Thanks to Health & Safety Review for this article by Tina Weadick about long COVID and work.
Losing their job, being subjected to bullying or harassment at work and threats of disciplinary action were the main examples of poor treatment by employers mentioned by UK Long Covid patients.
In autumn 2022, union umbrella body the TUC and the charity Long Covid Support conducted a self-selecting online survey, to which 3,373 people responded, 3,097 of whom reported they had Long Covid.
Data released by the Office of National Statistics in February this year revealed that there are now some 2 million people in the UK experiencing self-reported Long Covid.
The joint report of the survey findings, issued at the end of March, illustrates the “shockingly high levels of poor treatment by employers” of people experiencing Long Covid and, according to the TUC, “demonstrates feelings of fear or disillusionment when it comes to speaking to employers about experiences of Long Covid”.
More than one in ten respondents said they had not informed their employer of their symptoms at all, a third of whom said it was because they didn’t think their employer would do anything.
Around half the respondents said they hadn’t been given all or any of the changes they needed to return to work and/or to manage their job when they did. The report’s authors said their findings reveal that employers are seeing standard phased return to work as the main solution, even though this fails to recognise the “fluctuating nature” of the condition.
They also note that “there has been no targeted government action for people with Long Covid to be able to access and stay in work, should they want to” and that there is a great deal of confusion regarding the legal protections people with Long Covid are entitled to and what employers’ duties towards them are.
The report, Workers’ Experiences of Long Covid, can be downloaded here: https://bit.ly/3oyHe7V
This article is reproduced courtesy of Health & Safety Review.