Drafters of the South African Constitution have made children’s and teen’s (13 to 17 years old) rights a priority, as they are seen to be vulnerable. These rights are entrenched in Section 28 in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of our country.
Sadly, children, teens and young adults may be vulnerable to neglect or abuse. It is therefore important to know what rights one has as a child, or teen.
Of course young adults (18 to 25 years old) also have rights and it is just as important for them to know what they are.
It is important to note that with these rights come responsibilities. While AYA are encouraged to know their rights, they should also be aware of how they should not violate other people’s rights and play an important part in looking after their own and other’s well-being.
Cancer Patients’ Rights
Teens and young adults may find information on Patients’ rights and responsibilities in the CANSA Position Statement: Patient and Caregiver Rights ***
***Source: CANSA Website
Teen and Young Adult’s Right to Education
It is important that you communicate with the relevant authorities if you wish to continue with your studies. If you are a teen then it is likely your parents will take the lead regarding this. However, if you are a young adult, you are able to do so yourself.
- Inform the educational authorities regarding your diagnosis and how it may affect your studies and academic performance.
- It remains your decision whether or not to disclose your diagnosis to your fellow learners or students.
- Find out how educators or lecturers may accommodate you in order that you don’t fall behind.
- Discuss possibilities to write tests or examinations at a different stage.
Young Adults’ Rights in the Workplace
It is your responsibility to inform your employer about your medical situation when your work performance is being affected, due to your medical condition.
However, your employer may not discriminate against you because of a cancer diagnosis.
The employer is also bound to adhere to the Protection of Personal Information Act of 2013 (POPIA) to treat your medical condition as confidential.
- Try to have an open discussion with your employer. As soon as they understand the reasons that your work performance may be affected and know what to expect, they are most likely to accommodate you.
- All employees are entitled to paid sick leave. Should your sick leave be exhausted, your employer is no longer obliged to pay you while absent from work due to illness or treatment, but you will be able to claim compensation from the Unemployment Fund while you are not receiving an income.
- Your Employer is responsible to issue you with the relevant UIF documents to apply for these benefits at your nearest Department of Labour office. Please note that you can only apply for UIF benefits if you contribute to the fund.
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