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Labour Legislation Index

Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities - Revised Draft Notice 581 of 2015


 NOTICE 581 OF  2015

























The Employment   Equity  Act 55 of 1998, as amended   (the Act) constitutes one of the key legislative  and policy interventions  within the ethos of South Africa's  new constitution to give effect to the provisions relating to removal of policies  and  practices  which  result  in  inequalities  in  the  country.  Specific emphasis is placed to ensure equity, the right to equal protection and benefit of the law, amongst others, by [people] persons with disabilities.

Although  many barriers  such as widespread  ignorance,  fear  and stereotypes have  caused  [people]  persons  with  disabilities  to  be  unfairly  discriminated against in society and in employment,  South Africa can take pride in its effort to formulate policies to protect the rights of [people] persons with disabilities.

Unfair discrimination  against  [people] persons with disabilities  is perpetuated in many ways, including the following:

  • Unfounded  assumptions  about  the  abilities  and  performance  of job applicants and employees with disabilities;
  • Advertising   and   interviewing   arrangements   which   either   exclude [people] persons with disabilities  or limit their opportunities  to prove themselves;
  • Using selection tests which discriminate unfairly;
  • Inaccessible workplaces; and
  • Inappropriate training for [people] persons with disabilities.

The Code of Good Practice on the Employment of [People] Persons with Disabilities is thus part of a broader equality agenda for [people] persons with disabilities  to have  their  rights  recognised  in the  labour  market  where  they experience  high  levels  of unemployment  and often  remaining  in  low  status jobs or earn lower than average remuneration.

This is particularly  important  since disability  is a natural  part of the human experience  and in no way diminishes  the rights of individuals  to belong and contribute  to   the   labour   market.   When   opportunities    and   reasonable accommodation  is provided,  [people] persons with disabilities  can contribute valuable skills and abilities to every workplace, and contribute to the economy of our society.

Discrimination  is a socially construed  action and can thus be avoided by ensuring better knowledge, understanding and awareness about disabilities and the challenges encountered by persons with disabilities.


2.1      The  Act  protects   [people]  persons   with  disabilities   against  unfair discrimination  in the  workplace  and  directs  employers  to  implement affirmative action measures to redress discrimination.

2.2      The Code is a guide  for employers and employees on promoting equal opportunities and fair treatment for [people] persons with disabilities as required by the Act).

2.3      The  Code  is intended  to  help  employers  and  employees  understand their rights  and obligations  in order to promote  certainty  and reduce disputes to ensure that [people] persons with disabilities  can enjoy and exercise their rights at work.

2.4      The  Code  is  intended  to  help  create  awareness  of  the  contributions [people]   persons   with   disabilities    can   make   and   to   encourage employers to fully use the skills of such persons.


3.1      The Code is not an authoritative summary of the law, nor does it create additional rights and obligations. Failure to observe the Code does not, by itself, render a person liable in any proceedings.  Nevertheless when the  courts  and tribunals  interpret  and  apply  the  Employment  Equity Act, they must consider it.

3.2       The Code should be read  in conjunction   with other relevant Codes of Good Practice issued by the Minister of Labour.

3.3      The Code covers a broader picture and since every person and situation is unique, departures  from the guidelines in this code may be justified in appropriate circumstances.

3.4      Employers,  employees  and their organizations  should use the Code to develop,  implement and refine disability equity policies and programmes to suit the needs of their  own workplaces.


4.1      The Code is issued in terms of section 54(1) (a) of the Act and is based on the Constitutional  principle  that no one may unfairly  discriminate against a person on the grounds of disability.

4.2        Key  guiding   principles

The principles of the Code shall be:

a)   Human rights and the respect for inherent dignity;

b)   Independence and autonomy of individuals;

c)  Non-discrimination;

d)   Effective participation and inclusion in society;

e)   Respect for difference and diversity;

f)   Equality of opportunity; including equitable representation;

g)  Accessibility;

h)   Gender equality;

i)   Mainstreaming;  and j)    Health and safety. 1


5.1 "Discrimination  on the basis of disability" means any distinction, exclusion or restriction  on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with  others.  of all human  rights and fundamental  freedoms  in the political,  economic,  social, cultural,  civil or any other field.  It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation.2

5.2 "Persons with disabilities"include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder  their  full  and  effective  participation  in  society  on  an  equal  basis  with others.3

5.3 Definition  of [people] persons with disabilities  under  the Act,4

The  scope  of  protection  for  [people]  persons  with  disabilities  in  employment focuses  on the effect  of a disability   on the  person  in  relation   to the  working environment,   and not on the diagnosis or the impairment.

