Employment Equity and HIV and AIDS

Written by Chantal Bezuidenhout – Eastern Cape Divisional Manager of Ed-Unique Aids

 The Department of Labour has identified issues surrounding HIV/AIDS as a barrier to companies’ compliance with the Employment Equity Act. Ed-Unique Aids can make your life a LOT easier with regard to compliance to the Employment Equity Act with our customised programmes and mentoring and support of your peer educators.

The Department of Labour’s revised Code of Good Practice on HIV and Aids and the World of Work has been aligned to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Recommendation concerning HIV and AIDS and the World of Work. The code seeks to assist employers, employees and their organisations in order to manage HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs in the workplace, within the framework of decent work in both the formal and informal sectors, for public and private enterprise.

So – how can we help you? By helping you to implement the following:

  • Workplace Policies and Procedures
  • A comprehensive training and education programme for all staff
  • Support structure (peer educators) to assist employees that are affected and infected by HIV/AIDS

The above is in accordance with the following sections of the Code of Good Practice:

Section 8 (Promoting a Safe and Healthy working environment) of the revised codes states that companies must ensure the following:

  • Workplace prevention programmes are accurate and up to date and that timely information be made available to all employees.
  • Comprehensive education programmes need to be implemented including modes of HIV transmission, mother to child transmission and the importance of changing risk behaviours related to HIV infection
  • Encouraging employees to know their status
  • Access to all means of prevention
  • Effective measures put in place to reduce high-risk behaviours.
  • Proper workplace policies and procedures must be determined in consultation with workers and their representatives
  • Care and support of people affected by HIV/AIDS are critical elements and mechanisms must be put in place to encourage open, acceptance and support of infected and affected workers.
  • Support and prevention programmes including psychosocial support.
  • Infected and affected employees must be encouraged to use expertise and assistance from within the organisation for counselling.
  • HIV and AIDS must form an integral part of any workplace Occupational Health and Safety strategy.

Section 9 (Management if HIV and AIDS in the workplace) of the revised codes suggests the following:

  • The development and implementation of HIV and IDS workplace policies and programmes
  • Education, training and information should be clear and accessible to all employees