Estimating the HIV prevalence among permanent employees of Old Mutual (SA) : a case study

Linderts, Gavin Sebastian (2008-03)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Menslike immuungebrekvirus (MIV) en Verworwe immuniteitsgebrek sindroom (VIGS) is een van die grootste uitdagings waarvoor werkgewers vandag te staan kom, en behoort die stukrag te wees vir ’n deeglike ondersoek om die voorkoms van hierdie toestand in die werkplek so akkuraat as moontlik te bepaal. So ’n ondersoek kan lig werp op toekomstige demografiese arbeidsmagtendense en verwante koste, byvoorbeeld verlies aan produktiwiteit en dienslewering weens afwesigheid, ’n toename in aftredes, en stygende sieke- en pensioenfondseise wat waarskynlik ingedien sal word. Daarbenewens kan so ’n ondersoek die werkgewer in staat stel om noukeuriger vir die toekoms te beplan, vanuit die oogpunt van finansies sowel as menslike hulpbronne. Daar is egter ’n neiging by werkgewers om MIV/VIGS steeds as ’n maatskaplike of samelewingsprobleem eerder as ’n besigheidspesifieke risiko te beskou. Onkunde is meestal die rede hiervoor. Werkgewers neig om weg te skram van direkte risikobestuur, dikwels met die argument dat dit die regering se plig is om MIV/VIGS-opleiding en gesondheidsorg te voorsien. Sodoende word die bestaande verhouding van ‘ekwilibriumkonvergensie’ tussen die staat, sakesektor en arbeid verydel. MIV/VIGS moet soos ander groot geïdentifiseerde sakerisiko’s beskou, gemeet en proaktief bestuur word, net soos met wisselkoers wisselvalligheid, politieke en infrastrukturele risiko’s, en persoonlike en batesekuriteit. Hoewel hierdie risikofaktore dwarsoor die wêreld bestaan, en sommiges in ander wêrelddele groter is, het hul gekombineerde uitwerking veral in Suider-Afrika ernstige implikasies vir investering en die koste om hier sake te doen. Soos alle ander sakerisiko’s moet die hantering daarvan multidimensioneel wees: • Identifiseer, meet en bestuur die risiko; plaas MIV/VIGS eerste op die direksie se agenda. • Stel senior beamptes aan om die risiko te bestuur. • Evalueer bestuurstrukture en intervensie stappe gereeld. • MIV/VIGS opleiding is die sleutel, vir bestuurslede sowel as werknemers. Risikobestuur moet holisties wees. So byvoorbeeld is dit nutteloos om gesondheidsorg sonder proaktiewe pasiëntebestuur te voorsien. En net soos wat behandelingsplanne sonder befondsing sinloos is, is dit futiel om goed befondsde voordeelplanne te skep as behandeling nie toeganklik is nie. Die doel van hierdie studie is om die proses wat Old Mutual (SA) gevolg het om die voorkoms van MIV onder sy 13 000 permanente werknemers landwyd te eksploreer. Die statistiese uitkoms sal dan gebruik word om te bepaal of Old Mutual (SA) wel sy doelwitte in terme van werknemersgelykheid sal bereik en behou, gegewe die MIV/VIGS pandemie. Vooruitskouings oor die implikasies van MIV/VIGS vir Old Mutual (SA) moet met die nodige omsigtigheid benader word, alhoewel hierdie studie aandui dat dit moontlik implikasies kan inhou vir werkverskaffing in die toekoms, gegewe die wetlike vereistes vir die verskeie aangewese groepe. MIV/VIGS lei nie net tot siekte, ongeskiktheid en dood onder Old Mutual (SA) se werknemers nie. Tesame met ernstige ekonomiese en emosionele ontwrigting vir hul gesinne, verhoog dit ook die koste om in Suid-Afrika sake te doen. Hierdie koste sluit die volgende in: • verhoogde gesondheidsorgkoste; • meer eise vir aftree-, pensioen- en doodsvoordele; • laer produktiwiteit namate afwesigheid van die werk styg weens siekte, hetsy eie of siek familielede na wie omgesien moet word; en • verhoogde koste vir personeelwerwing, arbeidsomset en opleiding weens die verlies van ervare personeel.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is one of the greatest challenges facing employers today, and should provide the impetus for a thorough investigation among employees in order to arrive at an estimate of HIV prevalence within the workplace. Such an investigation could shed light on future demographic workforce trends as well as related costs, e.g. loss in productivity and service delivery due to absenteeism, increased retirement and a rise in medical aid and pension fund claims that the employer is likely to encounter. Furthermore, this investigation could enable the employer to plan better for the future – both from a financial and human resources viewpoint. In the ‘real’ world though, employers still perceive HIV/AIDS as a social or community problem rather than a business specific risk. Employers, largely through ignorance, tend to shy away from direct risk management – often using the argument that it is the government’s responsibility to provide HIV/AIDS education and healthcare. In this way they nullify the existing ‘equilibrium convergence’ relationship between the state, business and labour. HIV/AIDS must be measured and proactively managed and should be regarded in the same light as other major identified business risks, e.g. personal and asset security, exchange rate volatility, and political and infrastructure risks. While it is true that all of these particular risk factors exist across the globe, and may be greater in other parts of the world, nowhere else do they seem to combine with such severe implications to deter investment and raise the cost of doing business than in Southern Africa. As for any other business risk, the response should be multi-dimensional: • Identify, measure and manage; place HIV/AIDS at the top of board agendas. • Appoint senior executives to manage the risk. • Regularly evaluate management structures and interventions. • HIV/AIDS education is key to both management and employees. Risk management should be holistic. For example, providing healthcare without proactive patient management is pointless. Similarly, treatment plans without funding are futile, and well-funded benefit plans without practical access to treatment are a waste of time. The aim of this study is to explore the process Old Mutual (SA) followed in estimating the HIV prevalence among its 13 000 permanent employees nationally. The resultant statistics would then be used to project whether or not Old Mutual (SA) will be able to achieve and sustain its employment equity targets, given the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Predictions on the implications of HIV/AIDS for Old Mutual (SA) should be approached with due caution, although this study suggests that it could probably seriously impact on shortages in the supply of labour in future, given the legislative requirements for the various designated groupings. HIV/AIDS not only causes illness, disability and death among Old Mutual (SA) employees, coupled with severe economic and emotional disruption for their families, it also increases the cost of doing business in South Africa. These costs include: • increased healthcare expenses; • increased retirement, pension and death benefit claims; • decreased productivity as worker absenteeism rises owing to personal illness, or absence from work to care for sick relatives; and • increased recruitment, labour turnover and training costs due to loss of experienced workers.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/885
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