[people] persons are considered as persons with disabilities who satisfy all the criteria in the definition:

(i) having a physical or mental impairment;

(ii) which is long tenn or recurring; and

(iii) which substantially limits their prospects of entry into, or advancement in employment.

5.4 Impairment

(i)       An   impairment   may   either   be   physical   or   mental   or   a combination of both.

(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.

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

5.4.1    Long-term   or recurring

(i)        'Long-term'    means  the  impairment  has  lasted  or is likely  to persist for at least twelve months.

(ii)       'Recurring    impairment'    is one that is likely to happen  again and  to  be  substantially   limiting   (see  below).   It  includes  a constant  chronic  condition,   even  if  its  effects  on  a  person fluctuate.

(iii)      'Progressive   conditions'   are those that are likely to develop or change or recur. [People] Persons living with progressive conditions or illnesses are considered as people with disabilities once   the   impairment    starts   to   be   substantially    limiting. Progressive or   recurring   conditions   which   have   no   overt symptoms  or which do not substantially  limit a person are not disabilities.

5.4.2    Substantially   limiting

(i)                An impairment is substantially limiting, if in its nature, duration or effects it substantially limits the person's  ability to perform the essential functions of the job for which they are being considered.

(ii)               Some impairment are so easily controlled, corrected or lessened, that they have no limiting  effects. For example, a person who wears spectacles or contact lenses does not have a disability unless even with spectacles or contact lenses the person's  vision is substantially impaired.

(iii)     An assessment to determine whether the effects of an impairment  is substantially limiting, must consider if medical treatment or other devices would control  or correct  the impairment so that its adverse effects are prevented or removed.

(iv)     For reasons of public  policy certain conditions or impairments may not be considered disabilities. These include but are not limited to-

(a)        sexual behaviour disorders that are against public policy;

(b)       self-imposed body adornments such as tattoos and body piercing;

(c)        compulsive gambling, tendency to steal or light fires;

(d)        disorders that affect a person's  mental or physical state if they are caused by current use of illegal drugs or alcohol, unless the affected person is participating in a recognized programme of treatment;

(e)        normal deviations in height, weight and strength; and conventional physical and mental characteristics and common personality traits.

(v)      An assessment may be done by a suitably qualified person if there is uncertainty as to whether impairment [may be] i§ substantially limiting.


6.3      Employers   should  reasonably   accommodate   the  needs   of  [people] persons with disabilities.5  The aim of the accommodation   is to reduce the  impact  of  the  impairment  of  the  person's   capacity  to  fulfil  the essential functions of a job.

6.4      Employers   should   adopt   the   most   cost-effective    means    that   is consistent with effectively removing the barriers to perform the job, and to enjoy equal access to the benefits and opportunities of employment.

6.5      Reasonable   accommodation   requirement   applies   to  applicants   and employees  with disabilities  who are suitably qualified  for the job  and may be required-

(i)        during the recruitment and selection processes; (ii)       in the working environment;

(iii)      in the way work is usually done, evaluated and rewarded; and

(iv)      in the benefits and privileges of employment.

6.6      The obligation to make reasonable  accommodation  may arise when an applicant or employee voluntarily   discloses a disability related accommodation  need or when such a need is reasonably   self-evident to the employer.

6.7      Employers must also accommodate  employees when work or the work environment  changes    or   impairment     varies    which   affects   the employee's  ability to perform the essential functions of the job.

6.8      The employer should  consult  the employee and, where reasonable  and practical, technical experts to establish appropriate mechanisms to accommodate the employee.

6.9      The  particular    accommodation    will  depend  on  the  individual,  the degree and nature of impairment and its effect on the person, as well as on the job and the working environment.

6.10    Reasonable    accommodation    may   be   temporary     or   permanent, depending on the nature and extent of the disability.

