The Foschini Retail Group (hereafter referred to as TFG) recognises that HIV/AIDS poses a serious socio-economic and public health threat and that people throughout Africa are affected by the spread of this pandemic.
The aim of our policy is to combat the spread and minimise the impact of HIV/AIDS on our employees, their families, our customers and the community at large through the provision of education and information about HIV/AIDS, the provision of free counselling, testing, treatment and support and the promotion of non-discriminatory practices.
This policy should be read in conjunction with related South African and country specific legislation. This policy is in keeping with international labour standards as well as with the prohibition in South African law of unfair discrimination on the grounds of HIV status. TFG is committed to using its infrastructure to educate employees about HIV/AIDS and to communicate its HIV/AIDS workplace policies, practices and programmes to all employees in a simple, clear and unambiguous manner.
Objectives of the Policy
The objectives of this Policy are to:
• Reduce and manage the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on TFG and its employees;
• Provide a framework whereby TFG will meet its social responsibilities to its employees arising out of the HIV/AIDS pandemic;
• Ensure that employees of TFG who have HIV/AIDS are dealt with compassionately and respectfully, and that they have access to counselling, testing, treatment and support.
• Ensure that any unfair discrimination or rejection of people with HIV/AIDS is avoided and that they are not subjected to moral prejudice.
• Assure employees that confidentiality will be maintained in all employee related matters.
The policy will cover all successful job applicants as from date of employment, current and future employees of TFG.
TFG is committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory environment. This is in keeping with country specific labour laws that prohibit unfair discrimination on the grounds of HIV status.
Job Access (Recruitment / Pre-Employment)
Routine, mandatory HIV testing is not a pre-condition for employment and is not required for any position, promotion, training or travel opportunity. No direct or indirect HIV screening methods will be permitted for the purpose of written or oral interviews.
There will be no mandatory, routine HIV testing in the workplace. Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) will be offered to all employees as a means to:
• Ensure that employees who test negative remain negative
• Ensure that employees who test positive are made aware of the benefits and support available through the medical scheme or employer (uninsured employees)
• In the event of a workplace injury or accident (occupational exposure) employees will be advised by the relevant Human Resources department to undergo a voluntary HIV test to:
• Access, if necessary, post-exposure prophylaxis via the relevant service provider
• Submit, if necessary, a claim for compensation.
Employees who volunteer for counselling and testing (VCT) will be referred to a confidential service provider.
In the event of any other accidental exposure to the virus e.g. through rape, accidental needle prick etc. employees will be eligible to receive post-exposure prophylactic medication from the service provider
Employees living with HIV/ AIDS have a legal right to confidentiality about their medical status. Employees have no obligation to inform their employer of their HIV status.
All medical information about employees will remain confidential and will only be released to a specified third party with the written consent of the employee.
HIV status will not be a factor in job status, training/education, promotion or transfer. Any changes in job status will be based on the existing criteria of equality of opportunity, merit and capacity to perform the work to a satisfactory standard.
Managing ill health
No employee will be dismissed merely on the basis of their HIV status, nor will HIV status be a factor in retrenchment procedures.
Employees with HIV/AIDS have the right to continue working for as long as they are able to meet the requirements of the position and where no risk is posed to the business.
Where an employee is too ill to continue working, the company has a disability policy to assist the employee and his/her family by providing an income replacement benefit.
The Head of Remuneration, Benefits and Wellness will ensure that employee benefits are non-discriminatory, sustainable and provide support to all employees living with HIV/ AIDS.
Benefit schemes administered by TFG will ensure that all medical information about its employees remain confidential.
The rules governing early retirement on the grounds of ill health will apply to an employee in the event that he/she is medically certified as too ill to work. The employee will be able to access retirement benefits, which includes continuation membership of the relevant medical scheme
Conditions of service with regard to annual leave, sick leave and compassionate leave will apply equally to employees with HIV/AIDS as it does for any other medical or life-threatening disease as outlined in the company’s policies and procedures. All other employee benefits will apply equally to employees with HIV/AIDS without any unfair discrimination.
Counselling, Testing, Treatment and Support (available to employees working at TFG)
All employees are encouraged to go for free HIV testing at any of the TFG Clinics. All employees who are HIV+ qualify for treatment and support through a service provider. All employees qualify for post-exposure prophylaxis.
Resignation, Retirement, Dismissal and Retrenchment
In the event that an employee did not belong to a medical scheme and was accessing HIV related treatment through a workplace treatment programme, such benefits will be available to the employee on retirement or retrenchment for a period of 3 (three) months or 1 (one) month on resignation or dismissal. The employee will also be advised about alternative public treatment facilities.
Risk Management, First Aid and Compensation
Recognising that occupational exposure of HIV may occur, appropriate precautionary measures will be taken to reduce any such risk, including the use of universal precautions, the appointment of first aid officers where indicated in the work environment, and the dissemination of clear and accurate information about reducing such risk in the workplace.
If an employee is occupationally exposed to HIV, he/she will be offered immediate access to free post exposure prophylaxis.
HIV & AIDS, STI and TB Education and Prevention
• Information about HIV/AIDS, STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) and TB (tuberculosis) will be made available to all employees.
• The information will be available in a user-friendly format that is appropriate for the particular workplace.
• Employees may also contact INCON, a confidential central internal resource, to request information or assistance about HIV/AIDS and other health related issues.
• Where possible, condoms will be made freely available in the workplace.
• Support to AIDS organisations within the community will be provided through our Corporate Social Investment programme.
Protection Against Unfair Discrimination
All reasonable steps will be taken to protect employees living with or affected by HIV/ AIDS from stigmatisation and discrimination by other employees or clients.
The HIV status of all employees will be treated with strict confidentiality. Any employee who breaches this confidentiality will be subject to disciplinary action.
Any employee who discriminates against another employee, or any individual or group of people connected with TFG in any way, on the basis of their HIV status, will be subject to disciplinary action.
Grievance Handling and Disciplinary Action
TFG Grievance Handling Policy will apply to any HIV related employee grievance.
Monitoring and Review
This policy will be reviewed annually. All stakeholders will be consulted regarding any revision made to this policy.
This document contains the entire HIV/AIDS Policy of TFG and regulates TFG and its employees’ rights and obligations in respect of HIV/AIDS. No alterations, variations, additions to or deletions from this HIV/AIDS Policy shall be of force or effect, unless reduced to writing and signed by TFG’s Chief Executive Officer.
Labour and Other Legislation Governing this Policy
As far as possible, this policy will comply with international human rights standards. This policy will also be read in conjunction with the following South African legislation:
• Sectoral Determination 9 governing Wholesale and Retail promulgated under Basic Conditions of Employment Act (75:1997)
• Compensation for Occupational Diseases and Injuries Act (130:1993)
• Employment Equity Act (55:1998)
• Labour Relations Act (66:1995)
• Medical Schemes Act (131:1998)
• Occupational Health and Safety Act (85:1993)
• Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (4:2000)
• The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (108:1996)