A staggering 25 percent of employers say they are facing absence management issues from employees suffering from long COVID.

The research by WorkNest also identified that a third (33%) of employers are already providing flexibility with working hours or work location to support employees suffering from long COVID. 

Also, one-fifth (21%) of employers are offering additional rest breaks to support employees suffering from long COVID.

Employers must now tread more carefully following the Employment Tribunal decision in June 2022 confirming that long COVID can be classed as a disability.

Guidance on reasonable adjustments

WorkNest suggests that organisations must make reasonable adjustments to help employees with disabilities carry out their roles effectively. 

Potential adjustments for those suffering from long COVID will depend on the individual’s symptoms and whether it is reasonable to adjust their job role. However, standard adjustments may include: 

  • Changing working hours and patterns;  
  • Offering additional rest breaks
  • Reallocating some duties to another employee; 
  • Providing specialist equipment, i.e., a different desk or chair; 
  • Transferring the employee to a suitable alternative post; and 
  • Allowing more time off than usual during working hours permits the disabled employee to attend rehabilitation, assessment or treatment.


Kirstie Beattie, Head of Team and Employment Solicitor at WorkNest, commentts:

“There is increasing awareness of long COVID as a medical condition, its debilitating impact on people’s lives and the approach Employment Tribunals will take when dealing with long COVID-related cases. Consequently, organisations need to understand how to support employees with long COVID.

“If someone raises concerns regarding how long COVID impacts them at work or as part of a return-to-work discussion, their employer must explore their current symptoms and evaluate how this may affect them at work. For example, they may find certain aspects of their job difficult to do and, therefore, may require adjustments on a temporary or permanent basis. 

“Supporting employees with long COVID by making reasonable adjustments will, in turn, reduce legal risk. This is consistent with the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.”

“Organisations may identify adjustments through discussion with their employee or via information shared by their GP. For further professional guidance, we recommend the employee is referred to an Occupational Health professional.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.