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Employers Must Grant Paid Sick Leave To Workers Who Contract COVID-19

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has given employees a list of measures that must be complied with as scores of businesses reopen on Monday under Level 4 of the national lockdown.

The majority of companies across the country were forced to shut their doors during mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To resume operations on Monday, an employer must comply with a number of measures under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which allows them to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without health risks.

Nxesi briefed media on Sunday afternoon briefing the media on basic measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in the workplace.

“Every employer must do the following: they must inform employees that if they have COVID-19 symptoms they must not be at work and grant paid sick leave or apply for COVID-19 benefits. They must appoint a manager from within the existing structure to address the concerns of the employees and workplace representatives.”

WATCH: Labour Minister Nxesi briefing on COVID-19 lockdown level 4 measures


Nxesi said employers had the responsibility to provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPEs).

The country’s 1.5 million workforce is expected to start with their duties on Monday as part of government’s efforts keep the economy afloat as the lockdown continues.

Nxesi has called on employers to put in place health and safety measures as many workers return to their posts.
“And workers must be supplied, free of charge, with appropriate personal protective equipment. Social distancing must be implemented in all common areas in and around the workplace to prevent crowding, including working spaces, canteens, meeting rooms, etc.”

Nxesi said employers should provide the necessary social distancing rules, including screening employees.

“Workers with symptoms must be placed in isolation and arrangements made for their safety and safe transport for medical examination or isolation.”

He said employers who do not comply would be required to close their doors and even face prosecution.

“Failure to fully comply with the Occupational, Safety and Health Act is a criminal offence. Failure to take necessary measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 may result in criminal prosecution.”