DRAFT EMPLOYEE WELLNESS POLICY | YOUR INPUT IS REQUIRED!

Here follows a copy of the SABC’s proposed Employee Wellness Policy. We require your input, either by email to headoffice@bemawu.org.za or by commenting on this post.

We prefer your comments, as other members will have the benefit of seeing it, and build on those comments. If you do not wish to have your comment published, please state so at the end of your submission/comment.

We think this Policy is overly legalistic, too complicated and formalistic  and  drafted by a consultant who has nothing else to do and must justify his salary.

A copy of the policy can be downloaded here SABC Wellness policy review V2_FINAL_20160922_

PLEASE COMMENT AND RESPOND AS THIS POLICY WILL APPLY TO YOU!  


SABC POLICY No. HR/007/16/N
POLICY TITLE: SABC EMPLOYEE WELLNESS POLICY
CUSTODIAN AREA: ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (HR)
PREPARED BY: NOMUSA KWEYAMA
DATE APPROVED:
EFFECTIVE DATE:
APPROVED BY:

Table of Contents:

  1. Preamble…………………………………………………………………………..    3
  2. Purpose of the Policy……………………………………………………………    3
  3. Definitions of the Concepts……………………………………………………..    4 – 10
  4. Scope of Application…………………………………………………………….    10
  5. Legislative, regulatory and policy framework………………………………    10 – 11
  6. Principles…………………………………………………………………………..    11- 13
  7. Eligibility …………………………………………………………………………..    13
  8. Objectives………………………………………………………………………….    14
  9. Implementation Programmes…………………………………………………..    14 – 15
  10. Referral procedure………………………………………………………………..    16
  11. Medical Emergencies injuries…………………………………………………..    17 – 18
  12. Bereavement & Pastoral Care………………………………………………….    18
  13. Confidentiality……………………………………………………………………..    18 – 19
  14. Medical Boarding………………………………………………………………….    19
  15. Incapacity Due to Ill-Health…………………………………………………….    19 – 20
  16. Factors to consider for incapacity process………………………………….    20
  17. Travel Medicine……………………………………………………………………    21
  18. Disability as a result of ill-health/injury………………………………………    21 – 22
  19. Reasonable Accommodation……………………………………………………    22 – 23
  20. Life-threatening diseases………………………………………………………..    24
  21. HIV and AIDS………………………………………………………………………    25 – 26
  22. Return to work & reintegration………………………………………………….27
  23. Special leave due to ill-health……………………………………………………    27
  24. Roles and Responsibilities ……………………………………………………..    28 – 29
  25. Deviations………………………………………………………………………….    29
  26. Policy Review…………………………………………………………………….    29
  27. Policy Monitoring and Evaluation………………………………………………    30
  28. Addendum and Annexures………………………………………………………    30 – 36

  1. PREAMBLE

SABC recognises its employee’s wellbeing as the valued Human Capital asset within the organisation. In taking care of the Human Capital, the SABC undertakes to establish an accessible Employee Health and Wellness workplace program. Employee Wellness is an organisation’s approach to enhance employee wellbeing through the promotion of healthy attitudes and behaviours in order to ensure optimal engagement.

PURPOSE OF THE POLICY

    1. The purpose of this Policy is to provide the SABC with a framework for employee health and wellness through the provision of an integrated Employee Health and Wellness Programme.
    2. This programme aims to address issues of employee health and wellness in the workplace in order to create and maintain a healthy, happy and productive organisation.
    3. The SABC strives to provide an integrated Health and Wellness Program that promotes the employees holistic wellbeing, adheres to statutory requirements and promotes organisational sustainability.
    4. The policy guarantees that employees will have confidential access to Wellness. This includes Primary Health Care, Occupational Health and Employee Assistance Services, while preserving human dignity, respect and employee’s privacy. This policy guarantees that no employee accessing the services shall be discriminated against as per SABC employment policy.
  1. DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
TERMS

DESCRIPTION

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS)

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). By damaging the immune system, HIV interferes with the body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection.

Abuse of Service

The utilisation of the service as a way of avoiding to deal with poor performance, discipline or a grievance. This also includes utilisation of the service as an excuse not to perform duties even when one has recovered mentally or physically in terms of the issue that was initially affecting ones performance.

Counselling

A confidential and professional service provided to vulnerable employee(s) to assist in the management of psycho-social problems.

Disability

A long-term or recurring physical or mental impairment which substantially limits prospects of entry into or advancement in employment”

The scope of protecting people with disabilities addresses the impact that the disability may have on an individual’s work environment. Concessions are not based purely on the diagnosis of the impairment.

Employee

Means a person employed in terms of Public Service Act 1994 and Employment Educators Act No. 76 of 1998.

Employee Assistance Programme

A programme designed to provide employees with confidential and professional assistance in dealing with a broad range of human relations problems. This is done by identifying and addressing employees personal problems that may be having an impact on their productivity.

Employee Health and Wellness (EH&W)

An active process through which organisations become aware of, and make choices towards a more successful existence. The concept of employee health and wellness is one where active steps can be taken to reduce chronic disease and mitigate its debilitating impact on personal lives and organisational productivity.