6.11    Reasonable accommodation includes but is not limited to- (i)      adapting existing facilities to make them accessible;

(ii)      adapting   existing   equipment   or   acquiring   new   equipment including computer hardware and software;

(iii)     re-organizing workstations;

(iv)      changing training and assessment materials and systems;

(v)       restructuring   jobs   so   that   non-essential    functions   are   re­assigned;

(vi)     adjusting   working   conditions,   including   working   time   and leave; and

(vii)    providing  specialized  supervision,  training  and  support  in the workplace.

6.12     An  employer  may  evaluate  work   performance     against  the  same standards  as  other  employees  but  the  nature  of  the  disability  may require an employer to adapt the way performance is measured.

6.13     The  employer  need  not  accommodate   a  qualified   applicant   or  an employee  with  a  disability  if  this  would  impose  an  unjustifiable hardship   on the business of the employer.

6.14     'Unjustifiable    hardship'    is   action    that    requires    significant     or considerable  difficulty    or    expense.    This   involves    considering, amongst other things, the effectiveness  of the accommodation  and the extent to which it would seriously disrupt the operation of the business.

6.15     An  accommodation   that  imposes  an  unjustifiable   hardship  for  one employer at a specific time may not be so for another or for the same employer at a different time.


7.3 Recruitment

7.3.1   When employers recruit they should -

(i)       identify   the   inherent     requirements     of   the   vacant position;

(ii)      describe   clearly   the  necessary  skills  and  capabilities required for the job;

(iii)     set   reasonable    criteria    for  selection,   preferably   In writing, for job applicants for such vacant positions.

7.3.2    The    'inherent      requirements       of    the    job'     are    those requirements the employer stipulates as necessary  for a person to be appointed to the job, and are necessary in order to enable an employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

7.3.3    Application   forms  should focus on identifying  an applicant's ability to perform the inherent requirements of the job.

 7.3.4    Advertisements      should    be    accessible    to    persons    with disabilities  and,  where reasonable  and practical,  circulated  to organizations  that  represent  the  interests  of  [people]  persons with disabilities.

7.3.5    Advertisements   or  notices   should  include   sufficient   detail about  the  inherent  requirements  of  the job  so  that  potential applicants with disabilities can make an informed decision.

7.3.6    Employers  may  not  include  criteria  that  are not  necessary  to perform  the  essential  functions  of  the job  because  selection based on non-essential  functions may unfairly exclude [people] persons with disabilities.

 7.3.7    On request, and if reasonable  in the circumstances  notices and advertisements  should be provided in a format  appropriate    to persons   with   disabilities,   such   as  large   print,   Braille,   or audiotape.

 7.4 Selection

 7.4.1   Subject to reasonable accommodation,  employers should apply the same criteria to test the ability of [people] persons with disabilities as are applied to other applicants.

 7.4.2   The purpose of the selection process is to assess whether or not an applicant is suitably  qualifled."  This may require a two­ stage process if an applicant has a disability:

(i)        Determining whether an applicant is suitably qualified;

(ii)       Determining whether a 'suitably  qualified applicant' needs any accommodation  to be able to perform the essential functions of the job.

7.4.3   When assessing if an applicant is suitably qualified, an employer may not request  information   about actual or perceived disability from a previous employer or third party unless with the written consent of the applicant.

 7.4.4   Employers should monitor  their criteria for selection. If these criteria tend to exclude people with disabilities, they should be reviewed to ensure that they do not unfairly discriminate against persons with disabilities.

7.5 Interviews

 7.5.1    Selection   interviews    should   be   objective    and    unbiased.

Interviewers  should avoid assumptions  about  [people] persons with disabilities.

 7.5.2   If an applicant has disclosed  a disability  or has  a self-evident disability, the   employer   must   focus   on   the   applicant's qualifications  for the work rather than any actual or presumed disability but may enquire and assess if the applicant would, but for the disability, be suitably qualified.

 7.5.3   Interviewers  should ask applicants referred to in 7.3.2 above, to indicate how they would perform essential functions and if accommodation is required.

 7.5.4   If  the  employer  knows  in  advance   that  an  applicant  has  a disability,  or if the applicant  has  a self-evident  disability,  the employer should if necessary, make reasonable accommodation during the interview.

