ACAS have released new guidance for employers for employees who are now affected by ‘Long COVID’.
Whilst restrictions are lifting throughout the country and with the vaccine programme continuing, normality seems to be slowly creeping ever closer, employers however will still need to be aware of the impact of ‘Post COVID-19 Syndrome’ on some employees who may still be suffering the effects of Long COVID.
The symptoms of Long COVID are wide ranging and some will undoubtedly have an impact on an employee’s performance. Long-COVID symptoms include:
• problems with memory or concentration;
• anxiety; and
You can find a full list of Long-COVID symptoms here.
What should employers do?
With the above in mind, employers will be left thinking ‘what should I do’?, if an employee is still suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.
Employers should familiarise themselves with the symptoms and the effects COVID-19 can have on an employee so they are in the best position to make informed decisions. Employers should review their sickness absence policies, so they are aware of the correct procedures to take. Occupational health advice should be sought if the employer has capability concerns owing to the effects of Long-COVID on an employee as such a condition could qualify as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
Potential actions an employer could take to support an employee include:
• agreeing any contact arrangements whilst absent;
• consulting on any support mechanisms an employee would require in place upon their return to work.
Upon an employee’s return, adjustments could be put in place on a temporary basis to assist the transition back to work. These adjustments could be by way of example, to incorporate more breaks into an employee’s working day or agreeing to reduce their hours to facilitate their safe return to work.
You can read the full ACAS guidance here.
• Please note – this guidance is not intended to be taken as legal advice – for individual situations you will need to take specific legal advice.
• The information in this guide is correct as of 22nd June 2021 and should be read alongside the government’s specific guidance.