Employee Health and Wellness Consultant

A specialist who is not necessarily professionally trained, but would have the capacity to perform tasks specifically related to EH&W. These include referral, liaison, training and servicing the internal EH&WP services to SABC employees.

Employee Health and Wellness Programme (EH&WP)

A programme designed to promote the health and wellness of all employees with the aim of creating a conducive and safe working environment that enables employees to function optimally.

Financial wellness

Refers to the ability to maintain a fully developed and well balanced plan for managing one’s financial life that is integrated with personal values and goals.

Immediate Family Member

Refers to a spouse, partner or household members and dependants of an employee

Ill-health

Refers mainly to people with long term conditions and illnesses that cannot currently be cured but can be controlled with the use of medication and/or other therapies.

Impairment

A mental or physical condition which has adversely affected a person’s competence, and performance.

Impairment may be physical or mental.

(ii) ‘Physical’ impairment means a partial or total loss of a bodily function or part of the body. It includes sensory impairments such as being deaf, hearing impaired or visually impaired and any combination of physical or mental impairment.

(iii) ‘Mental’ impairment means a clinically recognised condition or illness that affects a person’s thought processes, judgment or emotions.

Long term impairment

Impairment has lasted or is likely to persist for at least twelve months.

Short term impairment

A temporary illness or injury which can be managed within a short period. Short term impairment cannot be used to declare disability.

Recurring impairment

A substantially limiting form of impairment identified by the nature and extent of its frequency and recurrence. It is symptomatic of constant, underlying conditions which fluctuate.

Incapacity

Refers to the incapability of an employee to perform their duties according to the requirements of the job. Incapacity manages poor work performance so as to consider areas for reasonable accommodation to assist employees managing ill health or injury.

Temporary Incapacity

Relates to cases of illness where the illness is of a temporary nature.

Permanent Incapacity

Means permanent ill-health relates to cases where the illness or condition is of a permanent nature and there is a poor prognosis of recovery.

Life threatening diseases

Refers to the medical conditions/ diseases that are most likely to cause fatality or reduce the life span.

Medical boarding

Refers to employees who have been declared medically unfit to continue working in their own or alternative occupation as well as an open labour market.

Organisation

SABC – South African Broadcasting Corporation

Pastoral Care

Support and counselling provided by religious leaders and practitioners, to employees of all faiths and includes home visits, in line with the employee’s religious culture.**

Progressive conditions

Conditions that are likely to worsen over time. People diagnosed with progressive conditions are declared disabled once the impairment becomes substantially limiting. Progressive or conditions which do not substantially limit a person’s capacity to perform are not declared disabilities.

Physical wellness

Promotes taking care of your body for optimal health and functioning

Psychological wellness

Refers to the state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Reasonable accommodation

Refers to the actions an employer would be required to make so that a person with a disability (including a Mental Disability) can fulfil the essential functions of their job.

Re-integration to work

A process designed to facilitate the workplace reintegration of employees concerned, who experience a reduction in work capacity as a result of either occupational or non-occupational diseases or injuries.

Referrer

The person initiating a referral. These will include Line Manager, Supervisor, Human Resources, Employee Wellness Manager, Consultant and Practitioners.

Referral Procedure

Employees who require EH&W services can voluntarily seek assistance, or can be referred to EH&W based on problems associated with job performance.

Self-referral

Refers to a process whereby an employee recognises that he or she has a problem and seeks help from the EH&W consultant / Service Provider without management referral.

Management/Formal referral

Refers to a referral initiated by manager/HR which aims to address psycho-social problems which are impacting negatively on their work performance. This referral is voluntary, however, and the employee needs to give written consent should he or she agree to participate in the programme.

Assisted referral:

Is a referral process that supports a vulnerable employee whose issues have a minimal impact on work performance. This is usually conducted when the employee has experienced a trauma or an incident has occurred and the HR/Manager/Wellness consultant referrer wants to ensure that the individual has access to counselling support.

Participation in the above Employee Health and Wellness referral processes is strictly confidential. See attached annexure on process flow.

Return and re-integration to work

A system of returning employees to work quickly and safely after injury or illness by identifying and appropriately managing temporary work restrictions.

Service Provider

An external person / company / organisation contracted by the SABC to render EH&W services.

Social wellness

Involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you.

Spiritual wellness

Refers to integrating of beliefs and values with actions; it enhances the connection between mind, body and spirit.

Substance Abuse

The consumption of intoxicating substances by an employee which detrimentally affects his or her performance or ability to do the work and/or relationships at work. It includes both intoxication and impairment at work.

Substances include: (inter alia alcohol, solvents, prescription drugs such as analgesics, cough syrups, diet preparations and stimulants, which may or may not be taken with medical supervision, as well as illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, tik etc.).

Vulnerable employee (employee in need of help)

An employee suffering from personal, health or work-related problems to an extent that these may or may not impact negatively on their work performance.

Wellness Champion

Refers to employee/s that will assist the EH&W consultant/s in identifying, preventing and managing their health and wellness in the respective provinces.