 7.6 Conditional   Job  Offers

 7.6.1   If  an  applicant   with   a  disability   is  suitably   qualified,   an employer  may  make  a job  offer  conditional   on  medical   or functional          testing    to   determine   an   applicant's   actual   or potential ability to perform the essential functions of a specific job.

 7.6.2   The testing  must  comply  with the  statutory  requirements  and should  determine  if  the   applicant    is  able  to  perform    the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.

 7.6.3            [An employer may test applicants with disabilities for a specific job and not require  all other  applicants  to undergo testing.]

 7.6.4   A conditional job  offer may only be made  to one person  at a time,  not  to  all  applicants  with  disabilities   that  may  have applied for the job.

 7.6.5   The employer may withdraw  the job  offer if the testing shows that -

(i)           Accommodation requirements would create unjustifiable hardship;   or 

(ii)       There  is  an  objective  justification   that  relates  to  the inherent requirements of the job; or

(iii)         There  is an objective  justification    that  relates  to health and  safety.

 7.7 Terms   and  Conditions    of Employment

 7.7.1     An employer   may  not-

 (a)        employ  people  with  disabilities   or,

 (b)         retain     employees      who     become     disabled,      on    less favourable        terms  and  conditions   than  employees   doing the         same    work,     for    reasons     connected      with    the disability.

 7.7.2     No  person  may  harass  an employee   on the  ground   of disability.

Such   harassment    may   include   teasing,   ridicule    and  offensive remarks.      Any   alleged   harassment    should   be  handled   by  the employer   in  terms   of  the  guidelines    contained    in  the  Code  of Good   Practice   on  the  Integration    of  Employment    Equity   into Human   Resource   Policies   and  Practices   and  the  Code  of  Good Practice  on the  Handling   of Sexual  Harassment   Cases  published in terms  of the  Labour  Relations   Act,  1995.


8.3 Medical   Testing

 8.3.1     Tests  must  comply   with  sections   7  and  8 of  the  Employment Equity Act,    No.   55   1998.7      They  must   be  relevant    and appropriate  to  the  kind  of  work  for  which  the  applicant  or employee is being tested.

 8.3.2   Employers  should establish that tests  do not  unfairly   exclude and are not biased in how or when they are applied, assessed or interpreted.

 8.3.3   Tests to establish the health  of an applicant or employee should be  distinguished  from tests  that  assess  the  ability  to perform essential job functions or duties.

 8.3.4   Testing  to determine  the health  status of an employee  should therefore only be carried out after an employer has established that the person is in fact competent to perform the essential job functions  or duties  and after  a job  offer has been  made.  The same applies to medical testing for admission to membership of an employee benefit scheme.

 8.3.5   An  employer  who  requires  a person  to undergo  any medical, psychological  testing and other similar assessments  must bear the costs of the test.

 8.4 Testing  after  Illness  or Injury

8.4.1   If an employee has been ill or Injured"  and it appears that the employee  is  not  able  to  perform  the job,  the  employer  may require the employee to agree to a functional determination  of disability.

 8.4.2   Such medical or other appropriate tests shall be used to-

 (a)       determine if the employee can safely perform the job or

 (b)      to identify  reasonable  accommodation  required  for the employee.

 8.5 Health  Screening  and Safety

 8.5.1   Employers  are  required  to  provide  and  maintain  a  safe  and healthy working  environment.

 8.5.2   An employer  should not employ a person  if the employer  can demonstrate  that a person with a disability would represent  an actual risk  to him or her or other people,  which  could not be eliminated or reduced by applicable reasonable accommodation.

 8.5.3   An employer may withdraw a conditional job offer, or need not retain an employee with a disability in the same position, if an objective assessment shows that the work would expose the employee  or others to substantial health risk. This would only apply where there is no reasonable  accommodation  to mitigate the risk.

 8.6 Pre-benefit   Medical  Examinations

8.6.1   Employees may be required  to submit to medical  examination or  tests   before   becoming    members    of   employee   benefit schemes that are offered within the employment relationship.

8.6.2   The  purpose  of  these  examinations   is  to  assess  a  person's suitability  for  membership  of  a  benefit  scheme  and  is  not relevant   to   a  person ~s  capability   to  perform   the   inherent requirements of the job.

8.6.3   Therefore an employer may not refuse to recruit, train, promote or otherwise prejudice   any person only because that person has been refused membership of a benefit scheme''.


