TUC calls for Long Covid to be recognised as a disability as sufferers face dismissal

One in 20 long Covid sufferers have already been forced out of their jobs.

25 Jun 2021| News

The TUC has called for Lomg Covid to be recognised as a disability in order to protect sufferers from discrimination in the workplace after one in 20 people with the disease report being forced out of their jobs because of their illness.

It was reported this week that over 2 million people in the UK report suffering from Long Covid, defined as experiencing symptoms of the virus for longer than 12 weeks. Many have continued to feel unwell for over 12 months.

A TUC survey of over 3,500 workers found that nearly all Covid-19 sufferers (95%) experienced ongoing symptoms. Nearly a third of these (29%) were still experiencing symptoms over a year after catching Covid-19.

Most reported brain fog (72%), shortness of breath (70%), difficulty concentrating (62%) and problems with their memory (54%) but despite being a common occurence over half (52%) had been discrimination against at work as a result of being unwell.

Around a fifth (19%) said their employer had questioned the impact of their symptoms, one in eight (13%) said their employer was disbeliving about their condition, and one in 20 (5%) were forced out of their jobs.

Of those who responded to the survey, nearly four out of five (79%) were key workers, most of whom work in education or social care, and 68% were female.

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Long Covid must be recognised as a disability. That would mean workers are protected by the Equality Act, and would have a right to get reasonable adjustments at work.

“And Covid-19 should be designated as an occupational disease. That would allow workers who contracted Covid-19 at work and are living with the consequences to claim the compensation they are due.”