Companies failing to support employees suffering with Long Covid symptoms may find a prolonged impact on performance.
That’s the warning issued this week by RedArc, a major provider of medical advisers to employers and insurers.
The group is encouraging companies and insurers to offer specialist third party support to employees suffering from Long Covid, amid growing concerns that businesses are not recognising the impact that the virus may have on workforces over the longer term.
“Support that is too generic won’t cut it for Long Covid as everyone is so different,” explained Christine Husbands, managing director of RedArc. “The symptoms are so wide ranging and interlinked, which is why it’s important that support is personalised.”
The warning comes just five weeks after the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) updated its guidance for employers on dealing with staff suffering from post-Covid-19 syndrome.
In the four weeks to the end of March 2021, some 1.1 million people in the UK were confirmed as suffering from Long Covid, with the rates greatest in the older members of the workforce, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Common Long Covid symptoms can include joint and muscle pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. The Trade Union’s Congress (TUC) has just conducted an employee survey about how those suffering with post-Covid-19 syndrome have been affected in the workplace, with the findings scheduled to be released later this year.
Husbands explains that organisations that put in place specific measures to assist employees suffering with Long Covid are more likely to see staff make an accelerated recovery, which could assist workplace productivity.
She explains: “By utilising the support available in employer-sponsored health and wellbeing benefits, insurances and via membership organisations, those with Long Covid will get the best possible help in dealing with the after-effects of the virus as well as putting in place early intervention support to recognise and respond to new symptoms as they arise.”
Employees who have suffered with symptoms of Long Covid for more than a year may be entitled to additional protections under the Equality Act 2010, or Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland.