Minister of Employment and labour Thulas Nxesi says that government is working on a new draft labour directive for South Africa’s level 3 lockdown.
Nxesi said in a media briefing on Friday (29 May), that the draft directive will amend the existing coronavirus lockdown regulations based on consultations with unions and business.
The directive also reflects that most of the workforce will return from 1 June, he said.
Chief among the new changes is a provision which allows employees to refuse to work if they have a ‘reasonable belief’ that the necessary precautions have not been put in place to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
“Where such disputes arise, employers should seek to resolve these as quickly as possible. If the dispute leads to the dismissal or another unfair labour practice, the cases may be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
“We have activated them (the CCMA) from the beginning of the week.”
Nxesi said that the directive will also provide for:
- Provision for staff above 60 and others which have comorbidities;
- Provision for 14 days of paid sick leave if an employee contracts the coronavirus at work;
- All employers should provide at least two free masks to all workers under the latest draft directive.
- An outline of when employers will have to wear their masks at work.
Nxesi said that these draft directives will be published in due course.