9.3      Placement involves the orientation   and initial  training  of a new employee.

9.4      Orientation and initial training should be accessibleresponsive to and able to reasonably accommodate the needs of employees who have disabilities.

9.5      Subject to reasonable accommodation, new employees with disabilities and other employees who do not have disabilities must be treated equally.

9.6      An employer must make an effort to include disability sensitisation in the orientation/induction  and other relevant training programmes of their organisations.


10.3            Employees  with  disabilities  should  be  consulted   III order  to  ensure input specific to their career advancement.

10.4    Facilities  and materials  for training,  work organisation  and recreation should be accessible to employees with disabilities.

10.5            Systems and practices  to evaluate  work  performance    should clearly identify  and  fairly  measure  and reward  performance  of the  essential functions of the job.   Work that falls outside the essential functions of the job should not be evaluated.

11 RETAINING   [people] persons WITH  DISABILITIES

11.3    Employees  who become  disabled  during   employment   should, where reasonable   be  re-integrated   into  work.   Employers   should  seek  to minimize the impact of the disability on employees.

11.4    If  an  employee  becomes  disabled,  the  employer  should  consult   the employee to assess if the disability can be reasonably   accommodated.

11.5    If  an  employee   becomes   disabled,   the  employer   should  maintain contact  with  the  employee  and  where  reasonable   encourage  early return-to-work.     This     may     require     vocational     rehabilitation, transitional work programmes and where appropriate, temporary or permanent flexible working time.

11.6    If an employee is frequently   absent  from work for reasons of illness or injury, the employer should consult the employee to assess if the reason for absence is a disability that requires reasonable accommodation.

11.7    If  reasonable,  employers  should  explore  the  possibility  of  offering alternative   work,  reduced  work  or flexible  work  placement,  so that employees    are   not   compelled   or   encouraged   to   terminate   their employment.


12.3   If the  employer  is  unable   to retain  the  employee  in  employment  in terms  of paragraph  11 above,  then  the  employer  may  terminate  the employment relationship.

12.4   When employees  who have disabilities  are dismissed  for operational requirements,   the employer  should  ensure that any selection  criteria used  do not either directly  or indirectly  unfairly  discriminate  against [people] persons with disabilities.

12.5   Employers  who provide  disability  benefits  [should] must ensure that employees are appropriately advised before they apply for the benefits available and before resigning from employment because of a medical condition.


13.3    Employers should assist employees whose disability arose from a work related illness    or   accident,    to   receive    the   relevant    statutory compensation,  including  compensation  from the Compensation  Fund and the Unemployment  Insurance Fund.


14.1     Confidentiality

14.1.1 Subject to sections iO and 18 of the Act' \  employers, including health and medical  services personnel,  may only gather private information relating  to  employees   if  it  is  necessary   to  achieve  a  legitimate purpose,  with the written consent of the person.

14.1.2 Employers  must  protect   the  confidentiality   of the  information  that has been disclosed and must take care to keep records of private information relating to the disability of applicants and employees confidential and must be kept separate from general personnel records.

14.1.3 When  an employer  no  longer  requires   this  information,  it must  be destroyed.

14.1.4 Subject   to   paragraph    14.2.7,   employers   may   not   disclose   any information   relating  to  a  person's   disability  without  the  written consent  of the employee concerned unless legally required.

14.2    Disclosure

14.2.1 [people]  Persons  with  disabilities  are entitled  to keep  their  disability status confidential. But if the employer is not aware  of the disability or  the  need  to  be  accommodated,  the  employer  is  not  obliged  to provide it. This does not absolve an employer from their responsibility not   to   discriminate   unfairly,   directly   or   indirectly   against   job applicants.

14.2.2 A person  with  a disability  may  disclose  their  disability  at any time, even if there is no immediate need for reasonable accommodation.

14.2.3 If  the  disability  is  not  self-evident   the  employer  may  require  the employee  to disclose  sufficient information  to confirm  the disability or the accommodation needs.

14.2.4 If  on  reasonable   grounds  the  employer  does  not  believe  that  the employee is disabled,  or that the employee  requires  accommodation, the  employer  is  entitled  to  request  the  employee  to  be  tested  to determine  the employee  s ability or disability,  at the expense  of the employer.

