Movement into Alert Level 4 of the lockdown, has resulted in the relaxation of the lockdown regulations, an increase in movement of people and certain industries being permitted to return to operational mode. No doubt, this brings a level of relief.
The relaxation of some lockdown measures, brings with it an increase in monitoring of the health of employees for signs and symptoms of the Corona Virus and an implementation of additional health and safety measures in order to safeguard the health and safety of all in the workplace.
The virus brings with it stigma and possible discriminatory behaviour against others, especially those who may have tested positive, have reported symptoms of the virus or have been exposed to high risk individuals or situations. This is due to a fear of contracting the virus from these individuals.
While fear can sometimes bring people together, it also makes matters worse than they have to be when there is stigma or discrimination. As companies and the country in general are taking vital steps to ensure our health and safety, when someone feels scared, humiliated or not accepted, that can make them hide their symptoms or illness. This means they do not receive the right medical care, follow good health habits or take the recommended actions to self-isolate or seek urgent medical care. This means that they will also not name or inform those they have been on contact with in order for them to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Given the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus, this can have dire consequences for everyone.
Some medical experts have advised that South Africa cannot avoid an increase in Corona Virus infections in the coming months. This in itself, can cause fear. What can we do to avoid the fear and prevent discrimination? We need to:
So, while employers and managers must make others aware of an increased risk of exposure to the Covid-19 virus in the workplace, they must ensure complete confidentiality about people diagnosed with the disease. We all have a responsibility to treat each other with respect and empathy, while not placing additional mental, physical or emotional burdens to an already precarious environment.
How to contact MISA during the lockdown:
Kindly utilise the following e-mail addresses and links for assistance during this time:
UIF/TERS Support UIFClaim@ms.org.za
Legal/Labour-related enquiries Legal@ms.org.za
*WhatsApp or sms only (No calls) 0718809682
MISA Benefit claim-related enquiries Claims@misa.org.za
Any other enquiries Info@ms.org.za
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When you do post an enquiry or request for assistance, we need to confirm that you are a MISA member. Therefor when you do post on any of our social media platforms, please assist us by:
On Facebook: providing your contact details, initials and surname;
WhatsApp or sms: providing your ID number to enable us to confirm your MISA membership;
On e-mail: providing your ID number as well as your contact details.
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