Independent Online, 04 November 2002, SA companies need to weigh cost of Aids

Most companies, to their cost, have not begun to assess the impact of HIV/Aids on the workplace.

"It's imperative for companies to assess the risk, put strategic interventions in place to reduce costs, assist infected employees and prevent further infections," says Sarah Donnelly of Assessment Solutions Africa.

Criteria for assessing the risk in the workplace include labour intensity and employee demographics. Skilled workers who become infected will cost the company considerably more than unskilled workers as they command more comprehensive benefit packages. The infection of one skilled employee can cost the company six times that employees' salary every year in medical bills, absenteeism and lost productivity.

Donnelly recommends that companies begin the risk assessment process by conducting anonymous surveys that measure employees' knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to Aids.

Assessment Solutions Africa will hold one-day seminars on November 26 and 27. For more information telephone 021 422 4789.