On 15 June 2012 the Minister of Labour issued a revised Code of Good Practice on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work (the Code). The Code amends the Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV and AIDS and Employment in order to align it to the ILO’s recommendations.
According to Melanie Hart, Director in the Employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, “The primary objective of the Code is to provide guidelines to assist employers to develop workplace policies and programmes eliminating unfair discrimination, promoting access to education and managing HIV and AIDS in the workplace.
Hart says that the Code is of wide application and applies to all “workers” as defined, at all workplaces in all sectors of economic activity. We highlight some of the principles set out in the Code which are of relevance to employers.
“The Code confirms that no employer may require a worker or applicant for employment to undertake an HIV test in order to ascertain that person’s HIV status. Testing must be with consent and voluntary. Authorisation for mandatory HIV testing of workers must be sought from the Labour Court,” she says.
Hart notes that where a worker chooses to disclose his or her HIV status to an employer, such information must be kept confidential.
“The Code reiterates that section 15(2)(c) of the Employment Equity Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to workers living with AIDS and HIV. Such reasonable accommodation includes adapting existing facilities and equipment, restructuring jobs and adjusting working time and leave.
“Workers with HIV and AIDS must not be unfairly discriminated against in the allocation of employee benefits. Workers with HIV and AIDS must be treated no less favourably than workers with other serious illnesses in terms of benefits, workers’ compensation and reasonable accommodation.
“Where a worker is too ill to perform his or her current duties, an employer is obliged to follow the guidelines for dismissal for incapacity,” she explains.
Employers must provide and maintain a workplace that is safe and without risk to the health and its workers. HIV and AIDS must be included in any workplace Occupational Health and Safety strategy.
She adds that, according to the Code, employers should also design and implement a monitoring and evaluation plan that addresses strategies to curb HIV and AIDS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Melanie Hart, Director, Employment practice, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr,
Tel: +27 (0)11 562 1179 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Collocott, Head: Marketing, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr,
Tel: +27 (0)11 562 1281 or email: email@example.com
Angela Graham, Tel: 073 505 9012 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is one of the largest commercial law firms in South Africa with some 115 directors/partners and 250 qualified lawyers located at offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr lawyers specialise in services covering the complete spectrum of business legal needs in 11 core areas of practice. The firm also has dedicated sector-led teams consisting of lawyers with experience in a wide range of industries and the public sector.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is the South African member firm of DLA Piper Group, an alliance of legal practices, which includes firms with offices around the globe that are affiliated to members of the DLA Piper Practice but are not themselves members of it.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s Africa practice, in conjunction with DLA Piper Africa Group, is unrivalled in terms of pan-African legal services and geographical coverage.
DLA Piper is an international legal practice with over 3,500 lawyers located in 30 countries and 69 offices throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US.
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