14.2.5 As  information  about  disability  may  be  technical,   employers  should ensure that a competent person interprets the information.

14.2.6 If an employer requires further   information   this must be relevant to a specific job and its essential functions.

14.2.7 An employer may not reveal the fact of an employee's  disability, unless this is required for the health or safety of the person with the disability or other persons.

14.2.8 The  employer  may,  after  consulting  the  person  with  the  disability, advise relevant  staff that the employee requires accommodation.


15.1    An employer  who provides  or arranges  for occupational  insurance  or other  benefit  plans  directly  or through  a separate  benefit  scheme  or fund,  must  ensure  that  they  do  not  unfairly   discriminate,    either directly or indirectly against [people] persons with disabilities. 12

15.2    Employees  with  disabilities  may  not  be  refused   membership    of  a benefit scheme only because they have a disability.

15.2.1 To  increase job  security  for  employees  who  have  disabilities and   to   reduce   the   costs   of   benefit   schemes,   designated employers  should  investigate  and, if reasonable,  offer benefit schemes that     reasonably      accommodate      persons    with disabilities. These include -

(i)        vocational rehabilitation, training and temporary income replacement  benefits  for  employees  who,  because  of illness  or injury,  cannot  work  for an  extended  period, and

(ii)       financial compensation  for employees who because of a disability  are  able  to  continue  to  work,  but  at  lower levels   of   pay   than   they   enjoyed   before   becoming disabled.


16.1     The  Code  of  Good  Practice  for the  Preparation,   Implementation  and Monitoring   of   Employment   Equity   Plans   provides    guidelines   to employers and employees. 13 This Code spells out additional   measures to  ensure  that   [people]  persons  with   disabilities   who  are  suitably qualified  for  a job  can  enjoy  equal  opportunities  and  are  equitably represented in the workforce.

16.2   When designated employers are consulting  in terms of section 16 of the Employment   Equity  Act,   1998  they  should  use  the  opportunity  to heighten the awareness of their employees of the value and importance of recruiting and retaining the employees who have disabilities.

16.3   When  an  employer   facilitates  the  establishment   of  a  consultative forum  in terms of section  16(1) (a) and (b) of the Act14,  the employer should take specific steps to promote  the representation  of employees with different disabilities in the forum.

16.4   If  people  with  disabilities  are  under-represented   in  all  occupational levels  [and  categories]  in  the  workplace,  the  employer  could  seek guidance   from  organisations   that  represent   [people]   persons   with disabilities  or relevant experts, for example in vocational  rehabilitation and occupational therapy.

16.5  When designated employers are compiling  their  workplace   profile  in terms of Section  19 of the Act, employees  with disabilities,  including [people] persons with non-visible disabilities, may choose to either:

(i)        not disclose their disability status; or

(ii)       disclose their disability openly to their employer; or

(iii)      disclose  their  disability  in  a  confidential  way  which  assures confidentiality  of their identity  and their impairment  and any disability related accommodation  that may be requested and/or required.

16.6 The workplace  profile  should include  any employees  who  are not  in active employment;   for example employees who are receiving total or partial  income  replacement  benefits  while  recovering  from illness  or disability.

16.7 When  designated  employers  are  setting   targets,   they  should  aim to recruit  and promote  and retain [people] persons  with disabilities  at all occupational categories and levels, as people with disabilities  are often employed in low status work and tend to be promoted  less often than employees without disabilities.

16.8 If   employees   with   disabilities    are   concentrated     in   particular occupational   [categories  and]  levels, the employer should consider if its criteria for selection or performance  standards could be adapted to facilitate  employees   with  disabilities   being  employed   in  different categories and levels.

16.9 Employers    should   regularly    evaluate   the   relationship     between employees   and   the   working    environment,    and  where  necessary provide appropriate   programmes    to   prevent   injury,   illness   and disability and promote health and safety at work.


17.1   The Department  of Labour  should ensure that copies of this code are available and accessible, particularly to persons with disabilities and organisations offering support to such persons and their families.

17.2   Employers and employer organizations should include the Code in their orientation, education and training programmes of employees.

17.3            Trade unions  should  include the Code in their  education  and training programmes of shop stewards and employees.




