Labour Minister: People living with HIV/Aids still being discriminated against

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Stephen Mc Clashie – File photo

LABOUR Minister Stephen Mc Clashie says legislation governing HIV/Aids in the workplace is critical as people living with the conditions in TT are still being discriminated against.

He was giving the feature address at a national stakeholder consultation on legislation to govern HIV/Aids in the workplace at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands, Tobago, on May 15.

Mc Clashie told stakeholders that many people living with HIV are still being debarred from employment and employee benefits such as opportunities for training and promotion on the basis of their status.

“It is therefore envisioned that legislation to support the National Workplace Policy on HIV and Aids would address these acts of discrimination and ensure employees’ right to work and productivity in the workplace,” he said.

“As key stakeholders, you all have a say in the best legislative solution to reduce employment related stigma and discrimination against persons living with or affected by HIV and Aids and to provide a safe and productive work environment for all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, including citizens that live with HIV and AIDS.”

Mc Clashie said any legislation would likely contain penalties for breach of the National HIV and Aids policy.

He said ministry’s HIV Workplace Advocacy Unit contributed to the public consultations that were conducted by the National Aids Coordinating Committee in 2023 on the Green Paper.

Mc Clashie said the Ministry of Labour and the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs have been tasked with the responsibility to amend existing and/or develop new legislation to protect workers living with HIV/Aids.

“Additionally, the ministry has to consider possible legislation which contains penalties for breaches of the policy.”