The TUC Equality team recently published a report looking at workers' experiences of long covid.
The report looked at the numbers of workers experiencing long Covid and the impact it’s having on their working lives.
The report makes a variety of recommendations to the government, the equality & human rights commission, employers & trade unions in how to best tackle the impact of long covid on workers. You can see a summary of the recommendations below, and the full report can be found here.
1. ensure that disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on different groups of workers - including those with long Covid symptoms - is included within an independent public inquiry
2. strengthen the Equality Act 2010 by specifying that long Covid is a disability
3. adopt the social model of disability
4. provide access to Disablement Benefit
5. increase and expand statutory sick pay
6. overhaul Universal Credit so it is fit for purpose
7. strengthen flexible working rights
8. invest in regulators
9. provide universal access to occupational health
The Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Equality and Human Rights Commission should:
10. produce guidance for employers
11. make targeted use of its enforcement powers
Employers should not wait for the government to specify that long Covid should automatically be considered as a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. They should act as if all staff with long Covid already have the full range of protections afforded by the Act, including putting in place reasonable adjustments.
Employers should also take the following actions.
12. review existing policies
13. consult with trade unions and staff that have long Covid on steps to promote equality and eliminate discrimination
14. put in place reasonable adjustments for workers who have long Covid
15. record long Covid related leave separately from sick leave
16. review existing flexible work policies
17. ensure workers with long Covid have return-to-work risk assessments
18. work with employers to review their policies and practices to ensure any barriers workers with long Covid face at work are identified and removed.
19. negotiate with employers for long Covid to be automatically treated as a disability so that employers put in place reasonable adjustments to remove workplace barriers and record absence linked to long Covid separately from other sick leave.
20. use the findings in this report to campaign to increase their reps’ and members’ understanding of long Covid so workers are better able to seek help if they need it.