I have some clients who have been trying to help employees suffering from the after-effects of a Covid-19 infection. Long Covid, as it has been called, is a new illness which can last weeks or even months, and medical practitioners are still at an early stage of working out how to treat it – and symptoms may be different for different individuals.
If you have an employee apparently suffering from Long Covid, what should you do?
Well, help is at hand. Acas has produced some advice for employers and employees. This can be found at https://www.acas.org.uk/long-covid
. In essence, the usual rules for sickness absence and sick pay apply, but employers should consider what reasonable adjustments they can make to help the employee back to work. In some cases, the effects may amount to a disability, so employers should take care not to discriminate against someone in this situation.
If however, as an employer, you feel that the employee is not able to do their work or is having a lot of time off ill, you should seek an occupational health assessment to see if more support could be provided. If that doesn’t improve things, a capability dismissal is an option – but only if a full and fair process is carried out or the employee could make a claim of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.
If you have an employee with Long Covid and you need some guidance on what to do, please get in touch.