An employer should draft COVID-19 policies and protocols for it’s workplace, train it’s staff members in relation thereto and ensure that the staff have written copies thereof which each staff member signs to verify receipt thereof.

 

It’s imperative that there should be a screening protocol for all staff arriving at work on a daily basis. The staff should complete a sheet reflecting a checklist of possible symptoms and sign daily and clearly state that if they answer “yes” to any of the questions therein, the staff member must report his/her symptoms to their superior/manager.

 

The staff member that shows symptoms should be sent for testing and if the staff member is tested positive for having contracted COVID-19, the member is required to self-isolate. If the staff member still has paid sick leave, this absence from work can be offset against his/her paid sick leave. Alternatively the employee could register and claim illness benefits from the UIF Department. Failure to self-isolate could endanger the lives of other staff members in that they could contract COVID-19 by infecting other staff members who become ill and/or result in more severe repercussions.

 

A supervisor/manager who is responsible for disciplining employees to comply with COVID-19 policies and protocols and who fails to fulfill his/her duties in relation hereto, may result in the supervisor’s/manager’s services being terminated.

 

The Code of Good Practice: Dismissals attached to the LRA as Schedule 8, makes it clear that an employee should not be dismissed for a first offence, unless that offence is serious and of such a gravity as to make the continued employment relationship intolerable.

 

Examples of serious misconduct that justify dismissal even for a first offence include “wilful endangering of the safety of other”.