COVID19 and the South African Workplace
Coronavirus and the outbreak in South Africa
As COVID19 or the Coronavirus officially becomes a global pandemic it is understandable that there is a degree of confusion about how this virus impacts the workplace. At the time of writing, South Africa has a comparably smaller outbreak than parts of Europe such as Italy, France and even the UK. What is happening in Italy, especially, is causing concern and a level of panic in countries such as South Africa. However, the facts around addressing the pandemic in the workplace in South Africa are straightforward.
When Not If
The workplace is not immune to the Coronavirus and health experts around the world are saying “when, not if” about the virus spreading further in South Africa. There is a lot of information available on the internet and social media about the symptoms of and general advice about the bug, not all of it is true, and it is well worthwhile doing a little research before taking drastic steps unless the government decides to intervene as is the case in Italy. However, there are a few advisories well worth taking note of.
The first step is to keep calm and prevent any form of panic. COVID19 is deadly serious and concern among employees can be expected but keeping a calm and almost low key attitude without ignoring the elephant in the room is vital.
In companies that employ staff that travel some extra cautionary awareness may be required. If your company has staff that have recently travelled to infected countries such as Italy you should follow the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department of Health and its National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), it could be wholly appropriate to instruct the employee to work from home until all the facts are known. Just because one person has returned from an infected country there is no need to impose any blanket decisions, these could be detrimental to the entire company.
Sick Leave and Special Leave
To a degree, the Coronavirus is seeing employers and companies, in general, enter unchartered waters, especially in the area of leave. There is a prescribed number of sick days allowed in terms of labour law and where possible this should be adhered to. If an employee is confirmed as having the COVID19 Virus and is requested to self-isolate or be quarantined for a period of time a sick note will be required. However, should circumstances arrive and more employees are asked to self-isolate changes to how business is done may be required and either special leave of some kind needs to the negotiated or a work from home deal put in place. With some employees also opting to self-quarantine, there are several labour law considerations that South African businesses will have to consider.
Managing the HR Processes
Managing the HR Processes when it comes to the Coronavirus, and sick leave in general can be a monumental task without the proper HR Management Solution. HRSimplified, as the name suggests, makes managing sick leave and all HR Related tasks a breeze, saving time and saving money in areas that are often not noticed. Managing your sick leave and processes in a compliant manner is essential, on paper and in excel this cannot be achieved and for as little as R15 per employee per month HRSimplified is the perfect solution.
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For more detailed information from the South Africa Govement click HERE
Protection measures for everyone:
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the websites and social media of the national Department of Health (www.health.gov.za), National Institute for Communicable Diseases (www.nicd.ac.za) and World Health Organisation (www.who.int).
Most people who become infected will experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following: