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Your rights at work with regards to Covid-19

by | Jul 28, 2021 | Personal Finance

Incomes have undoubtedly been affected by Covid-19 and the various levels of lockdown we have been placed under. I think anyone who has a permanent job is beyond grateful right now, but even they are uncertain around rules and regulations surrounding their jobs and how getting Covid-19 affects their income.

Attorney, Rynhardt De Lange who says that there is a lot of uncertainty currently dwelling among employees when it comes to their rights in terms of Employment Law and Covid-19.

He says: “ It is a sad truth that certain employers force their staff to work, despite staff showing symptoms of Covid-19. On the other hand, staff having symptoms refuse to isolate themselves in fear of losing their income. The third wave is here and individuals having symptoms cannot risk going to work and exposing others, without being cleared by a medical practitioner”

Here are various Covid-19  scenarios and how it impacts your rights( and subsequently your income) in the workplace.

  1. An employee shows symptoms at work and home:
    1. The employee is entitled to sick leave as contained in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. A medical certificate may be required.
    2. The employee must isolate for 10 days
    3. Should the employee not have any sick leave left, he may submit a claim with UIF.

 

  1. An employee has tested positive for Covid-19:
    1. The employee is entitled to sick leave as contained in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. A medical certificate may be required.
    2. The employee must isolate for 10 days
    3. Should the employee not have any sick leave left, he may submit a claim with UIF.

 

  1. An employee was in contact with someone that tested positive for Covid-19, however, is not showing any symptoms:
    1. The contact happened outside the workplace:
      1. The employee should isolate for 10 days.
      2. The employee will not be able to claim from sick leave benefit and normal leave days may be utilized to cover the 10 days, alternatively, it will be unpaid leave
    2. The contact happened within the workplace:
      1. This scenario is divided into two parts:
        1. High-Risk Exposure – Guidelines suggest that you were in contact with the person that tested positive for more than 15 minutes and within 1 metre not wearing any protective equipment
        2. Low-Risk Exposure – Guidelines suggest that you were in contact with the person that tested positive for less than 15 minutes and more than 1 metre apart and wearing protective equipment
      2. High-Risk exposure:
        1. The employee is entitled to sick leave as contained in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
        2. The employee must isolate for 10 days
        3. Should the employee not have any sick leave left, he may submit a claim with UIF
      3. Low-Risk exposure:
        1. The employee must monitor his/her symptoms for 10 days. The employee may continue to work whilst wearing a face mask.

 

 

Speak to your HR department or contact the Department of Labour if you are unsure about work-related Covid-19 issues. Dealing with the financial, physical, emotional and mental toll of this pandemic is not easy. If you get Covid-19  – and have severe symptoms, chances are that you will be physically affected for more than 10- 14 days.  Try and financially prepare for this time. Save when and where you can –  and spend wisely. Every little bit helps when Covid-19 hits your home and work.

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