There are many good reasons why a business should have a suite of workplace policies. The two most important are: (1) avoiding infections that could have a detrimental impact on your staff and could result in other staff members and their families being infected; and (2) avoiding legal issues including the closure of your operations and legal claims from infected staff.
Appropriate policies set a standard of behavior and performance that is expected from employees and provide the necessary guidelines to ensure that all staff are able to comply. This new world that we are operating in is likely to be around for some time.
The Covid-19 pandemic has, to date, caused nations to virtually shut down by way of draconian lockdowns imposed by governments around the world in an attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ and not overwhelm health care systems. Many countries, including South Africa, have begun easing these lockdowns in an attempt to get the wheels of the economy turning again.
Along with the many difficulties facing businesses during this time, the Regulations issued by the Government of South Africa, as well as the applicable legislation, place a requirement (and a responsibility) on employers to have the correct policies and procedures in place to deal with Covid-19 and the effect that it has on the workplace and employees alike.
Businesses operating under Level 4 Regulations, as well as those who operate as essential services under Level 5 (as well as those additional businesses who will begin to operate on Alert Levels 3,2 and 1), must ensure that they have workplace policies in place dealing with things like, sick leave in relation to Covid-19, short term alternative working arrangements, self-isolation and forced isolation, travel, workforce reductions, consequence of breach and the like. These requirements are mandatory.
It is of utmost importance for employers to have safe operating procedures in place in order to protect their employees. The same goes for ensuring that an employer conducts the necessary risk assessments and ensures that its workforce is suitably trained for dealing with this ‘new normal’.
Employers must also ensure that they have the right policies and procedures in place for dealing with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 in order to limit the transmission of the virus and ensure that it is doing its part in the fight against Covid-19.
At Contractzone, we strive to make it easy for businesses to deal with their legal and compliance needs. We have put together a Covid-19 Workplace Policy Pack that deals with all of the above. We have even gone so far as to have our design team create 5 posters that can be displayed around the workplace alerting staff to things like social distancing, handwashing and the use of face masks.
The pack of documents includes the following:
• Covid-19 Workplace Policy;
• Safe Operating Procedures;
• Self Audit Checklist;
• Risk Assessment Guidelines;
• Visitors Health Screening Form;
• Covid-19 Awareness Training;
• Procedure for Medical Screening;
• Employee Medical Screening Information Form;
• Guidelines to deal with suspected/confirmed Covid-19 cases in the workplace;
• Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) Reporting Guidelines; and
• 5 workplace posters/signs, relating to health and safety, to be displayed in the workplace (including handwashing, social distancing, use of hand sanitizer, coughing/sneezing instructions, and the use of face masks).