HIV/AIDS and Work

All about HIV/AIDS and Work, HIV/AIDS and Workplace Policy, HIV/AIDS and Work and Status, HIV/AIDS and Work and Discrimination, HIV/AIDS and Work and the Law on Mywage Uganda.

Is HIV/AIDS a workplace issue?

Yes. It is a work place issue not only because it affects labour and productivity, but also because the workplace has a vital role to play in the wider struggles to limit the spread and effects of the epidemic.

It also impacts on the workplace in other ways:

  • Increased absenteeism
  • Loss of skills and knowledge
  • Increased medical costs
  • Declining morale
  • Reduction in production
  • Increased training costs
  • Loss of income
  • Creates fear for those not infected
  • High labour turnover
  • High funeral costs
  • HIV affects adults in their productive and reproductive prime (15-49 years). These adults are the mainstay of families, communities, enterprises and economies
  • HIV threatens national economies by drastically reducing growth in labour force in high prevalence countries. This has a great impact on the market, savings, investment, etc.

Should all workplaces have a HIV/AIDS policy?

Yes. The National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (2007) requires each employer to formulate a sound HIV/AIDS policy.

What are the specific roles of employers with regard to the HIV/AIDS policy?

According to the National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (2007) the specific roles of employers include the following:

  • Formulation of a sound HIV/AIDS policy, around the principle of non-discrimination, equality, confidentiality, care and support and social dialogue.
  • To develop an equitable set of policies that are communicated to all staff and properly implemented, including protection of rights at work and protection against any discrimination at work.
  • To develop a step-by-step action plan on all the legal, ethical, social and economic aspects.
  • To identify the factors that influence HIV/AIDS transmission in terms of organisational structure/activities, examine existing workplace practices and policies; and establish the real and/or potential impact of HIV/AIDS on the company and its workplace force.
  • To ensure that induction programmes for new workers includes training on HIV/AIDS.
  • To initiate and develop HIV/AIDS prevention and care programmes, designed not only to protect the infected workforce, but also to take into account the rights and problems of those living with HIV/AIDS.
  • To provide and maintain as far as practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its workers, including occupational transmission of HIV.
  • To ensure that the rights of workers with regard to HIV/AIDS and the remedies that are available in the event of breach of such rights become integrated into existing grievances procedures.
  • To ensure that all employees who accidentally get exposed to HIV in the course of their duties access immediate Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and follow-up in the form of treatment, counselling and social support.
  • To ensure that all workers get access to affordable health.
  • To facilitate services, which include management of opportunistic infection, nutrition supplement, and/or Anti Retro Viral Therapy (ART) as in relation to the national HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines.
  • To be responsible for the implementation of this policy.
  • To mainstream HIV/AIDS activities into the workplace policies and programmes.

Why target the workplace?

  • We need healthy workers
  • Workers spend most of their time at work
  • It’s the most productive area
  • HIV is affecting mostly the working class
  • To avoid discrimination
  • To encourage positive attitudes

What are the major interventions at the workplace?

  • Increase in HIV/AIDS awareness programmes
  • Promotion of Abstinence, Being faithful and Condom use (ABC) strategy
  • Self-help groups of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)
  • Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) services
  • Child and orphan support
  • Universal Primary Education (UPE)
  • Empowerment of women
  • Workplace based HIV/AIDS Education Programme by Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE)

How does a workplace policy get set up?

A workplace policy is set up by an employer while working with the employees by convening a small HIV/IDS policy drafting committee made up of the employer/business owner (if appropriate) and representatives of managers and employees. The Private Sector Alliance on HIV/AIDS, Uganda HIV/AIDS manual for work places (2004) recommends the following seven steps should be followed:

1. Set up a small HIV/IDS policy drafting committee made up of the employer/business owner (if appropriate) and representatives of managers and employees.

