Code of good practice on disability in the workplace in South Africa
15. EMPLOYEE BENEFITS IN SOUTH AFRICA
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 with disabilities.
15.2. Employees with disabilities may not be refused membership of a benefit scheme only because they have a disability.
15.3. To increase job security for employees who have disabilities and to reduce the costs of benefit schemes, designated employers should investigate and, if practicable, 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. EMPLOYMENT EQUITY PLANNING IN RESPECT OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
16.1. The Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Implementation and Monitoring of Employment Equity Plans provides guidelines to employers and employees. This Code spells out additional measures to ensure that people 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 Act, they should use the opportunity to heighten the awareness of their employees of the value and importance of recruiting and retaining 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 Act, 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 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 may choose to either:
(i) identify their disability themselves; or
(ii) disclose their disability to their employer as long as their identity is kept confidential.
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 people with disabilities at all occupational 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, 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.
16.7. 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 at work.