Workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey was published for National Older Workers Week and...read more
A new report to mark three years since the first Covid lockdown shows the impact of Long Covid in the workplace.
Two thirds of people with Long Covid have experienced unfair treatment at work, according to a new survey.
The TUC and Long Covid Support Employment Group survey of more than 3,000 people with Long Covid shows the number of those reporting being unfairly treated at work is rising – up from half (52%) who responded to a similar survey in 2021.
The survey also found almost a quarter (23%) of respondents say their employer has questioned whether they have Long Covid or the impact of their symptoms; one in seven (14%) say they lost their job because of reasons connected to Long Covid – nearly triple the percentage (5%) of people who said that in 2021; nearly three in 10 (28%) say they are concerned Long Covid has affected their chances of a promotion at work; and around one in six (16%) report experiencing bullying and harassment at work.
The report also shows almost half (48%) say they were not given any or all of the reasonable adjustments – like flexibility to manage fluctuating symptoms or longer or more frequent breaks – that they needed to come back to work. And one in two (50%) report not being given any or all of the reasonable adjustments required – like permanent home working or physical changes to the workplace – to manage their job.
This is despite the fact that around half (49%) of the respondents say they believe they contracted Covid-19 at work.
However, one in eight (12%) say they haven’t told their employer that they have Long Covid – for fear their boss won’t do anything or of being seen in a negative light.
The report also exposes the financial impact on workers experiencing Long Covid, with one in two (50%) of those who responded saying they are having to use their savings to support themselves., around one in 16 (6%) reporting taking out a private loan or using a debt service and one in 16 (6%) using food banks.
The TUC and Long Covid Support Employment Group are calling for the government to urgently introduce a range of measures including ensuring everyone with Long Covid is recognised as disabled under the Equality Act and recognising Covid-19 as an occupational disease. They also call for greater job flexibility and more guidance for employers through the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Lesley Macniven, a founding member of Long Covid Support and Chair of the Long Covid Support Employment Group that worked with the TUC on this report, said: “Lack of support when needed has left a vast pool of people devastated to be jobless and disabled by Long Covid. Some may not now return to the workforce, so our recommendations extend to the support they too deserve.
“Those still fighting to stay in work face discrimination and a lack of understanding. Without action around retention of these workers, not least in sectors facing skills shortages, the numbers, and costs, will continue to rise as they too reluctantly exit the workforce.”