 

LIST OF ACRONYMS

  • EHW – Employee Health and Wellness
  • EH&WP – Employee Health and Wellness Programme
  • HIV – Human immunodeficiency virus
  • HR – Human Resources
  • AIDS – Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  1. SCOPE OF APPLICATION
    1. This policy applies to all employees within the South African Broadcast Corporation.

  2. LEGISLATIVE, REGULATORY AND POLICY FRAMEWORK

The Policy and Procedure has been developed in accordance to the following applicable legislation and the amendments:

  • Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013
  • Employment Equity Act No. 55 of 1998
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993
  • Compensation for Occupational Health Injuries and Diseases Act, No 130 of 1993
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, No. 108 of 1996.
  • Medical Schemes Act, No 131 of 1998
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act, No 75 of 1997
  • National Health Act, No 61 of 2003
  • Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment
  • The Domestic Violence Act. Act No. 116 of 1998;
  • The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Amendment Act, Act No. 14 of 1999:
  • The Child Care Act, Act No. 74 of 1983:
  • The National Credit Act, Act No. 34 of 2005
  • The Medical Scheme Act, Act No. 131 of 1998 :
  • EAPA SA Standards – Standards for Employee Assistance Programmes in South Africa
  • Policy and Procedure on Incapacity and Ill-Health Retirements /medical boarding
  • Labour Relations Act. 66 of 1995
  • SABC Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Policy
  • SABC Disability and Life Threatening Policy
  • SABC HIV/AIDS Policy
  1. PRINCIPLES

The SABC believes that the success of Employee Health & Wellness Programmes depends on the degree to which management and employees support the implementation and maintenance of the following principles:

  1. Confidentiality: Confidentiality within the law shall be maintained at all times. Any person’s information shared with the EWP shall not be shared with a third party, except with that person’s expressed written consent. Consent is always a prerequisite for disclosure of EWP information, except as otherwise provided by contract or by law. Although Confidentiality is always stressed, there are certain situations where limitations to the right of confidentiality will apply:
  • Where child neglect and/or abuse is suspected
  • If a person is imminently suicidal or perceived to be dangerous to others
  • If an employee at work needs psychiatric or medical attention
  • If a court order or government agency compels disclosure
  • In a safety-sensitive work environment where psychosocial problems may pose a significant safety risk
  • Where there is risk to the organisation (such as through fraud, substance abuse or similar)
  1. Neutrality: In the interest of representing both the employee and management, the Employee Health & Wellness Consultants will remain neutral. The role of the EH&W Consultant is that of advisor, concerned primarily with safeguarding and improving employee wellness while enhancing performance.

  2. Accessibility: The Employee Assistance Programme will be accessible to all SABC permanent and fixed-term contract employees at all levels. Independent contractors, interns and casual workers have access to the primary health services offered at the wellness clinics. The services are medical (emergency) consultations whilst on SABC premises, bereavement care and trauma counselling and support.

  • Voluntary participation: Employees participation in the programme is voluntary, even in cases of management referrals. However, if an employee decides against participating in the programme in cases of management referral (particularly referral due to poor performance), the manager may deal with the employee in terms of the management of poor performance. If an employee should decide to utilise the services of another external professional not contracted to the SABC to deal with the problem, the employee is encouraged to provide proof of such support which will be in the best interest of the employee.

 

  1. Freedom from stigmatisation: Employees will participate in the programme without pressure, stigma or judgment. Employees participating in the programme will not be victimised or discriminated against in any way. It is strictly prohibited for any employee to judge, pressurise or attach a negative interpretation to any employee participating in this programme. Remedial action may be taken if employees are victimised or stigmatised.

  • Equal and dignified treatment: With reference to cultural, religious and spiritual affiliations, employees referred to the EH & WP will be treated with dignity and respect. Employees will receive the equal consideration as individual with health problems or impairment and will therefore be covered under the employee health benefits. In terms of the policy directives, all employees will, be treated equally.

 

  • Prevention of abuse: Supervisors/ Managers/HR and employees have a responsibility to ensure that the service is not abused. EH&W services are not a substitute for the management of poor performance and discipline.

 

  1. Employees who manipulate and abuse the services of Wellness which contravene the conduct codes of the corporation may discount themselves from the programme and be subject to disciplinary action. If a manager or supervisor interferes with or disrupts the utilisation of the service by the employee without justification and the employee is unable to resolve the matter directly with the manager or supervisor, the employee can report the matter to the EH&W Consultant/Manager.

  • Support to employee’s family and household: The EH&WP is available to assist immediate family and household members of employees.

  • Employee records: All records pertaining to formally referred cases to EH&W and/or the service provider for the EH&WP will be kept by EH&W and or the service provider. Records and will remain the property of EH&W and or service provider unless written authorisation is consented from the employee to divulge such information. However, a brief, sanitised report will be provided to with the Human Resource Business Partner/Consultant for the employees’ personal file. The report will confirm the employees referral to EH&W and provide reasons, treatment plan, outcome and recommendations for the referral.

 

  1. ELIGIBILITY

This policy shall apply to all persons who are permanently employed. Fixed term employees, independent contractors, interns and casual workers have limited access to services. These services are medical (emergency) consultations whilst on SABC premises and trauma counselling and support.

  1. OBJECTIVES

The SABC Employee Health & Wellness Programme aims to:

  1. Provide professional accessible and adequate Occupational Health Care, Primary Health Care, Wellness and Employee Assistance Services to all SABC employees.
  2. Promote health and wellness to employees.
  3. Promote and providing a healthy and safe work environment.
  4. Create a supportive work environment that enables employees to function optimally.
  5. Ensure early identification, management and referral of occupational related and non-occupational injuries which pose a risk to the SABC i.e. Occupational Health & Safety.
  1. EH&WP IMPLEMENTATION
  1. The programme is implemented by Group Organisational Development in particular SABC Employee Health and Wellness unit in partnership with an external service provider contracted by the SABC. The EH&WP focuses on four main pillars:
  • Occupational Health
  • Primary Health Management
  • Wellness and Lifestyle Management
  • Employee Assistance Programme.

SABC Employee Health and Wellness makes the provision for these services by ensuring the provision of the following:

  1. Occupational Health:
  • Health Risk Assessment
  • Medical surveillance and biological monitoring programmes as per Health Risk Assessment, Occupational Hygiene and Ergonomics, Hazardous Chemical and Substances Surveys
  • Fitness for work assessment for pre-employment, transfer and exit medicals, including post long illness, accident and/or injury assessments
  • Quarterly inspections for ablution, canteen, safety, medical waste and workshop facilities
  • A reasonably safe and healthy working environment;
  • Information, training and supervision necessary to ensure health especially in high risk areas
  • Disability and incapacity assessments and reviews of independent medicals
  1. Primary Health Care:
  • Preventative Care: Travel medicine, Flu vaccines, Family Planning.
  • Assess, Diagnose and Dispense medication for minor illnesses
  • Assessment, Diagnosis and management of chronic illnesses and emergency cases
  1. Wellness Management:
  • Health promotion and awareness programmes aimed at reducing the risk of chronic disease management communicable (e.g. HIV and AIDS, TB) and non-communicable diseases (e.g. coronary heart diseases and mental health) in the workplace.
  • Implementing interventions to promote physical, social, emotional occupational, spiritual and intellectual wellness.
  • Management and support – with the employees consent – to employees suffering from chronic disease and communicable diseases.
  1. Employee Assistance Programme (EAP):

    The program will include access to a telephonic Life Management service offering information and assistance on legal problems, financial concerns, personal and family matters. Life Management services provide detailed, practical information, education, resources and referrals to help individuals manage their work-life responsibilities. The three major categories covered by Life Management services which include access to a service offering information and assistance on legal problems, financial concerns and family matters.

Individual and Group Counseling sessions entails but not limited to:

  • Stress
  • Financial issues
  • Legal issues
  • Personal/family
  • Physical issues.
  • Life skills and psychosocial related training/workshops
  • Referrals for rehabilitation
  • Research on behavioral tendencies
  • Conflict management and resolution

The EAP services complement the disciplinary process but they are not part of it. The supervisor should not offer the EAP as an alternative to disciplinary action. When disciplinary action is called for, and the supervisor determines that the EAP might be helpful, it should be suggested as an adjunct to disciplinary action.

  1. REFERRAL PROCEDURES
    1. Self-referral
      1. Employees can visit the Wellness Centre, make use of telephonic self-referral, call back facility or make an appointment without the knowledge or participation of the manager/supervisor, HR and Employee Wellness.
      2. If the attendance of the wellness consultation sessions overlaps with the working hours, it is recommended that there should a mutual agreement between employee and the supervisor. The agreement should be negotiated in relation to operational requirements.
      3. If an employee is deemed occupationally unfit for work they will be referred to an appropriate treatment specialist
      4. Should hospitalisation be recommended, the employee will be deemed absent due to ill-health and will be expected to utilise sick leave as per leave policy.
      5. In the case of self-referral, the referral outcome or report will not be shared with any third party.
    2. Managerial or Formal / Assisted referral
      1. The managerial also known as formal or assisted referral can be initiated by either a Manager, Supervisor, Human Resources and Employee Wellness Manager/Consultants/ Practitioner.
        1. The referrer must have an initial discussion with the employee and highlight reasons for referral, anticipated referral outcome and support that will be rendered during the referral process.
        2. If the employee accepts to undergo a formal referral, a consent form must be signed by him/her. The referrer should be granted permission to obtain an interim and final report.
        3. If the employee does not agree to the referral, the referrer should document the reasons and it must be signed by the employee, referrer and a witness e.g. Union Representative (if available) or Human Resources Representative.
        4. It is advisable that a referrer also discusses the possible outcomes of refusal (such as inability to support the employee) and where disciplinary is warranted, it will be applied accordingly.
        5. Where there is a need for extensive rehabilitation, which may include inpatient or outpatient treatment, the employee should apply for sick leave.
        6. Once an employee’s standard sick leave is depleted leave policy clauses will apply.
        7. If the employee needs time off work for rehabilitation as an inpatient, the employer may grant sick leave based on availability as per the sick leave cycle.
        8. Any cost incurred for the hospitalisation, treatment plan, rehabilitation would come from the employee’s medical aid.
        9. The treating specialist or therapist will be required to provide a sanitised report with recommendations to the employee and to the organisation.
        10. A meeting between Line Manager, Human Resources, Employee, Employee Wellness Consultant/Practitioner, Occupational Health Nurse/ Doctor (optional), Social Worker (where applicable) will convene to discuss the recommendations and action plan.
        11. Once recommendations are implemented, Employee Wellness will monitor the employee’s re-integration into a workplace for a period of three months in order to provide aftercare and support.
        12. If the referral outcome is satisfactory a final feedback session will held with all the parties as indicated in clause 10.2.11, following which the file will be closed.

  2. MEDICAL EMERGENCIES AND INJURIES
    1. Management of Medical Emergencies
      1. Emergencies can occur at any time for a variety of reasons. The first priority is always safety of employees. SABC EH&W responds instantly to medical emergencies that occurs during working hours.

    2. Personal injury – minor
      1. Contact the nearest First Aid Officer within the floor /building.
      2. Send the injured person to SABC Wellness Clinic/Center if necessary (business hours only).
      3. During Wellness Clinic non-operational hours, call the hospital emergency services.
      4. Inform supervisor and Occupational Health and Safety Manager/ Practitioner/ Coordinator.
      5. Complete a confidential incident /injury report form (Annexure A).
      1. Personal injury – major
        1. In severe acute, injury cases, the Wellness Clinic or first aiders will be called to respond and assist.
        2. Injured person must not be left unattended until professional assistance is sought.
        3. Ensure the area is clear for emergency personnel
        4. Inform Line Manager/ Supervisor and Security Office.
        5. Complete a confidential incident/injury report form (Annexure A).
      2. Providing information when reporting an injury

It is essential to provide the following information when reporting an injury:

  • Name
  • Location (building, level, room number)
  • Nature and type of injury
  • State of consciousness of the injured person(s)
  • Age and gender of the injured person(s)
  • If possible, the names of the injured person(s)
  • Any relevant information – breathing/not breathing, chest pains, bleeding.
  1. BEREAVEMENT & PASTORAL CARE:**
    1. EH&W will assist bereaved employees together with screened and trained religious leaders specific to the employees religious denomination to provide counseling and assistance to employees and their immediate families.
    2. EH&W, Line Manager, Colleagues and Human Resources will conduct the home visits to sick/bereaved employees.
    3. Flowers will be taken to the homes of the bereaved and employees that have been hospitalised. The procurement of flowers will be within the allocated budget.
  1. CONFIDENTIALITY:
    1. Participation in the EH&WP will be treated with confidentiality.
    2. Management’s aim must be to assist employees when they experience difficulties.
    3. Management need to be informed about where their subordinates are but they don’t need to know the details of the problem or which psycho-social support service the employee is attending unless the employee chooses to disclose it.
    4. No information obtained from, or about an employee as a result of his or her participation in the programme shall be made available to be used for any purpose (especially in case of self-referral or unless the employee voluntarily divulges information or unless required by prescripts).
    5. The employee’s right to privacy and confidentiality shall be strictly protected.
    6. The employee shall be required to give written consent to waive confidentiality in cases where the employee and the Manager or Supervisor have entered into a voluntary EH&W participation agreement. However, information provided will only inform the employer of the employees compliance or non-compliance with the EH&W treatment programme.
    7. In cases of self-referral, anonymity will be preserved. Written consent from the employee will be required if there is a need to breach confidentiality. However, this only applies in cases where there is legal obligation to breach confidentiality.

NOTE

Confidentiality may be breached under the following conditions: where ethical standards and practices are not complied with and also if it’s a legal requirement.

.

  1. MEDICAL BOARDING
  1. Medical boarding is subject to the Rules of the SABC Pension and Provident Funds. Where medical boarding is recommended by the employee’s treating doctor for upon occupational recommendation, this will be communicated to the Human Resources Division. HR will facilitate the process together with the SABC EH&W Consultant for assessment and investigation. (Refer to Standard Operating Procedures on Medical Boarding & Incapacity).
  1. INCAPACITY DUE TO ILL-HEALTH
    1. Incapacity due to ill-health differs from poor work performance because there can be no fault attributed to the employee for incapacity due to ill-health or injury.
    2. In situations where the employee is not at fault SABC will be required to help the employee stay in employment if this is at all reasonably possible (Refer to section on reasonable accommodation.)
    3. Line Manager and Human Resources must meet with the employee (one or more times, depending on what is required to obtain all the relevant information and explore alternatives). If the employee is incapable of attending a meeting, an employee should been visited at home or in hospital, failing which a discussion with the employee’s representative should be set.
    4. Communication in writing can be considered but this is not ideal and face to face meetings are preferable.
    5. If the absence is likely to be ‘unreasonably long in the circumstances’, dismissal may be considered but all possible alternatives must be investigate short of dismissal.

  2. Factors to consider in incapacity process:
    1. What is the nature of the job?

      Is it the kind of job where one may substitute the incapacitated employee with another employee? Or is it a specialised skill where there is no-one else in the SABC who can do this job? If the latter is the case then this may be the sort of situation where the only solution is to hire a permanent replacement.

      1. How long is the employee likely to be absent?
        If the absence is likely to be short the managers may be able to delay having the task performed for a few weeks until he/she recovers and is able to come back to work.
      2. How serious or severe is the incapacity?
        If the incapacity is not serious the employee could come to work and perform certain aspects of his/her job, if not nearly all. If some of the functions can be delegated, to other employees for a specified period of time while the incapacitated employee is given opportunity to obtain medical assistance and undergo treatment. Check with the doctor that this is possible and specifically what functions he/she can and can’t be expected to perform.
      3. Is there a possibility that the employee can be temporarily replaced?

        This factor is quite closely aligned to the nature of the job. For some jobs, it is easy to employ a temp to do the job for a period of time on a fixed term/temporary contract basis. For others – particularly in the case of highly specialised or scarce and rare skills, it’s not, as people with those skills are generally all in permanent employment.

  3. TRAVEL MEDICINE
    1. Travel medicine is offered to employees. Travellers should contact the Wellness Centre and relay all their travel information to establish if and what medicine/ vaccines are required. This information includes:
  • The country being visited
  • Previous travel medicine history
  • Departure dates
  • Duration of travel
  • Number of employees that require travel medicine
  1. The type of travel medicine required is dependent on the country that is being visited; this will be discussed during the appointment. The costs of these vaccines will be borne by the requesting division/unit.
  2. The requesting division/unit should confirm in writing and approve the quotation.
  3. The confirmation will include the type of medicine, the quantity required and the cost. A travel request should be made 14 working days before the departure date to allow sufficient time for medicine/ vaccines to be ordered and other arrangements to be finalised. (Refer to Standard Operating Procedures on Travel Medicine for cost details on process).

  1. DISABILITY AS RESULT OF INJURY/ILL-HEALTH

The following list sets out some possible examples reasonable adjustment which could be made to accommodate an individual’s disability.

The reasonable adjustments can potentially be implemented on a temporary, occasional or a permanent basis.

  • Modifying instructions or reference manuals, e.g. providing them in Braille or large print;
  • Providing additional or tailored training, coaching or mentoring, for example for     someone with severe dyslexia;
  • Adjusting working hours, for example allowing someone whose medication’s side effect is fatigue a later or flexible start time, or more frequent rest breaks;
  • Changing the place of work, for example moving an individual with limited mobility to a ground-floor location or allowing home working for part of the working week;
  • Providing special equipment, for example voice-activated software for someone with a visual impairment;
  • Providing a reader or interpreter, for deaf and blind employees;
  • Agreeing to part-time working;
  • Changing the method of doing the job, e.g. allowing an employee who cannot drive due to epilepsy to use taxis for business travel;
  • Adjusting the duties of the job, for example exempting an employee with a back condition from the elements involving physical work;
  • Modifying procedures for testing and / or assessments as part of a recruitment     exercise;
  • Extending an individual’s probationary period if disability-related sickness has prevented the individual from being able to demonstrate an acceptable level of performance during the normal probationary time-scale for the role;
  • Arranging for meetings to be held at a location or at a time to suit the individual or arranging for short breaks during long meetings – (for example, during disciplinary or grievance procedures);
  • Allocating some minor aspects of the role to another / other individuals without overburdening other individuals.
  1. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
    1. Reasonable accommodation can apply to the duties of the job and/or where and how job tasks are performed.
    2. The accommodation should make it easier for ill/injured/disabled employees to successfully perform the duties of the position. Examples of reasonable accommodations include providing interpreters, readers, or other personal assistance; modifying job duties; restructuring work sites; providing flexible work schedules or providing accessible technology or other workplace adaptive equipment.
    3. The reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

    4. Process of requesting reasonable accommodations.
      1. The request for reasonable accommodation must be a written request accompanied by medical reports from the treating doctor/s or specialists which provide details of the type of accommodation required as a result of the nature of disability or injury sustained or functional capacity evaluation outcome.
      2. Upon receipt of the request, the line manager should schedule an informal meeting with the employee to discuss the nature of the request and to understand the employee needs etc.
      3. The employee may invite a representation into the informal meeting should it be necessary.
      4. Line management will forward a request to Human Resource and Employee Wellness.
      5. Employee Wellness may refer an employee to the onsite Occupational Medical Practitioner (OMP) for evaluation.
      6. In addition to an onsite referral, Independent Assessment which includes determining the extent of functional capacity evaluation and the type of reasonable accommodation will be conducted.
      7. The employee will be requested to consent to the Independent Assessment referral. (Annexure B).
      8. The cost of the Independent Assessment will be borne by Employee Wellness.
      9. Upon receipt of independent assessment outcome, the summary of the recommendations will be shared with the Line Manager and Human Resources.
      10. Line Manager and Human Resources should make a decision on the type of reasonable accommodation that can be implemented based on operational requirements, business needs and skills set.
      11. Should SABC be not familiar with possible accommodations, there are internal resources to help the SABC identify reasonable accommodations once the specific limitations and workplace barriers have been ascertained.
      12. A final meeting between Line Manager, Employee, Human Resources, Employee Wellness, OMP and Employee Representative (if available), will be held to finalise the accommodations and communicate the assessment outcome.

NOTE

  • While an individual with a disability may request reasonable accommodation due to a medical condition/injury/disability, the request does not necessarily mean that the SABC is required to provide the accommodation.
  • A request for reasonable accommodation is the first step in an informal, interactive process between the individual and the SABC.
  • In some instances, before addressing the merits of the accommodation request, the SABC needs to determine if the individual’s medical condition meets the definition of “disability/injury,” a prerequisite for the individual to be entitled to a reasonable accommodation.
  1. LIFE-THREATENING DISEASES
  1. Life threatening diseases include, amongst others, Cancer, Cardiac Conditions, Respiratory conditions such as Tuberculosis and Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease, HIV and AIDS. The Company commits itself to educating employees in an attempt to prevent such diseases.
  2. The SABC acknowledges that continued employment for an employee with a life threatening disease may be therapeutically important in the remission or recovery process or may help prolong that employee’s life.
  3. Employees who are aware that they have a life threatening disease need only inform the SABC once they are unable to perform their tasks to the required standard of production and safety or if they are recommended to do so by a Counsellor or Medical Practitioner.
  4. As long as these employees are able to meet acceptable standards of work performance and work attendance and given that medical opinion indicates that their condition is not a threat to others, treatment of these employees should be sensitive and consistent with treatment of other employees.
  5. At the same time the SABC has an obligation to provide a safe environment for all employees and customers. Thus precautions should be taken to ensure that an employee’s medical condition does not present a health and/or safety threat to other employees or customers.
  6. Consistent with the SABC’s concern for employees with life threatening disease, a commitment is made to offering:
  • Advice on the rights of afflicted employees and their colleagues;
  • Education of employees, including management, on life threatening disease;
  • Referral to medical and other resources, such as counselling services;
  • Consultation on conditions of employment to assist employees in managing their illness from the point of view of their employment.
  1. The SABC EH&W is committed to the “3 C’s”:
  • Consent to testing and medical examinations;
  • Confidentiality of medical information;
  • Counselling services for employees wishing to be tested.
  1. HIV AND AIDS
  1. Employees Identified as HIV Positive
  2. No employee shall be tested for any illness without their consent and knowledge and/or as part of the pre-employment – or any other medical examinations;
  3. Medical examinations shall only be conducted if such an examination is inherent to job requirements in accordance to Employment Equity Act objects and provisions;
  4. A pre-medical examination shall be conducted to determine whether an employee has any health conditions, before joining SABC for purposes of potential disability claims or medical boarding claims and to determine whether the new employee might have a health condition that might be an inherent safety and health risk to the position applied for;
  5. Voluntary medical testing shall be encouraged and counselling services shall be provided through employee assistance programme (EAP);
  6. Employees shall be provided with counselling before and after taking the tests;
  7. Health status of employees shall be safeguarded by the Occupational Health Practitioner and Employee Assistance Programme Service Provider only;
  8. Disclosure must be done in writing and submitted to OMP and Occupational Health Practitioner for reference purposes;
  9. Medical records shall be managed by OMP in accordance to the Employee Files Policy and Procedure;
  10. SABC shall protect the confidentiality of information that has been disclosed and shall not release information on an employee’s health status without their consent;
  11. On disclosure of the health status of an employee, SABC will reasonably accommodate employees who are confirmed to be HIV positive or have serious illnesses with the aim of reducing the impact of the impairment of the person’s capacity to fulfil the essential functions of the job;
  12. Health status will not unreasonably be used as a justification for refusal to perform duties;
  13. Serious illness does not release any employee from the obligations to meet the inherent requirements and perform the essential functions of his/her job;
  14. An employee with serious illness must be able to perform the essential functions, which are defined as the basic job activities in the job they are appointed to do.No person with HIV/AIDS or other serious illnesses shall be unfairly discriminated against within the employment relationship or within employment policies or practices;
  15. Employee Assistance Programme shall provide support to employees tested HIV positive or other serious illnesses.
  16. SABC Employee Wellness encourages the use and membership of support groups for persons living with HIV/AIDS or other serious illnesses as a support structure;
  17. SABC Employee Wellness shall provide dedicated and regular HIV/AIDS programmes and programmes on other illnesses as part of educational awareness campaigns;
  18. SABC Clinics shall have condom dispensers as a preventative measure to HIV/AIDS infections;
  19. SABC may undertake to conduct an annual audit by a reputable and qualified Service Provider to determine the risk profile and assess the impact of HIV/AIDS and other illnesses (health risks) on the operations and activities of SABC as a business continuity planning intervention. Terms of reference and scope of study will include:
    1. Prevalence of HIV/AIDS or other illnesses (health risks) in communities from which SABC draws its employees;
  20. Options available to SABC decrease exposure to HIV/AIDS infection and other illnesses (health risks);
