Labour minister concerned with large number of non-compliant employers

29 May 2020

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says labour inspectors have found low compliance with certain employers to safety measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Nxesi was addressing the media on the labour department’s regulations under level 3 of the national lockdown, which comes into effect from Monday, June 1.

The minister said over 3 800 inspections had been conducted in various sectors and 2 116 companies had complied with safety measures outlined by the department, while 1 724 had not done so.

Nxesi said this was worrying because more workers were expected to return to work under level 3. He said what made the non-compliance worse was that it worked against achieving the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus and flatten the curve.

He made an example of inspections conducted this week, where of the 72 inspections, 44 were non-compliant. Those who have not complied will be issued with various fines. Nxesi warnedt the department was prepared to shut down businesses that were not compliant.

Nxesi also outlined what was expected from employers, which included they draw-up Covid-19 frameworks and appoint Covid-19 compliance officers who will monitor and carry out a company’s strategy to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Disabled workers with compromised immune systems and those over the age of 60, should be allowed to work remotely, Nxesi said. He said when disputes aroe between workers and employers, those should be resolved speedily and the CCMA was operational should issues not be resolved.

Employers were also not allowed to deduct fees related to Covid-19 from employees’ salaries or wages. Workers who had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus, should be allowed to quarantine and receive a full 14-day paid leave. 

Employers were also expected to provide at least two face masks for each worker.

Nxesi said some labour inspectors were in isolation or quarantined after coming into contact with a colleague who had tested positive for the virus.

On the Covid-19 relief fund; Nxesi said the fund had paid out R15 billion in subsidies to three million workers who had their salaries cut or had lost their jobs. The applications for May opened on Thursday and issues with April payouts were resolved, Nxesi said.

Source: IOL at