The Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) has expressed concern with regard to affirmative action regulations that now apply to small businesses, including commercial farmers and charcoal producers, as recently amended by the labour ministry.

According to NAU, pursuant to Notice 275 published in the Government Gazette, the threshold for employers who must now comply with the law has been lowered from businesses with 25 employees to any business with 10 or more employees.

“This means that small businesses that include commercial farmers and charcoal producers are now defined as relevant employers who comply with the prescriptions of the Affirmative Action Act No. 29 of 1998.”

No discussions

The union said that these small businesses will now also have to submit three-yearly corrective action plans and submit annual reports.

However, the NAU expressed concern about this unilateral action by the ministry, as they were completely unaware of their intentions.

“The matter was not even discussed at the meeting with the Employment Equity Commission, on which employers have a seat, and the Labour Advisory Council was also left in the dark.”

According to the union, it has instructed the Agricultural Employers’ Association to urgently liaise with the Namibia Employers’ Federation (NEF) so that this matter can be taken up and clarified with the labour ministry on behalf of the private sector.

Ramifications

The union said that apart from the fact that the objectives and directives of this law make no sense at all for such small businesses, it will also have a very negative effect on economic growth and job creation in Namibia, where youth unemployment is already around 40%.

“This unsolicited bureaucratic action follows on the heels of the Covid regulations that the same ministry unilaterally promulgated and over which they lost a court case against employers at great cost to taxpayers’ money.”

NAU said that it will keep its members informed of further developments surrounding the issue.

[Source – Republikein]

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