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Is Long COVID-19 a disability?

By June 10, 2022June 22nd, 2022Current Affairs, HR Solutions, HR Strategy

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have reported that 1.8 million people are affected by Long Covid. Long Covid is defined as ill health relating to Covid-19 symptoms that last four weeks or more.

What is Long Covid?

The NHS says that symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, memory, and concentration problems to name a few. When understanding whether a medical condition is considered a disability and therefore protected by the Equality Act 2010 very much depends on the circumstances.

The legal definition of a disability within the Equality Acy 2010 is when a person has a disability if they have a “physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities”.

Long Covid & the Equality Act

Last month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have issued a statement to say that it cannot say that all cases of Long Covid will be protected by the Equality Act and that it is for an Employment Tribunal to decide, when assessing each case and their own set of circumstances.

We would always advise that when dealing with any long-term sickness absence, including cases involving Long Covid, to seek either Occupational Health advice or that of another medical practitioner.

Furthermore, when writing to a medical practitioner, we would also strongly advise asking the question that whether it is in their medical opinion, that the employee’s ill health is likely to be considered a disability for the purpose of the Equality Act.

Further Information

If you would like more information on this topic, or would like to enquire about how we can help your business, please contact us

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