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

Code of Good Practice

HIV and Aids and the World of Work

2. Introduction


2.1 HIV and AIDS are a serious public health challenge which has socio economic, employment and human rights implications.


2.2 HIV poses a significant obstacle to the attainment of decent work and sustainable development. It has led to the loss of the livelihoods of millions of persons living with or affected by HIV and AIDS. Its effects are concentrated among the most productive age groups and it imposes huge costs on enterprises through falling productivity, increased labour costs and the loss of skills and experience.


2.3 HIV and AIDS affect every workplace, with prolonged staff illness, absenteeism, and death, which impacts on productivity, employee benefits, occupational health and safety, production costs, workplace morale and escalating HIV associated with TB and STIs.


2.4 HIV thrives in an environment of poverty, rapid urbanisation, violence and destabilisation. Transmission is exacerbated by disparities in resources and patterns of migration from rural to urban areas. Women are particularly more vulnerable to infection in cultures and economic circumstances where they have limited sexual reproductive choices and rights.


2.5 Through this Code, the country commits to mitigate the impact of the epidemic in the world of work taking into account all relevant Conventions of the International Labour Organization, including Recommendation No. 200.


2.6 One of the most effective ways of reducing and managing the impact of HIV and AIDS in the workplace is through the implementation of workplace HIV and AIDS policies and programmes. Addressing aspects of HIV and AIDS in the workplace will enable employers, workers and their organisations and government to actively contribute towards local, national and international efforts to prevent and control HIV and AIDS.


2.7 Every person should take personal responsibility in relation to HIV and AIDS to educate themselves, prevent transmission, seek available treatment and treat others with dignity and respect. All persons have the responsibility to support the achievement of the objectives of this Code.


2.8 Partnerships between government, employers, workers and their organisations and other relevant stakeholders are encouraged to ensure effective delivery of services and increased coverage.