On 23rd March 2020, H.E, President ED Mnangagwa permitted employers to explore possibilities of decongesting workplaces. He said “ Business associations of employers are encouraged to explore creative ways of reducing human concentrations at work stations. Additionally, they are also being encouraged to observe safe social distancing parameters as set out by WHO. Wherever possible, non e-essential staff, or even essential staff whose services can be efficiently rendered from home, should be encouraged to take turns to work, or to serve from home, respectively.
As at yesterday 24th March 2020, the Ministry of Health and Child Care advised the nation that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is now three. It was further reported that an adult pregnant woman presented at Masvingo Provincial Hospital with a history of dry cough, shortness of breath, chest pains but no fever. She had a history of travelling to South Africa on 28th February 2020 and returned on the 7th of March 2020. Specimens were collected for COVID – 19 testing and the Ministry will give update on results
In light of the possible escalation of the this epidemic in our country, EISAZ therefore hereby encourages its members as follows;
Assess their business operations and identify staff that can work from home. You need to ensure that resources are availed to ensure that the identified staff adequately operate the business from home without challenges.
- Consider short time work for employees who cannot work from home in order to ensure that numbers are decongested at the workplace. You need to agree with workers through the Works Council and notify the NEC accordingly.
- HR departments should identify employees with known medical conditions. We encourage that these be asked to take vacation leave until such time when the pandemic has been dealt with.
- Some members have already closed their businesses until further notice following the President's announcement of further precautions. Please note that neither the employer nor the employee has control over the current situation. Employees are panicking and not comfortable to tender their services. It is my view that employers should therefore be relieved of their contractual obligation to pay remuneration during the crisis period. But is it advisable to simply inform employees that they go home without pay? In this case, the best option is to grant employees paid vacation leave as is available to them.
Please kindly be reminded to make use of the employer`s response guide which we have circulated to all our members and also available on our website using the following link: http://www.eisaz.co.zw/latest-news/item/43-corona-virus-update-and-employers-response-guide.html