People & Development

HIV / AIDS

Verref treats HIV infection as a disability in accordance with our policy of employment equity. The employer will assist managers in:
  • Maintaining a work environment that responds to the workplace issues created by HIV infection;
  • Responding to the concerns of employees who may request management assistance; and
  • Recognising that a supportive and caring response is an important factor in maintaining the quality of life for an employee who has HIV/Aids.
HIV/AIDS does not present a risk to the health or safety of co-workers and/or clients. On the basis of current medical and scientific evidence, the employer recognises that HIV/AIDS is a life-threatening illness that is not transmitted through casual personal contact under normal working conditions. Co-workers are expected to continue their working relationships with employees with HIV/AIDS.

An employee's health condition is private and confidential. An employee with HIV/AIDS is under no obligation to disclose their condition to a manager or any other employee. Managers are expected to take careful precautions to protect the confidentially of information regarding any employee's health condition, including an employee with HIV/AIDS.

An employee with HIV/AIDS is expected to meet the same performance requirement that apply to other employees, with reasonable accommodation, if necessary.  If any employee with HIV/AIDS becomes incapable of performing the work involved, managers will make reasonable accommodation, as with any other employees with disability to enable the employee to meet established performance criteria.

We also have a wellness committee called the Mpilo Steering committee that has members from management and the peer educators group leading the wellness campaigns within Verref including HIV/AIDS.



Background
HIV/AIDS is a public health hazard with serious implications on employment relationships.  A large percentage of the South African workforce is HIV/AIDS positive.  The majority of infected people is young adults who form the backbone of the economically active society.

This will have a serious negative impact on the business sector as well as on society in general as a result of:
  • Loss of productivity and morale due to HIV/AIDS.
  • Increased costs due to demand on employee benefits.
  • Loss of highly trained and skilled workers due to AIDS related illness.
  • Potential labour relations breakdown and litigation costs due to companies failing to manage HIV/AIDS effectively.
  • Absenteeism due to sickness, funerals, etc..
  • Creation of a cycle of poverty due to loss of breadwinners.
  • Increase in homelessness, crime and unemployment.
  • General decline in economy.
It is against this background that Verref believes it has the responsibility and ability to plan and implement a policy with positive strategies intended to address HIV/AIDS in the workplace.  At Verref we recognise the serious implications of HIV/AIDS on the individuals, families, business, managers as well as the co-workers of those affected, and as such are committed to address HIV/AIDS in a positive, supportive and non-discriminatory manner, with the informed support, co-operation and participation of all members of management and employees.


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