2. Produce the draft policy.

3. Circulate the draft policy or comments to the employer, managers and employees and make any necessary changes.

4. Submit the proposed policy to the employer or board for approval.

5. Once approved, distribution of copies to all stakeholders and sensitisation.

6. Monitor the impact of the policy and the HIV/AIDS programme that is developed with it.

7. Review the policy at least once a year to ensure that it is still relevant to the business and its workers.

Who sets it up?

The workplace policy is set up jointly by the employer, managers and employees.

What should it say?

A well-written policy sets out clear statements about how the business will deal with HIV/AIDS in its operations, what standards of behaviour and support its workers can expect from the business, and what behaviour the business expects of them. The policy must comply with Ugandan law and should follow whatever guidelines and codes of practice have been adopted in the industry or are used in other parts of the business.

How is it carried out at work – who keeps an eye on things?

The HIV/AIDS workplace policy is part of the organisation’s human resource policy and is therefore the responsibility of the human resource department who is supported by all the stakeholders during the process of implementation, that is, the employer, managers and employees.

Is the worker obliged to disclose his or her HIV/AIDS status to the employer?

No. There is protection of the fundamental human right to privacy in Uganda and therefore there is no obligation on the part of the worker to inform an employer/prospective employer or other worker of his or her HIV status. Where a worker chooses to voluntarily disclose his or HIV status to the employer or other workers, this information should not be disclosed to others without the worker’s express consent.

Can you be fired for being HIV/AIDS positive?

No. Employees cannot be discriminated basing on known or perceived HIV status.

Yes. It is a work place issue not only because it affects labour and productivity, but also because the workplace has a vital role to play in the wider struggles to limit the spread and effects of the epidemic.

It also impacts on the workplace in other ways:

Should all workplaces have a HIV/AIDS policy?

Yes. The National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (2007) requires each employer to formulate a sound HIV/AIDS policy.

What are the specific roles of employers with regard to the HIV/AIDS policy?

According to the National Policy on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work (2007) the specific roles of employers include the following:

Why target the workplace?

What are the major interventions at the workplace?

How does a workplace policy get set up?

A workplace policy is set up by an employer while working with the employees by convening a small HIV/IDS policy drafting committee made up of the employer/business owner (if appropriate) and representatives of managers and employees. The Private Sector Alliance on HIV/AIDS, Uganda HIV/AIDS manual for work places (2004) recommends the following seven steps should be followed:

1. Set up a small HIV/IDS policy drafting committee made up of the employer/business owner (if appropriate) and representatives of managers and employees.

2. Produce the draft policy.

3. Circulate the draft policy or comments to the employer, managers and employees and make any necessary changes.

4. Submit the proposed policy to the employer or board for approval.

5. Once approved, distribution of copies to all stakeholders and sensitisation.

6. Monitor the impact of the policy and the HIV/AIDS programme that is developed with it.

7. Review the policy at least once a year to ensure that it is still relevant to the business and its workers.

Who sets it up?

The workplace policy is set up jointly by the employer, managers and employees.

What should it say?

A well-written policy sets out clear statements about how the business will deal with HIV/AIDS in its operations, what standards of behaviour and support its workers can expect from the business, and what behaviour the business expects of them. The policy must comply with Ugandan law and should follow whatever guidelines and codes of practice have been adopted in the industry or are used in other parts of the business.

How is it carried out at work – who keeps an eye on things?

The HIV/AIDS workplace policy is part of the organisation’s human resource policy and is therefore the responsibility of the human resource department who is supported by all the stakeholders during the process of implementation, that is, the employer, managers and employees.

Is the worker obliged to disclose his or her HIV/AIDS status to the employer?

No. There is protection of the fundamental human right to privacy in Uganda and therefore there is no obligation on the part of the worker to inform an employer/prospective employer or other worker of his or her HIV status. Where a worker chooses to voluntarily disclose his or HIV status to the employer or other workers, this information should not be disclosed to others without the worker’s express consent.

Can you be fired for being HIV/AIDS positive?

No. Employees cannot be discriminated basing on known or perceived HIV status.

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