Health and Wellness Policy

Preamble

The overall health and wellbeing of MANCOSA employees and students are of paramount importance to the functioning of MANCOSA as a private higher education institution. MANCOSA is fully committed to its obligation to its staff and students and recognizes the importance of employee and student wellness by establishing a framework in order to promote wellness for the benefit of employees and students. MANCOSA is further committed to identifying the mechanisms and resources that will be used to promote and encourage wellness among all of its employees and students.

Purpose

MANCOSA is cognisant of the fact that a healthy workforce and a vigorous number of its students will inevitably result in a productive workforce and a healthy student attendance record with less absenteeism, fewer accidents, lower healthcare demands, and greater overall savings by reducing the incidence of disease and disability.

MANCOSA’s actively encourages its employees and students to participate in education classes and disease screenings which help to identify and reduce health risks before serious health problems occur and/or allow better management of existing conditions.

Through the MANCOSA Wellness Programme (MWP) employees and students are able to access classes, screenings, and follow up assistance to identify and manage health issues and preventable diseases and illnesses.

Definition of ‘Wellness’

For purposes of this policy, wellness is defined as those activities which have been identified by the MANCOSA Wellness Committee. The MANCOSA Wellness Committee has been established to assess factors that contribute to the physical, emotional and psychological
well-being of employees and students. This includes scheduled training on educational awareness, behavioral and lifestyle changes and supportive environments.

The Functions and Role of the Wellness Committee

The MANCOSA Wellness Committee’s main aim is to support and oversee the implementation of an integrated Employee and Student Wellness Programme, combining the elements of prevention of HIV and Aids, treatment, care and support; Employee and Student Assistance Programmes and SHE (Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality). The MANCOSA Wellness Committee will provide advice and recommendations to the Senior Management and Academic Team on all issues related to wellness. The Committee may also raise the necessary funds to support and promote approved activities for the benefit of MANCOSA employees and students.

The Human Resources Manager will be a core member of the MANCOSA Wellness Committee. In addition, the Committee will consist of an impartial and objective Chairperson, a secretary, one or more co-chair-persons, and representatives from the MANCOSA head office and co-opted representatives from the regional offices. Participation within the committee is purely voluntary.

The MANCOSA Wellness Committee shall determine its own operating procedures, including the content and frequency of meetings, its decision-making process and priorities. All minutes are to be recorded by the secretary of the committee

The MANCOSA Wellness programme should provide clinical, educational, and consultative services of the highest professional standard, concentrating on confidentiality, cost- effectiveness, and professional excellence, and should furthermore include:

  • The creation of an environment conducive to addressing relevant legislation, core values, infrastructure, and capacity building to ensure transfer of skills and a sustainable, dynamic service delivery environment;
  • Information management and control with respect to absenteeism, sick leave, injuries on duty and on site, staff and student turnover, medical expenses, and risk management;
  • Managed Wellness care that is reflective of evidence-based practice, Risk management, Outcomes management and Impact analysis;
  • To provide integrated preventive, promotive, curative, and rehabilitative wellness services to all employees and students, guided by the Health and Wellness policy;
  • To maintain high productivity through the empowerment of employees and students towards the holistic management of employees’ and students’ health and wellness needs.
  • To integrate the programmes into the MANCOSA Human Resources policies, procedures and practices of the organization, so as to ensure non-discriminatory practices, and to minimize the impact of ill-health/injury to MANCOSA students and its employees.

The MANCOSA Wellness Programme shall, at least, encompass the following key functional areas:

  1. Occupational Health, Safety and Risk
  2. Health management
  3. Wellness Management

Occupational Health and Safety

Occupational Health and Safety includes but is not limited to:

Occupational Safety: Protection of MANCOSA students and the MANCOSA workforce from occupational injury, diseases, stressors, and hazards through proactive measures of risk reduction.

Occupational Hygiene: Involves the recognition, evaluation, and control of physical, ergonomic, psychological, and biological factors at MANCOSA which may affect the wellness of students and employees.

Environmental Management: Refers to environmental conservation such as waste management, environmental impact assessment use and control of hazardous materials inside and MANCOSA.

Disaster Management: Preventing, planning for, and managing disasters through disaster preparedness, rapid response, recovery and rehabilitation, so as to minimize loss of life, injury, and damage to property.

Health Management

This refers to preventive and promotive health care, aimed at all non-communicable, communicable, and chronic diseases, including HIV & AIDS, both within and, with certain limitations, outside of the workplace. It involves a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to managing diseases effectively, and includes health risk profiling, disease prevention and management protocols, and rehabilitative activities.

The MANCOSA Wellness Programme can play a pivotal role in conducting health promotion activities, early identification of wellness problems, referral to inside or outside wellness services, support to students and employees affected by ill-health, facilitating adherence to
protocols, and liaison within the MANCOSA to ease the student’s and employee’s rehabilitation.

Wellness Management

This encompasses human wellness, guided by risk assessment, and promoting individual and organizational wellness. The components of wellness management facilitates fulfillment of employees’ and students’ needs, such as:

Spiritual needs:

To promote and set guiding beliefs, principles or values that help give direction to life e.g. Intra-personal skills, value clarification, diverse religious activities, etc.

