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Dismissal of workers because of positive HIV status to be outlawed

Published:Tuesday | December 17, 2013 | 9:13 AM

The government is closer to enacting laws which will impose sanctions on employers who dismiss workers based on their HIV/AIDS status.

Such persons will be seen to commit an offence and will be liable to face sanctions in a Resident Magistrate’s Court.

And employers who seek to compel potential or existing workers to submit to an HIV test as a condition of employment will also be seen as committing an offence.

These restrictions are to come into being when the Occupational Health and Safety Act is enacted next year.

Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier insists that the legislation, which has been long in coming, will be passed before the end of the financial year on March 31, 2014.

He is therefore urging employers to begin to develop a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS.

Kellier was speaking yesterday as he launched the White Paper on the National Workplace Policy on HIV and AIDS.

The policy will form part of the regulations which will accompany the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The labour and social security minister says a monitoring and enforcement unit, staffed with 20 investigators, will be set up to ensure employers comply with the law.

He says public education and sensitisation among employers will be stepped up in the New Year.

Kellier points out that in 2007 his ministry started a voluntary compliance programme for employers and up to November this year 276 companies have come on board.

The labour and social security Minister says persons living with HIV have a right not to be discriminated against and should be allowed to earn a living.


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