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December 10, 2012
Star News


New policy to deal with HIV/AIDS in the workplace

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security, is working to have the National Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS tabled in Parliament in 2013.

The policy is a framework for action by the Government, employers, and workers to deal effectively with HIV/AIDS in places of employment. It is based on the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) principles on HIV/AIDS in the workplace.

It takes into consideration, the effects of HIV and AIDS on the most productive segment of the workforce (persons 15 to 49 years old), and acknowledges that effective prevention and management of the epidemic in and through the workplace, will benefit all national stakeholders.

"It is expected that this policy will also strengthen the legal framework for dealing with HIV and AIDS, and will ensure that mechanisms are in place to protect workers from stigma and discrimination," said Labour Minister, Derrick Kellier.

He said the issue of HIV and AIDS in the workplace has been a growing concern of the Government. This, he said, is based on its significant impact on production. He pointed out that there are many persons with the disease, who are employed to both the private and public sectors, and these persons contribute significantly to national development.

"We recognise that the most critical segment of the workforce is mostly at risk, which drastically affects productivity," he said.

Minister Kellier noted further that these persons often face stigma and discrimination, and there are challenges, as it relates to sensitising the workforce that persons living with HIV and AIDS are entitled to equal fundamental rights.

He said with the passing of the policy, persons will be required to take a non-discriminatory stance in relation to HIV and AIDS at the workplace, and start accepting and employing persons, regardless of their status, and also respect their rights.

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