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Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998)

Code of Good Practice

Key Aspects of HIV/Aids and Employment

15. Measures to deal with HIV/Aids within the Workplace


15.1) A Workplace HIV/AIDS Policy


1) Every workplace should develop an HP//AIDS policy*, in order to ensure that employees affected by HIV/AIDS are not unfairly discriminated against in employment policies and practices. This policy should cover:
i) the organisation’s position on HIV/AIDS;
ii) an outline of the HIV/AIDS programme;
iii) details on employment policies (e.g. position regarding HIV testing, employee benefits, performance management and procedures to be followed to determine medical incapacity and dismissal);
iv) express standards of behaviour expected of employers and employees and appropriate measures to deal with deviations from these standards;
v) grievance procedures in line with item 12 of this Code;
vi) set out the means of communication within the organisation on HIV/AIDS issues;
vii) details of employee assistance available to persons affected by HIV/AIDS;
viii) details of implementation and coordination responsibilities; and
ix) monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.


* This policy could either be a specific policy on HIV/AIDS, or could be incorporated in a policy on life threatening illness.


2) All policies should be developed in consultation with key stakeholders within the workplace including trade unions, employee representatives, occupational health staff and the human resources department.


3) The policy should reflect the nature and needs of the particular workplace.


4) Policy development and implementation is a dynamic process, so the workplace policy should be:
i) communicated to all concerned;
ii) routinely reviewed in light of epidemiological and scientific information; and
iii) monitored for its successful implementation and evaluated for its effectiveness.


15.2) Developing Workplace HIV/AIDS Programmes


1) It is recommended that every workplace works towards developing and implementing a workplace HIV/AIDS programme aimed at preventing new infections, providing care and support for employees who are infected or affected, and managing the impact of the epidemic in the organisation.


2) The nature and extent of a workplace programme should be guided by the needs and capacity of each individual workplace. However, it is recommended that every workplace programme should attempt to address the following in cooperation with the sectoral, local, provincial and national initiatives:
i) hold regular HIV/AIDS awareness programmes;
ii) encourage voluntary testing;
iii) conduct education and training on HIV/AIDS;
iv) promote condom distribution and use;
v) encourage health seeking behaviour for STD’s;
vi) enforce the use of universal infection control measures;
vii) create an environment that is conducive to openness, disclosure and acceptance amongst all staff;
viii) endeavour to establish a wellness programme for employees affected by HIV/AIDS;
ix) provide access to counselling and other forms of social support for people affected by HIV/AIDS;
x) maximise the performance of affected employees through reasonable accommodation, such as investigations into alternative sick leave allocation;
xi) develop strategies to address direct and indirect costs associated with HIV/AIDS in the workplace, as outlined under item 14.4;
xii) regularly monitor, evaluate and review the programme.


3) Employers should take all reasonable steps to assist employees with referrals to appropriate health, welfare and psycho-social facilities within the community, if such services are not provided at the workplace