Today [May 3] Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi addressed the nation on the strategy that will be implemented for individuals returning back to work as the nation enters stage 4 of the nationwide lockdown.

Sectors being permitted to return to work include, food retail services, IT and fibre optic services, financial and professional services, global business services for export markets, formal waste recycling, postal and telecommunication services, all agricultural services, forestry and pulp paper and lastly mining.

Employers opening up their business must ensure the following minimum measures are implemented before employees can return to work.

– Inspection at all work places will be conducted to ensure safe and hygienic conditions.

– Employers must notify workers of the contents of the direction and how they will be implemented.

– Employers must screen workers when they report for work

– Workers must inform employers if they experience symptoms.

– Staff that show COVID-19 symptoms must stay home.

– Employers must appoint a manager to address any concerns of employees, this should be an existing employee appointed.

– Measures must be taken to minimise workers in the work place, through shift or working arrangements.

– All cases of the virus must be reported by employers to the reliant health officials to comply with contact tracing measures.

– A minimum distance of 1.5metres must be maintained. If a distance of 1.5 meters cannot be ensured physical barriers must be implemented.

– If a worker has recovered from COVID-19 they may be allowed to return to work after they have received a medical evaluation in line with the instructions from the health department.

– Employers must provide sufficient quantities of santisers and ensure shared areas and equipment is regularly cleaned.

– Workers are required to wear masks at work. Each employer must provide their workers with at least two fabric face masks free of charge.

– Work places must be well ventilated to further prevent spread

– Labour inspectors are empowered to promote and ensure regulations are kept, businesses who do not comply may be closed.

Along with these regulations, over 170 inspectors will be tasked with ensuring these regulations are maintained by the respective businesses. Minister Nxesi has also asked unions and the regular work force to report any wrongdoings by their employer. If a business does not maintain these regulations they could be subject to criminal prosecution.

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