- More than a fifth (21%) of employees say they currently have, or have had, long Covid
- 15% are or were afraid of disclosing long-Covid to their employer - fearing it will impact their position
- 5% have had to quit their job as a result of suffering from long Covid
As long Covid continues to impact the health of approximately 1.8 million1 people across the UK, adding pressure onto the NHS and employers, research from Canada Life2 reveals that nearly one in four (23%) employees with long Covid have experienced a decline in their mental health. This comes at a time when more than a fifth (21%) of employees say they either have, or have had, long Covid at some point.
The research highlights the concerns those suffering with long Covid have in the workplace. Nearly a fifth (19%) say their employer doesn’t understand the health impact of long Covid, 15% say their colleagues do not understand it, while the same amount (15%) are or were afraid of disclosing long Covid to their employer for fear it will impact their position.
Long Covid has also had an impact on employee performance. Almost a fifth (19%) have had to reduce their working hours, while a similar amount (18%) say long Covid has had an impact on their ability to perform their job. Worryingly, 5% have had to quit their job as a result of suffering from long Covid.
Those suffering with long Covid are worried about how their ongoing symptoms will impact their lives. One in five (20%) are worried about the impact it will have on their long-term life goals, while 18% say long Covid has already had a negative impact on their relationships with family and friends.
Ian Ranger, head of claims, group insurance at Canada Life, comments: “Employers have a duty of care to their employees and must consider the potential risks of long Covid, such as the impact on mental health and wellbeing, and plan how they will support any employees that are suffering. For instance, we are finding that individuals may be suffering from a wide range of symptoms and as the length of absence from the workplace increases so do the challenges of reintegration. The nature of an individual's symptoms often mean that these returns need to be protracted and therefore we are working in lock step with employers to guide them along this journey.
“Simple steps such as considering flexible working arrangements as well as reviewing health and wellbeing benefits, will enable those with long Covid to manage their symptoms and recover quicker, while also lessening the impact on the business. In addition, employers should think about training their staff to ensure they understand the impact of long Covid and make them aware of any employee benefits, policies and support in place that could help those suffering from long Covid.”
- Source: ONS Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK: 6 May 2022
- Source: Research conducted by Opinium among 2000 UK adults between 10-13 May 2022.