New advice for firms to help workers suffering from long Covid

People cross London Bridge, central London, near the Shard skyscraper (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
People cross London Bridge, central London, near the Shard skyscraper (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
9:53am, Fri 30 Apr 2021
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Firms are being urged to help staff suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19, to return to work by considering changing their hours and offering health assessments.

The conciliation service Acas said it had been contacted by workers suffering from symptoms of long Covid who are unsure of their rights and from employers who want advice on how to support their staff.

Acas published new advice, suggesting to firms that they make “reasonable adjustments” such as discussing flexible working, phased returns and adapting physical workspaces.

Our new advice offers practical tips for employers to manage the various effects of the condition in a sensitive way

Employers should focus on the reasonable adjustments they can make rather than trying to work out if an employee’s condition is a disability, said Acas.

The Office for National Statistics has estimated that over one million people have reported experiencing long Covid, Acas noted.

Chief executive Susan Clews said: “Long Covid is a relatively new illness and for some people it can be debilitating.

“For others, its effects are variable and a worker could be fine one day but need to be off work if their symptoms worsen.

“Our new advice offers practical tips for employers to manage the various effects of the condition in a sensitive way as well a range of options that can help staff get back to work safely.”

Long Covid symptoms can include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain and problems with memory and concentration.

Acas said that once someone has been diagnosed as having long Covid, employers and workers should discuss the impacts as early as possible.

The usual rules for sickness absence and sick pay apply when someone is off work because of long Covid, Acas added.

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