Employers have had to navigate multiple challenges throughout the past 15 months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As many employees are now returning to work, Employment Law specialist David Dixey discusses the factors employers need to consider in relation to long covid.
The term “Long Covid” is used to describe various symptoms experienced by some people for weeks or months after the initial coronavirus infection has subsided. This is obviously a relatively new and less than fully understood illness and affects people in many different ways. Employers need to be aware and to respond appropriately in accordance with the law and best practice.
NHS advice states that Long Covid symptoms can include:
Actual diagnosis of the condition may therefore be difficult, but where such symptoms are present employers should adopt the usual rules for sickness absence and sick pay.
Where an employee wishes to return to work, but there are concerns about continuing symptoms, or their ability to fully perform employment duties, an employer is advised to consider the following:
Employers have a legal duty of care to take all reasonable steps to support the health, safety, and wellbeing of their employees. Failure to meet these obligations could expose an employer to employment law claims or indeed possible personal injury claims. These obligations extend to employees’ mental health as well as their physical wellbeing.
It is recommended that employers have policies and procedures in place to ensure mental health issues in the workplace are appropriately addressed and reasonable support provided when required.
If you are an employer and require employment law advice regarding the above or any other matters, contact David Dixey on 01206 593925.