New regulations for employers on COVID-19 obligations in workplace

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Employees who experience side effects can be booked off on paid sick leave by producing their vaccination certificate as proof, with no need for the standard medical certificate that may be required to claim sick days, reports Business Insider. South African employers are also required to give their workers paid time off to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Those are part of  the occupational health and safety measures in South African workplaces, which have now been updated to include specific protocols around Covid-19 vaccinations, gazetted on Friday (11 June 2021)

Employers planning to enforce a mandatory vaccine policy need to substantiate the decision by identifying workers who are at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease due to age and comorbidities. The right to bodily integrity contained within the Constitution, which can be cited as a refusal to be vaccinated, must also be taken into account by the employer.

The employer is also obligated to assist workers with registering on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS).

Employees must be given paid time off on the day allocated for vaccination by the EVDS but will need to provide “proof that the vaccination has occurred or is to occur” during work hours.

“Should an employee suffer side effects as a result of the Covid-19 vaccination and is unable to attend work following vaccination, the employer must, in accordance with Section 22 of the BCEA [Basic Conditions of Employment Act], place its employee on paid sick leave,” says to updated regulations.

“An employer may accept a Covid-19 vaccination certificate issued by an official vaccination site in lieu of a medical certificate.”

The BCEA requires that employees produce a medical certificate as proof of illness if they’ve been absent from work for more than two consecutive days or on more than two occasions during an eight-week period.

Common side effects which can occur after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine include pain, swelling, or redness where the vaccine was injected, mild fever, chills, feeling tired, headache, muscle and joint aches, as noted by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) . These side effects should only last between two and three days according to the NICD.

Serious and less common side effects include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, fast heartbeat, a bad rash, dizziness, and weakness.

 

Full Business Insider report (Open access)

 

Full Gazette on Legalbrief (Open access)


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