For some individuals, who have been unfortunate to contract Coronavirus, they are now being diagnosed or are seeing the symptoms they endured whilst having it, prolonged even months after it first appeared.
Cases of people who are still suffering with the lethargy, loss of taste, the coughing and other symptoms lasting for months on end and not knowing how long it will last. As an employer who is returning employees to the workplace there are some key considerations to bear in mind if someone declares they have long-Covid.
Over one million people have now reported experiencing lasting symptoms.
With long-Covid becoming increasingly more common, it is important for employers to be prepared to support affected employees. Here are a few suggestions to help you navigate the complexities of managing long term absences.
- As with all types of long-term sickness ensure you involve your Occupational Health provider to obtain a professional viewpoint on reasonable adjustments on employee’s health matters
- If reasonable adjustments are recommended, don’t write them off at first look, consider how these might work for the company and the employee, especially short-term reductions or changes to working hours or adapted workspaces or working from home where this might be possible
- Flexibility of working hours can be a great way to allow an employee to return to work and deal with the long-term effects that long Covid symptoms are causing
- Remember to keep talking to affected employees, the better you engage with your workforce on sickness absence matters the better engaged and more valued employees feel
There is no guidance as yet as to whether long Covid might be considered as a disability, but it should be noted that if it is a diagnosed condition and lasts for longer than 12 months and affects how the individual undertakes day to day activities, the better you deal with these cases from day one it will stand you in good stead in the long run.
If your business needs specialist employer advice on management of long Covid in the workplace please contact us here. We have access to up to date documentation, policies and legal advice, and we can help you work out the best approach for your company and your employees.