    1. Direct costs to employee benefits, medical costs and increased costs related to staff turnover such as training and recruitment costs as well as the costs of implementing an HIV/AIDS programme;
    1. Indirect costs such as costs incurred as a result of increased absenteeism, employee morbidity and loss of productivity;
    2. Community outreach programmes may be considered and implemented as part of corporate social investment by SABC;
    3. Any other health risks that may impact on the employees and SABC operations;
  21. Should an employee wish to disclose to the SABC that he/she is HIV positive; an appropriate counselling service will be offered. SABC will also assist where possible, with making counselling available to partners and/or families of the HIV positive employee.
  22. Once the employee develops diseases related to the AIDS virus, the impact of the disease on his/her job will be assessed and monitored. If he/she is no longer able to work, the normal ill-health retirement/medical boarding process will apply.
  1. RETURN & REINTEGRATION TO WORK
    1. Return to Work and reintegration relate to employees who have been on sick leave for a prolonged period, either on a short-term or long-term basis, and who have been retained by the SABC.
    2. The process takes into account individual needs, the work environment, skills, business needs and legal responsibilities, return to work processes represent a coordinated effort focused on job retention as the first step in preventing employees who experience a reduction in work capacity from an early exit from working life.
    3. It is aimed at protecting and promoting the health, well-being and work ability of the workforce. (Refer to standard operating procedure on Return & Reintegration to Work)
  1. SPECIAL LEAVE IN RELATION TO ILL-HEALTH
  1. The provision for special leave is catered for in the leave policy. (Refer to leave policy)
  1. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
    1. Group Executive and Senior Management shall:
      1. Provide strategic direction by ensuring a strategic plan that incorporates the Employee Health and Wellness Policy and HR policy into the strategic objectives of the organisation.
      2. Ensure an enabling environment by providing adequate resources to enable Managers and Practitioners to implement EH&WP, policies and strategies, e.g. appropriate funding (budget), adequate staffing and visible commitment.
      3. Drive the business, moral and legal case for employee health and wellness by ensuring a managed wellness care approach via evidence-based practices, risk management principles, outcomes management and impact analysis.
      4. Review the EH&WP monitoring and evaluation reports and ensure appropriate action.
      5. Promote and market the Employee Health and Wellness Programme to internal clients as well as to external stakeholders, networks and decision-makers.
  1. The EH&W Manager & or Consultant shall:
    1. Facilitate policy development and review, resource allocation as well as monitoring and evaluation of the EH&WP within its planning, performance and reporting cycles.
    2. Manage the EH&WP in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
    3. Provide support to employees and managers.
    4. Conduct assessments and refer employees to the service provider or provide short-term counselling where necessary.
    5. Follow up on employees participating in the programme.
    6. Keep records of employees who receive counselling internally.
    7. Report on the utilisation of the EH&WP to management, reflecting trends to enable management to develop appropriate responses. During any reporting confidentiality will be guaranteed to the users of the EH&WP.
  1. The Line Manager or Supervisor shall:
    1. Endorse the programme and give it visible support.
    2. Remain alert to all instances of deviation from work performance standards and bring these to the attention of the employee, along with an offer of assistance at the earliest indication of a recurrent problem.
    3. Provide a support function to an employee while he or she is undergoing treatment or counselling.
    4. During and after the treatment the manager or supervisor should assist in reintegrating the employee into the work environment.
    5. Provide feedback to the EH&W Practitioner regarding work performance during treatment or counselling.
  1. The Employee shall:
    1. Have access to the professional services provided by the programme in the early stages of personal problems that have been identified, irrespective of whether the problems are impacting on their performance at work or at home.
    2. Take responsibility for seeking assistance or accepting referral to the EH&WP, as well as for complying with the recommended action plan.
    3. Take ownership of his or her decision to participate in the programme.
    4. Participation in the programme does not relieve the employee of the responsibility to meet acceptable work performance and attendance standards.
    5. Take responsibility for his or her education on wellness issues through participating in information sessions and other forms of information dissemination.
    6. Take responsibility to inform the manager when visiting the SABC Clinic during working hours.
  1. The Wellness Champion shall:
    1. Act as a focal point for the distribution of credible and generic Employee Health and Wellness promotional material at the workplace.
    2. Participate in implementing awareness activities with guidance of EH&W Manager/Consultant.
    3. Act as foot soldier in the workplace.
    4. Act as a referral agent of employees to relevant internal or external health support programmes.
  1. DEVIATIONS
    1. No deviations from this policy will be allowed.
  1. POLICY REVIEW
  1. This policy will be reviewed on two year basis

  1. POLICY MONITORING
Monitoring = continuous.

POLICY REVIEW HISTORY

Date

13 July 2016

Reviewed by

GM: Group OD

Nature of change

Updates


  1. ADDENDUMS AND ANNEXURES
    1. W.CL.2 – Employers Report of an accident (Annexure A)
    2. Independent assessment consent form (Annexure B)

Leave a Reply