Long Covid sufferers 'unfairly treated in workplace'

Individuals suffering with Long Covid are experiencing unfair treatment at work, according to a new TUC and Long Covid Support Employment Group report published today.

Their survey of more than 3,000 people with Long Covid found that two in three (66%) said they had been unfairly treated at work – up from half (52%) who responded to a similar survey in 2021.

Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents say their employer has "questioned whether they have Long Covid or the impact of their symptoms", and that one in seven (14%) say they lost their job because of reasons connected to Long Covid – nearly triple the percentage (5%) of people who said that in 2021.

Further, nearly three in 10 (28%) say they are concerned Long Covid has affected their chances of a promotion at work; and around one in six (16%) report experiencing bullying and harassment at work as a result of their affliction.

Commenting on the findings, TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Workers with Long Covid have been badly let down. Many of these are the key workers who carried us through the pandemic – yet now some are being forced out of their jobs and too many are relying on food banks just to get by.

“Ministers must make sure all workers with Long Covid have the legal right to reasonable adjustments at work so they can stay in their jobs. Covid-19 should be designated as an occupational disease. That would allow workers who contracted Covid-19 at work and are living with the consequences to claim the compensation they are due. And employers must play their part, by making sure their staff with Long Covid get the reasonable adjustments they need. That is how we make sure workers with Long Covid can manage their condition and stay in the workplace.”

Around half (49%) of the respondents to the TUC and Long Covid Support Employment Group survey say they believed they contracted Covid-19 at work.

As Jonathan Mitchell, partner at DAC Beachcroft, says in the current issue of CIR Magazine , whilst many employers have adopted a new hybrid working model following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, should updated work-from-home advice be issued then employers will need to consider existing home working risk assessments and ensure they are up-to-date.

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