Emotional needs:

To promote emotional intelligence, self-esteem, optimism, sense of coherence, and resilience of employees and students, e.g. fear management skills, stress management, trauma counseling, critical incident management and etc.

Social needs:

To promote the ability of students and employees to interact successfully and to live up to the expectations and demands of personal roles, by learning good communication and financial skills, creating support networks with colleagues, peers, friends and family, and showing respect for others and self.

Physiological needs:

To promote healthy behaviours, awareness, and behavioural regulation towards healthy lifestyles e.g. fitness, nutrition, weight control, work-based sport activities, healthy cooking methods etc.

Intellectual needs:

To promote the ability to make sound decisions, to think critically, to be open to new ideas, to master new skills, to be creative and curious. e.g. role clarity, participation in decision- making surrounding their immediate, work integrated learning, collaborative projects, job contentment and procedures, growth opportunities, etc.

Types of Programmes within the MANCOSA Wellness Programme

  • Availability of flextime work and class schedules
  • No smoking policy
  • Drug use policy and testing (voluntary)
  • The use of protective/safety equipment
  • Sexual harassment policy and non-discrimination policy · Leave initiatives
  • Consistent and frequent awards and recognition of employee and student work efforts
  • Promoting wellness programmes through the MANCOSA website and an Employee and Student Wellness Week.
  • Encouraging the inclusion of healthy food options at meetings and special events.
  • Supporting the availability of healthy food options in vending machines and cafeterias operating at MANCOSA.
  • Encouraging employees and students to utilize breaks for walking, stretching or other physical activity.
  • Providing educational resources/classes that promote exercise.

Rights and Responsibilities

With respect to Employee and student wellness, MANCOSA has the responsibility of ensuring that:

  • A healthy and safe environment that is conducive for optimum productivity and studies. Service delivery is created and maintained at MANCOSA.
  • The basic wellness services are made accessible to all employees and students, and are conducted in an ethical manner
  • The working and student environment and working and studying conditions of employees and students are conducive to wellness;
  • Employees’ and students’ rights to confidentiality, autonomy, sensitivity, timeous intervention, equality, openness and transparency and confidentiality are protected;
  • Employees and students are informed of conditions at MANCOSA which may be harmful to their health and wellness;
  • Employees and students are not arbitrarily and unfairly discriminated against.

MANCOSA Employees and Students

Employees and students have the right to expect that:

  • The environment in which they work and study is healthy and safe.
  • The basic wellness services will be made accessible to them, and conducted in an ethical manner.
  • Their working and studying environment and working and studying conditions will be conducive to wellness;
  • Their rights to confidentiality, autonomy, sensitivity, timeous intervention, equality, openness and transparency will be protected;
  • They will not be arbitrarily and unfairly discriminated against
  • Their privacy is maintained and respected.

Employees and students have the responsibility to:

  • Conduct their work and studies in a manner that advances sustainable, high-quality service delivery, and results that protects their health and wellness;
  • Report and/or take action to correct conditions in the workplace that may be harmful to their own health and wellness and that of other employees and students;
  • Be informed of the ways in which they can protect their health and wellness, both within and outside of MANCOSA;
  • Take an initiative to seek professional intervention.

The Line Manager and Learning Centre Manager

  • Implement the employee and student wellness policy and strategy in their departments and learning centre.
  • Communicate and maintain links with the employee and student wellness committee.
  • Ensure that MANCOSA staff is sufficiently trained in order to be able to discharge their duties.
  • Create meaningful developmental opportunities for staff and students.
  • Manage job and study demands (monitor workloads) in order to prevent work overload.
  • Encourage employee and student participation in employee and student wellness programme.
  • Support employees and students in times of need and examination stressful periods.
  • Provide necessary support to all employee and student wellness initiatives.

Human Resources and Student Wellness

  • Provide for a human resource and student strategy and operational plan that includes employee and student health and wellness
  • Ensure appropriate reporting on the employee and student health and wellness policy
  • Facilitate training requirements for employees and students
  • Provide continuous support in aspects of employees and students
  • Monitor the effectiveness of employee and student wellness interventions
  • Facilitate continuous support to managers, academics, employees and students in aspects of employee and student wellness;
  • Promote the employee and student wellness programme

Confidentiality and Breach Thereof

Confidential information generally pertains to private personal information and may include an employee or student’s financial and marital circumstances, criminal record or health status, but not to the exclusion of other types of information. Section 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 guarantees every person’s right to privacy. This therefore means an employee’s or student’s confidential information may not be disclosed to a requesting party.

This right, however, may be limited by legislation (e.g. section 16 of the Labour Relations Act, No 66 of 1995 and the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000) and or court orders that warrant the disclosure of information. The collection and maintenance of confidential information should be kept securely and only those entitled to officially engage therewith may be allowed controlled access.

The Protection of Personal Information Act, 4 of 2013, recognises that the right to privacy includes the right to protection against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information. In line with international standards, the processing of personal information by public and private bodies must be done in a manner that gives effect to the right to privacy, subject to justifiable limitations aimed at protecting other rights and important interests.

An employee or student should be afforded an opportunity of verifying the accuracy, to rectify and to update confidential information, particularly in circumstances of employment equity.

Breach of the code of Confidentiality is a dismissible offence.

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