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Employers can't force employees to take unpaid leave during lockdown

Speaking on 702, Employment and Labour Department director-general Thobile Lamati said if there is ever an opportunity for employers to care for their employees, now is the time.

Picture: Pexels

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa will from midnight on Friday go through a 21-day national lockdown in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus and flatten the curve.

What obligations do employers have towards their employees' wellbeing during the lockdown?

Speaking on 702, Employment and Labour Department Director-General Thobile Lamati said if there is ever an opportunity for employers to care for their employees, now is the time.

"We issued guidelines in terms of what workplaces need to do with regards to occupational health and safety. We know that this is a very stressful time for employees because there is a possibility that they may lose income.

He said the department had come up with a benefit that is delinked from the normal UIF credit-based system.

"We require employers to access this benefit. We are saying to employers not to tell their employees to take unpaid leave as the lockdown is not the employee's own doing. The lockdown is an instruction from the Commander-in-Chief."

Listen to the audio below for more.