Social and Cultural Rights belong to a category known as second-generation or socio-economic rights, which are related to the social and economic well-being of individuals. We discussed these rights and listed examples from each, in the previous article, Examples of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in South Africa. Now, we will discuss how employers can promote social and cultural rights in the workplace.
What Are Social Rights?
Social rights create a standardised minimum quality of living across the population. They classify basic needs such as food, clean water, sanitation, education, housing and health care as necessities rather than optional services. This includes the right to freedom from discrimination, the right to have a family and the right to sufficient protection in the event of unemployment, due to reasons beyond your control.
In South Africa it is the responsibility of all organisations to ensure that they uphold the human rights of their employees. They, therefore, should have systems in place that promote these rights.
How Can Companies Promote Social Rights in the Workplace?
- Employers should make sure that their workers have access to clean water and sanitation.
- Businesses can establish on site clinics that give employees access to basic medical examinations.
- Employees should be offered opportunities for skills training.
- Employers can identify workers who never completed school and offer them opportunities to complete ABET (Adult Basic Education and Training) programmes.
- Employees should be registered with the UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund), so that they can be protected in case of illness or unemployment.
- Companies can encourage their employees to participate in special events such as World Aids Day.
- Where possible, companies should provide migrant workers with basic housing.
- Businesses can have canteens where employees get free food during lunch time.
What Are Cultural Rights?
Cultural rights protect the individual’s freedom of belief and cultural identity. They include a person’s right to enjoy their own culture, religion, language and artistic creativity. In a democratic society, everyone should be allowed to express themselves however they wish, as long as they do not harm others or violate their rights.
The South African Constitution encourages diversity and discourages discrimination. Upholding cultural rights is one way of ensuring corporate diversity.
In What Ways Can Businesses Uphold Cultural Rights in the Workplace?
- Businesses should create a workplace environment where all employees feel free to use their own language when talking to others during their free time.
- Businesses can organise cultural activities and encourage their employees to participate.
- Employers should allow employees to share problem-solving ideas from their own cultural viewpoint.
- Employees should be trained on cultural tolerance.
- Companies should employ people from different cultural backgrounds.
- Employees should be allowed to take leave on special religious holidays.
- Employees should be allowed to wear clothing that is prescribed by their culture or religion.
- Interviewers should not discriminate against applicants because of their religious attire.
Other Useful Articles
- What Are the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace?
- Definition of Human Rights and their Implication in the Workplace
- Examples of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in South Africa
- Contemporary Socio-Economic Issues in South Africa
- Real World Examples of CSI and CSR: Google and GrandWest
Now it is time for you to test your knowledge. Download the quiz cards below and practice answering these NCS exam questions. Share them with your friends and test each other online. You will find more images like this, and other Grade 12 Term 2 notes, on my Facebook page: Nonjabulo SA.
1. Explain how businesses may promote social rights in the workplace.
2. Recommend FIVE (5) strategies businesses can use to promote cultural rights in the workplace.