The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has notified the Model HIV and AIDS Policy for Establishment 2022 (“Model Policy”) on May 13, 2022 for all establishments engaged in production, supply or distribution of goods or services. The Model Policy has been notified in accordance with Section 12 of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 (“HIV Act”) read with Rule 3 of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Rules, 2018 (“HIV Rules”).
The Model Policy aims to spread awareness regarding HIV and AIDS, protect the rights of persons infected and affected with HIV and AIDS, including family members and cohabitants of infected persons (“Protected Persons”) and providing them conducive and non-discriminatory work environment in establishments.
The HIV Act mandates adoption of Model Policy by all establishments and lays down requirements to be followed by employers in this regard.
Guiding principles under the Model HIV and AIDS policy:
The Model Policy adopts three guiding principles as set out in the HIV Act, namely (a) non-discrimination, (b) confidentiality, and (c) grievance redressal mechanisms:
(a) Non-discrimination: Establishments are required to ensure that there is no discrimination on basis of real or perceived HIV status of a person, such as denial of employment, preventing a person from holding public or private office, isolation/segregation in establishments, termination of employment and unfair treatment at an establishment. HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining any employment is also strictly prohibited.
Further, the Model Policy contemplates termination of a HIV positive employee only in case of a significant risk of transmission or if the person is unfit to perform the assigned duties, setting out the nature and extent of financial/administrative hardship for not accommodating such person.
Also, discrimination on the basis of HIV status against using public utilities and sharing of resources, including access to accommodation, shops, hotels and places of public resort is also strictly prohibited.
(b) Confidentiality: HIV infected person should not be forced to disclose their HIV status, or any other information related to HIV, including any information which may identify such persons or highlight their HIV status. Further, employers are responsible to ensure awareness in the staff in relation to confidentiality of HIV-related information.
All establishments keeping records of HIV-related information should adopt data protection measures and form Data Management Committee to review and recommend appropriate data protection measures.
(c) Grievance redressal mechanism: The HIV Act and HIV Rules set out a robust grievance redressal mechanism for Protected Persons.
Establishments having 100 (one-hundred) or more persons, and healthcare establishments having 20 (twenty) or more persons, are required to appoint Complaints Officers to specifically address grievances in relation to violation of provisions of the HIV Act and HIV Rules.
- Adoption of Model Policy: The Model Policy is to be adopted by each establishment, to the extent applicable, and uploaded on their websites to ensure wider access.
- The HIV Act and HIV Rules set out a robust grievance redressal mechanism for Protected Persons.
- Establishments having 100 (one-hundred) or more persons, are required to appoint Complaints Officers to specifically address grievances in relation to violation of provisions of the HIV Act and HIV Rules.
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