1  Article 3 on general principles  from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2007.

2  Article 2 of the UN Convention  on people with Disabilities,  2007.

3    Definition    of   [people]   persons   with    disabilities,    UN   Convention   on[people]   persons   with Disabilities.  2007.

4 Section  1 of the Act defines people with disabilities as "people who have a long-term or recurring physical or mental impairment,  which substantially  limits their prospects of entry into, or advancement in, employment".

5 Section  1 of the Act defines reasonable  accommodation  as "any modification  or adjustment  to ajob  or to  the  working  environment  that  will  enable  a person  from  a designated  group  to  have  reasonable access to or participate  or advance in employment.

6 The Act provides for 'suitably qualified person'  in sub sections 20(3),20(4),   and 20(5).

Sub section 20 (3) states that a person may be suitably qualified  for a job  as a result of anyone   of, or any combination  of that person's -  (a) formal qualifications;  (b) prior learning; (c) relevant experience, or (d) capacity to acquire, within a reasonable  time, the ability to do the job.

Subsection 20(4) when determining  whether a person is suitably qualified  for a job, an employer must -  (a) review  all the  factors  listed  in subsection  (3); and  (b) determine  whether  that  person  has  the ability to do the job  in terms of anyone   of, or any combination  of those factors.  Subsection  20(5) In making  a determination  under  subsection  (4),  an employer  may  not  unfairly  discriminate  against  a person solely on the grounds of that person's lack of relevant experience.

7 Section 7 of the Act provides that  medical testing of an employee  is prohibited,  unless -  (a) legislation permits or requires the testing; or (b) it is justifiable  in the light of medical facts, employment  conditions,  social policy, the fair distribution of employee benefits or the inherent requirements  of a job.  Section 7(2) Testing of an employee to determine that employee's HIV status is prohibited  unless such testing is determined  to be justifiable  by the Labour Court in terms of section 50(4) of this Act.  Psychological  testing and other similar assessments  of an employee are prohibited unless the test or assessment being used-

(a)   had been scientifically  shown to be valid and reliable

(b)  can be applied fairly to all employees;

(c)   is not biased against any employee or group; and

(d)  has been certified by the Health Professions  Council of South Africa established by section 2 of the Health Professions  Act, 1974 (Act No. 56 of 1974), or any other body which may be authorized by law to certify those tests or assessments.

8 See also sections  10 and 11 of the 'Code of Good Practice: Dismissal'published   under section 203 of the Labour Relations  Act 66 of 1995 for provisions relating to "Incapacity: III health and injury" and dismissal.

See also section 15 on benefits.

10 Section  7(1)  of the  Act provides  that  "medical  testing  of an employee  is prohibited,  unless  -  (a) legislation   permits   or  requires   the  testing;   or  (b)  it  is  justifiable   in  the  light  of  medical   facts, employment   conditions,   social  policy,  the  fair  distribution   of  employee  benefits   or  the  inherent requirements   of  a job.   7(2)  Testing  of  an  employee  to  determine  that  employee's   HIV  status  is prohibited  unless  such testing  is determined  to be justifiable  by the Labour  Court in terms of Section 50(4) of this Act."

11 Section  18(1) of the Act provides that "when a designated employer  engages in consultation  in terms of this Chapter  that employer  must disclose  to the consulting  parties all relevant  information  that will allow  all  those  parties  to  consult  effectively,   and  18(2)  Unless  this  Act  provides   otherwise,  the provisions  of section  16 of the Labour Relations  Act, with the changes  required  by context,  apply to disclosure of information."

12 Benefits in this Code refer to benefits such as fringe benefits, medical benefits, group disability assurance benefits, retirement  schemes and life assurance schemes.

13  See also Code of Good Practice on the Preparation,  Implementation  and Monitoring  of Employment Equity Plans.

14 Section  16 (1) states that "A designated  employer  must take reasonable  steps to consult and attempt to reach  agreement  on the  matters  referred  to  in section  17 -  (a) with  a representative   trade  union representing  members  at the workplace  and its employees  or representatives  nominated  by them; or (b) if  no  representative    trade   union   represents   members   at  the  workplace,   with   its  employees   or representatives  nominated  by them. 

Last modified onSunday, 16 August 2015 18:21
Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

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