment equity regulation, as well as the Code of Good Practice, as outlined in the Government Gazette 40817 of 28 April 2017. These steps include communication, awareness and consultation, conducting an analysis, developing the employment equity plan and dispute resolution. Don’t wait until it’s too late before you take control of this mission-critical discipline.  ...