Long Covid causing difficulties for employers
Nearly half of firms have employees who have experienced long Covid during the last year, according to a poll. The survey, conducted by the CIPD found that 46% of organisations had employees who experienced long Covid symptoms in the last 12 months, with one in four now listing the condition among their main causes of long-term sickness absence.
Long Covid, also sometimes known as ‘post-Covid syndrome’, is where signs or symptoms of coronavirus last for longer than 12 weeks after an initial infection. The most common reported symptoms include fatigue, breathing issues and cognitive dysfunction.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that nearly 2% of the population – some 1.3 million people – reported having the condition last year. The report found that only a quarter of organisations provide line managers with training and guidance on how to support people with long-term health conditions to remain in work, while just 19% provided guidance for employees.
Long Covid is not automatically classified as a disability, but in serious cases it can meet the definition of a disability under the Equality Act which would mean making reasonable adjustments to support the employee.
The CIPD report cautioned that long Covid disproportionately affected those aged 35 to 69, those living in deprived areas, and women. It is also more likely to affect those who work in health and social care, and people who already have an activity-limiting health condition or disability.