27 May 2003
The government moved a step further in addressing the issue of HIV/Aids in the workplace on Monday with the launch of the HIV/Aids Technical Assistance Guidelines.
The Guidelines, proposed by the Commission for Employment Equity and the department of labour, advises employers on how to deal with the issue of HIV/Aids in a manner that will improve productivity and uplift the morale of infected and affected workers.
The Guidelines warn against discrimination and stigmatisation, saying these will not help HIV-positive workers to continue to contribute to the country’s economy.
The 74-page document recommends that employers establish HIV/Aids workplace committees, the mainstreaming of HIV/Aids and gender issues, as well as the development of policy on prevention of the disease.
Professor Mapule Ramashala, chairperson of the Commission for Employment Equity, said the department of labour’s Code of Good Practice on HIV/Aids had guided the development of the new document.
The Guidelines will help employers and unions to work together to create a conducive environment in the workplace, Ramashala said. “An environment free of discrimination and stigma is important in the workplace. So, the Guidelines focus on practical management strategies.”
The Guidelines also seek to ensure the sustainability of provident funds.
International Labour Organisation (ILO) representative Cynthia Yinusa said it was important for workers to contribute to the economy, irrespective of their HIV status.
Yinusa said the ILO was working with adult basic education and training and the National African Federation of Chamber of Commerce to address HIV/Aids in the informal sector.