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Do You Have A Chronic Disease Management Policy?
The right of cancer employees to choose occupation or profession in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
Cancer is becoming more common and South Africa is no exception. With information available on non-communicable diseases and chronic illnesses, employers can deal better with the situation. Employee well-being as the priority in the workplace should not be exclusive of cancer management.
HR practitioners need to understand the challenges and what needs to be done so that they can advise management on best practices. A policy that covers cancer in general can be a good start.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act no. 108 of 1996 clearly states the rights of the citizens of this country, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Section 23 of the Constitution clearly states that “everyone has the right to fair labour practices”. Is this the reality in every workplace, public and private sector? The South African Bill of Rights enshrines the rights of everybody in the country. One of the values is human dignity. Cancer patients need the privileges of their dignity to be respected and protected. How they are treated at the workplace should speak to their citizenship rights in the country. The environment that they work in should also not be harmful to their wellbeing. With the alarming rate of cancer statistics, every employee needs to be in a safe working environment that will not be harmful to their health, as stated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act no. 181 of 1993 (as amended).
HR Practitioners must ensure that relevant legislation is adhered to.
1. An appropriate wellness strategy and policy are in place.
2. Occupational Health and Safety requirements are adhered to.
3. A policy on chronic disease management is developed and implemented.
4. There is the appropriate management of opportunities for people with disabilities.
5. Quality of work-life and wellbeing is maintained for all employees.
6. Appropriate support is offered to cancer sufferers, which includes:
- A safe and supportive working environment.
- Review of the duties of such an employee during the phase of treatment and recovery.
- Employees with cancer should be treated with dignity and respect and this should be communicated to staff members.
Source: SABPP Fact Sheet December 2018 No 2018/11
Reference: Dr CA Maimela, LLB, LLM, LLD
Senior Lecturer, Department of Private Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa