HIV/AIDS and the right to work: Govt. to table HIV regulations in parliament

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By Kurt Campbell

Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul.
Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Government, through the Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Kishore Gopaul will table in the National Assembly during today’s sitting (Thursday, December 18) regulations to further protect HIV afflicted persons in the workplace.

Just over a week ago Dr. Gopaul signed the regulation which is geared towards ensuring that HIV affected persons are not discriminated against in the workplace or denied the right to employment.

“This is a progressive piece of legislation for persons who are affected by HIV” the Labour Minister said.

He further explained that the Legislation once it has successfully passed through the House will guide employers and employees and will outline all enforcement mechanisms.

According to him employers have been very sympathetic so far but legal action can be taken against those who act in violation to the regulation.

“People cannot be dismissed or refused employment because of their HIV status and to determine one’s status the employer will need to have a test done.”

According to International Labour Organization (ILO) nine of ten persons living with HIV and AIDS are of working age, with most of those at risk being working men and women.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gopaul also boasted of the fact that Guyana was the first to ratify the Domestic Workers Convention in 2013.

He said the Ministry has also concluded at the tripartite level several other pieces of legislation for the Forestry, Construction and Mining Sector.

In relation to mining, iNews was informed that Cabinet has approved advance occupational health and safety regulations for that sector which will also be laid in parliament soon.

According to Dr. Gopaul this is important so that violations of the act in specific areas can be successfully prosecuted.

He said the regulations are currently being fine-tuned at the Attorney General Chambers.

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