Technical Assistance Guidelines - HIV/AIDS in the workplace
The TAG builds on the Code to set out practical guidelines for employers, employees and trade unions on how to manage HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
The guidelines also serve as a guide to ensure that individuals affected by HIV/AIDS are not unfairly discriminated against in the workplace. In essence, the TAG is based on the Department of Labour’s broad goals in managing HIV/AIDS in the workplace, inter alia, promotion of equality and openness around HIV/AIDS, creation of a balance between rights and responsibilities, and restoration of the dignity of persons affected by HIV/AIDS.
Below is a chapter-by-chapter summary of the document. The full text of the guideline can be downloaded at http://www.workinfo.org/index.php/legislation/item/174-hiv-and-aids-technical-assistance-guidelines
2. Chapter summaries
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is having a significant effect on all South African workplaces and the economy. As the epidemic primarily affects working age adults, its impact will be seen primarily through an increase in absenteeism and sick leave, faster staff turn over due to early deaths, more employees placed on disability pensions, lower staff morale, greater pressure on employee benefit funds and possibly a change in markets and demands for services.
In the light of the impact of HIV/AIDS on workplaces described above and the high levels of discrimination faced by people affected by HIV or AIDS, the Employment Equity Commission with the Department of Labour, developed the Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment.
The Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment is a code of good practice that is attached to the Employment Equity and Labour Relations Acts. It is essentially a standard setting out the content and scope of an appropriate response to HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
The Technical Assistance Guideline (TAG) on the Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment (the Code) is an implementation guideline issued by the Commission for Employment Equity and the Department of Labour. It is designed as an accessible, user-friendly manual for employers, employees and trade unions on how to deal with HIV related discrimination and to respond to the impact of HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
Chapter One of the TAG is an introduction to the TAG. It sets out the objectives of the Code and the principles it is based on and its application and scope; it details the purpose and objectives of the TAG; and sets out the context for the Code by describing the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on the workplace.
Chapter Two of the TAG describes the legal and policy framework underlying the Code. It assists employers, employees and trade unions to understand the relevant law by setting out the provisions in the Code, the Constitution and other laws. Important terms are defined. Key issues are identified including common problems and issues for various stakeholders. Finally, it sets out implementation guidelines, including checklists and roles and responsibilities.
The chapter deals with the following elements of the Code:
6.1 The need to both prohibit unfair discrimination based on HIV status as well as promote a non-discriminatory work environment in which persons affected by HIV/AIDS are able to participate fully without fear of stigma or prejudice.
6.2 The importance of ensuring that HIV Testing takes place in accordance with the provisions in section 792 of the Employment Equity Act and that it is accompanied by a guarantee of confidentiality. This section also details the importance of encouraging openness and disclosure and describes the steps that can be taken to create an environment in which Persons Living with HIV or AIDS (PLWAs) feel able to voluntarily disclose their HIV status.
6.3 How to promote a safe working environment and the steps that should be taken to ensure that employees who become occupationally infected with HIV be able to apply for compensation.
6.4 The need to ensure that employee benefits are provided in a relevant, sustainable, non-discriminatory fashion.
6.5 The need to ensure that employees are protected from unfair dismissals, steps to be followed in effecting a dismissal for incapacity and how to promote a confidential, accessible grievance procedure to deal with HIV related disputes.
This chapter details:
7.1 An introduction to managing HIV/AIDS in the workplace including the importance of mainstreaming HIV and gender programming.
7.2 The responsibilities of management when responding to the epidemic for example the need to develop an HIV/AIDS committee and proactively ensure that employee benefit funds are sustainable.
7.3 How to determine the impact of HIV/AIDS on a particular workplace and to use this information to plan for such implications.
7.4 Developing an HIV/AIDS policy.
7.5 Developing a workplace HIV/AIDS prevention programme including awareness activities, voluntary counselling
and testing, education and training, condom promotion and distribution, management of STDs and infection control measures.
7.6 Developing a workplace wellness programme including creating a non-discriminatory work environment, medical management of staff, treating and preventing TB, positive living, counselling and support groups, using traditional medical practitioners, providing family support programmes and reasonably accommodating infected employees.
7.7 Creating strategic partnerships to enhance the greater involvement of PLWAs and other organisations in the workplace programme.
7.8 Strategies for monitoring and evaluating workplace HIV/AIDS policies and programmes.
Chapter Four is a set of three appendices.
Appendix A sets out additional facts on HIV/AIDS and the impact it will have in the workplace.
Appendix B is an index to the TAG and lists additional resources for stakeholders requiring further assistance with their policy or programme.
Appendix C contains a copy of the Code.
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