So. Africa: COVID- 19, some implications of the national state of disaster on employees and employers
On Sunday evening President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the coronavirus as a national disaster. Ramaphosa also announced that 61 people are infected with the virus as of Sunday evening. This includes the country’s first cases of local transmission. It is the job of employers to ensure that any risk on workers’ lives must be reduced. Employers have to ensure that employees have a safe environment to work in. And employers have to mitigate the employees’ risk right up front, and initially first, before they take greater action. They have a duty to inform each employee of the risk of catching coronavirus. Some experts say going to work does not constitute a "gathering" and work from home is a privilege that employers can grant at their own discretion and withdraw at any time. As such, those corporations housing more than 100 people in one building at a time will continue with work as normal, obviously taking proactive steps to increase hygiene in the workplace, but they do not have to approve or foot the bill for people to work from home, say Aadil Patel, the national head of the employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.