Since the cancer of apartheid, South Africa’s workplaces have not been affected by a malady anywhere nearly as bad as Corona. Corona severely threatens not only our physical health, but also the economic health of workers, employers, and the economy as a whole.
We have the choice of panicking and washing our hands of our Corona responsibility, or of using our response KIT to overcome this threat. Our response KIT, Knowledge, Intelligence and Teamwork, is equipped to kill the spread of Corona before it kills us.
Those employees and managers who reject the panic option, and choose to use the response KIT will:
- Jointly make sure they all fully understand how Corona spreads;
- Maintain our social distance, and replace physical closeness with the strategic closeness of united teamwork;
- Use technology to communicate instead of face to face meetings;
- Sanitise our workplace;
- Wash our hands frequently and thoroughly;
- Work from home where operationally viable;
- Work at our highest levels of cost effectiveness and productivity, and avoid all wastage so as to compensate for economic losses caused by Corona;
- Avoid crowded places such as public transport and gatherings;
- Sneeze and cough into the crook of our elbows; and
- Remind others tactfully of the above measures.
In addition to the above essential basics employers must:
- Consider appointing an Anti-Corona KIT Coordinator to manage the company strategy for dealing with disease transmission and the economic and other fallouts of Corona.
- Inform the Unemployment Insurance Fund should they intend to close down operations temporarily due to Corona.
- Apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for state assistance to companies in financial distress due to Corona.
- Assist employees who are on reduced working time to submit, without delay, applications to the Department of Labour for benefits in terms of section 12(1)B of the Unemployment Insurance Act. While these benefits are conditional on the number of credits of the employee and on the degree of reduced pay, those employees, who do not apply obviously have no chance of getting this benefit.
- In instances where an employee has to be self-quarantined for 14 days assist the employee to apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for sick leave benefits.
- Where possible, assist their quarantined employees to receive food and other essentials.
- Where there is not enough work, seek together with employees, ways of avoiding retrenchment.
- Propose agreements for taking of paid leave, short weeks or temporary layoffs or other ways of avoiding job losses.
- Robustly publicise around the workplace, and via email reminders for Corona combatting measures and company health and safety rules.
- Ensure that those who suffer from the Corona virus are treated fairly by all concerned and are not stigmatised.
- Reward employees who propose viable measures for combatting Corona and for mitigating the effects of the disease.
- Stagger lunch breaks to reduce contact.
- Conduct regular health and safety risk assessments in consultation with the workers, whilst ensuring that measures are put in place to ensure a healthy workplace as required by law. This includes the provision of necessary protective equipment.
- For more information regarding Corona related state assistance contact Teboho Thejane at Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) via 082 697 0694 or [email protected].
Get assistance from labour law experts in implementing anti-Corona measures that could infringe the legal rights of employees.
BY Ivan Israelstam, Chief Executive of Labour Law Management Consulting. Edited by skills portal . He may be contacted on (011) 888-7944 or 0828522973 or via e-mail address: [email protected]labourlawadvice.co.za. Website: www.labourlawadvice.co.za.
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