Mandatory COVID-19 vaccine and testing policy in the workplace: Interest of public health vs constitutional rights
Many businesses employ hundreds of workers who are required to be stationed in close proximity to each other in order to execute their work. Where the nature of the work is such that it cannot be performed remotely, and physical attendance at the worksite is an essential component of the job (particularly in the manufacturing and retail sectors), keeping the worksite safe and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases becomes critical.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, sending shockwaves throughout every household and corporate in South Africa. While some
employers had been keeping an eye on the developing trends of digitalisation
and globalisation of the workforce—COVID-19 and the resulting national lockdowns in South Africa—forced all employers to face the dreaded “remote management” of staff, and for many employers, an amplified dependency on technology. Most employers were not sufficiently prepared for this sudden and drastic change to their operations and workforce management, and now need to learn from the experience.
COVID-19 as an ‘event of force majeure’ in commercial agreements
There is no doubt that the disruptions to the global supply chain brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt progressively more over the coming months. As a result, business owners and business leaders are concerned about the implications of the inability of their enterprises to provide goods and services to customers, and/or the inability of their suppliers to meet their contractual obligations to supply the inputs required to trade.