Long Covid ‘rollercoaster’
Workers suffering from long Covid should have the protection from discrimination that’s afforded under the Equality Act, new research recommends. The study also calls for national and workplace policies to be revised so that people affected by the condition are better supported at work. This includes a review of absence policies.
Researchers interviewed 12 long Covid sufferers in spring/summer 2021 about their ‘rollercoaster’ return to work journey. They found each one was trapped in a cycle of “recurring sickness, absence, return and work adjustments”.
The findings highlight “the necessity of revising workplace and national policies to better accommodate the unique challenges faced by workers suffering from long Covid”. These challenges include coping with the severity of symptoms, impact on performance and how long Covid “threatened [their] occupational identity as strong, healthy workers”.
The findings, published in the Work & Stress journal, urge the inclusion of long Covid in the Equality Act 2010 to ensure workers are “protected from discrimination” and to boost workplace rights such as enhanced sick pay. Such actions will help foster “a more compassionate and effective work environment”.