On June 15 the minister of labour issued a revised Code of Good Practice on HIV and Aids and the World of Work, which amends the Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV and Aids and Employment to align it to the International Labour Organisation’s recommendations. The primary objective of the code is to provide guidelines to help employers develop workplace policies and programmes eliminating unfair discrimination, promoting access to education and managing HIV/Aids in the workplace.
The code applies to all “workers” as defined, at all workplaces in all sectors of economic activity. The code confirms that no employer may require a worker or applicant for employment to undertake an HIV test to ascertain that person’s status. Testing must be voluntary and with consent. Authorisation for mandatory HIV testing of workers must be sought from the Labour Court. Where workers choose to disclose their HIV status to an employer, such information must be kept confidential.
The code reiterates that section 15(2) of the Employment Equity Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to workers living with Aids/HIV. Such reasonable accommodation includes adapting existing facilities and equipment, restructuring jobs and adjusting working time and leave.
Workers with HIV/Aids must not be unfairly discriminated against in the allocation of employee benefits. They must be treated no less favourably than workers with other serious illnesses in terms of benefits, worker’s compensation and reasonable accommodation. Where workers are too ill to perform their duties, an employer is obliged to follow guidelines for dismissal for incapacity.
Employers must provide and maintain a workplace that is safe and without risk to the health and its workers. HIV/Aids must be included in any workplace occupational health and safety strategy. Employers should also design and implement a monitoring and evaluation plan that addresses strategies to curb HIV/Aids.
For further information on Unfair Labour Practice or any labour related matters, you can contact Bernard Reisner: