Acas has published new advice for both employers and workers on the treatment of workers who are suffering from the prolonged effects of a COVID-19 infection, now widely known as long COVID.
Acas advice is that employers and workers should discuss the impacts of long COVID as early as possible after diagnosis and then work together to find ways to help support workers who are suffering from it. The advice also states that the usual rules for sickness absence and sick pay apply when someone is off work because of long COVID, and that the options available to employers to help their staff return to work include:
- arranging and offering occupational health assessments
- exploring reasonable adjustments, which can vary from changed working hours to adapted physical work spaces
- discussing flexible working as an option as well as a phased return, which may mean the worker coming back part-time initially to build back up to working their normal hours.
The advice also provides information on whether long COVID is to be treated as a disability and avoiding discrimination.