NEW FIGURES on the number of people suffering from Long Covid have been published by the Office for National Statistics,
Responding to the new data, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Two million people in the UK are now estimated to have Long Covid, with those workers in health and social care and education most likely to be affected. Long Covid is affecting the day-to-day activities of 1.4 million – and 807,000 first contracted Covid-19 at least 12 months ago.
“Many people with Long Covid are classed as disabled under the Equality Act. So, legally their bosses must introduce reasonable adjustments to support them and make sure they don’t face discrimination. But not everyone has these vital protections. Ministers must urgently recognise Long Covid as a disability to make sure that all working people with the condition are formally protected by employment law.
“With millions of people now experiencing Long Covid, we can’t afford to just wait and see what happens. The government must introduce these legal protections now. That’s the least we owe to the key workers who kept our country going through the pandemic and now have Long Covid as a result.”
The TUC is calling on government to recognise Covid-19 as an occupational disease. This would entitle employees to protection and compensation if they contracted the virus while working.
In the Equality Act, a disability means a physical or a mental condition which has a substantial and long-term impact on your ability to do normal day to day activities. Substantial means more than minor or trivial and long-term means lasting longer than 12 months or likely to last longer than 12 months. There are certain specified conditions which mean that people are considered as disabled under the act from the point of diagnosis. These are cancer, HIV infection or multiple sclerosis (MS).
* Read Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (Covid-19) infection in the UK: 7 July 2022 here.