Printing SA Announces Industry Updates Including TERS Relief Payments

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Printing SA has announced the latest industry developments, including Covid-19 TERS relief payments, draft Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, and more. 

Covid-19 TERS relief payments extended until 15 August

On 21 July 2020, the Employment and Labour Ministry announced the extension of Covid-19 relief payments until 15 August 2020. The benefit structure and existing criteria remain the same, but consideration has been given to closing the April, May and June applications at the end of July 2020; all valid applications already received for these two months will be processed. Read more

An employee was at the workplace and tested positive for Covid-19, what is the employer’s responsibility?

Presently, if an employee is diagnosed with Covid-19, the legal requirement on the part of an employer is: inform the Department of Health and determine whether the employee’s exposure resulted from a failure of the employer’s workplace health and safety measures. Assist the Department of Health in any contact tracing measures implemented.

Covid-19 hotline: +27 (0) 800 029 999 or WhatsApp ‘hi’ to +27 (0) 60 0123 456.

1. Inform the department of labour (see your regional office)

2. Consider whether it is necessary to close the work area. This is critical to note, as it may not always be necessary to close the immediate workplace, and certainly not the entire workplace, if the employee has had limited access to a building or premises or limited contact with fellow employees.

3. This consideration by the employer should be guided by the risk-based assessment suggested by the Department of Health, which requires (amongst other things) for workplace surfaces to be disinfected. We would advise to rather remain on the side of caution and arrange for deep cleaning of the premises to prevent any further infection.

4. The limited scope of this legal obligation is important to note, as it is not necessarily a legal requirement for an employer to shut down all of its operations, merely because a single employee has tested positive for Covid-19.

5. It would be sufficient, according to the regulations, for the employee to be restricted from entering the workplace or, if already there, to isolate the worker and to provide him/her with a surgical mask and to arrange for the worker to be transported to a health facility or an area of self-isolation, in such a manner that does not expose other workers or members of the public to exposure.

6. The employer must also then, after the employee has left the workplace, introduce the abovementioned disinfecting measures, and to continue to exclude the employee from the workplace until such time as a medical practitioner is able to clear the employee for return to work.

7. In the interim, provided that the employer is compliant with its other obligations in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Directions (OHSA), it would be entitled to carry on with its operations without having to shut down access to other employees, or to members of the public seeking its services.

Any employees that were ordinarily or actually in contact with the symptomatic employee would need to be screened and monitored, and may even be sent on a 10 day precautionary quarantine (in which case the UIF’s Temporary Employee Relief Scheme benefits would be available for such a person).

8. The above are the current legal obligations of an employer, in terms of the OHSA directions. Employers should adopt these measures as a common-sense approach to dealing with incidences of Covid-19 in the workplace.

An employee was in contact with an individual that tested positive for Covid-19, what now?

An employee that was in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 would need to be sent on 10 day precautionary quarantine.

The employee will only qualify for the TERS illness benefit if the employee is in precautionary self-quarantine for 10 days. If quarantine lasts more than 10 days, a certificate from a medical practitioner needs to be submitted.

*All information supplied is correct as per legislation as on 21 July 2020. Although Printing SA endeavours to supply correct and updated information relating to the Covid-19 prescribed government updates and the Department of Labour, it does not guarantee the correct interpretation thereof, nor do they accept any liability for any information or statements supplied by external sources herein. The labour laws in South Africa change continuously as well as TERS application procedures and employers should stay up to date with new developments. They accept no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any adverse consequences that may arise, including but not limited to, financial loss, acceptance of claims, delays in payouts, compensation orders, fines in this regard.

Help SATU disperse funds to those in need

The Office of the General Secretary of South African Typographical Union (SATU) would like to announce that since its launch on 1 July 2020, the SATU Covid-19 Out-of-Work benefit has so far paid out R227,280 to SATU members in desperate need of a helping hand during this time. To find out more about this benefit, follow this link.

The Draft Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries had a virtual meeting with the Paper and Packaging industry on 20 July 2020, where they clarified consultation notice of Section 18 and Extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations published on 26 June 2020. The Department pointed out that they intend to get the comments and revision of the notice and regulations in August 2020 and implement in September 2020. The industry cautioned that the regulations cannot be rushed because when they become final, they become law. As it stands the regulations are complex and ambiguous.

It was pointed out by the industry that the obligated ‘producers’ requires clear definitions as they will be required to pay a levy towards the schemes. The department has extended the comment period to August – the response and implementation by the department may be moved by a month. The Department has published new deadline for comments extending from 26 July 2020 to 26 August 2020.

In terms of the draft EPR regulations, the paper and packing EPR sector will need to implement EPR schemes that comprise of systems putting into effect obligations under which producers are given full responsibility to implement EPR. This will ensure effective and efficient management of the waste streams within sectors and encouraging the implementation of circular economy initiatives.

In the meantime, Printing SA has developed a set of comments and you are requested to add your comments/input/concerns/clarity. It is vitally important we all participate actively now before it becomes regulation.

Please add your comments by 20 August 2020:
1. Section 18 Notice (43481).
2. Extended Producer Responsibility regulations (43482).

Printing SA would like to know if you would like to have bilateral discussions with the department of environmental affairs to clarify issues you may have. Please submit all your comments to kntanzi@printingsa.org

Submit your news and video content to journo@practicalpublishing.co.za

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