Menu

Nominate your Able2UK heroes and losers

Want to nominate somebody as an Able2UK Hero or Loser?  Tweet us @Able2UK with #Able2Hero or #Able2Loser with your suggestions!

Union says Covid patients should be classed disabled

a woman wearing a face mask looking distress
a woman wearing a face mask looking distress Image credit: imperial.ac.uk

The Scottish Trades Union (STUC) has said workers suffering long term Covid-19 symptoms should be recognised as disabled.

If the suggestion is passed through government those with the illness and their families would be eligible for compensation providing they contracted the virus at work.

According to a recent study almost three in 10 workers in or around Scotland have been living with Covid symptoms - such as memory loss, shortness of breath and difficulty concentrating - for more than a year.

Nearly half faced discrimination at work as a direct result of their condition.

Roz Foyer, STUC general secretary, told Daily Record: “It is now clear that thousands of workers, particularly key workers, are suffering debilitating symptoms from Long Covid.

“Even worse, a large number face workplace discrimination as a result.

“These workers need legal protection and the best way to achieve that is for Long Covid to be recognised as a disability under the 2010 Equality Act.

“This would require employers to make reasonable adjustments, allow for time off for recuperation and protect them from dismissal due to ill health.

“Covid should also be classed as an occupational disease, to give workers access to legal protections and compensation.

“While the power to make this change resides at Westminster, we would remind all employers that the Scottish Government’s Fair Work statement makes clear that workers should not suffer detriment due to Covid and this should apply equally to Long Covid.

"Employers should record sick leave connected to Long Covid separately from sick leave that is unconnected.”

Out of the 3,500 workers who completed the TUC survey a fifth said they were challenged about their symptoms, one in eight were questioned if they had Covid.

One in 20 were forced to leave their jobs and one in six said their amount of sick leave escalated to “absence management or HR processes”.

Michael MacLennan, of covid:aid, said: “Those living with Long Covid have in many cases lived for more than a year with chronic debilitating symptoms, of which the causes are still unclear and the path forward sometimes even less so.

“It is therefore vital that employers become more educated on this issue.

“For anyone to contract a long-term chronic illness such as Long Covid and be forced out of their job is a cruel double blow no one should have to suffer.”

Michael MacLennan, of covid:aid, said: “Those living with Long Covid have in many cases lived for more than a year with chronic debilitating symptoms, of which the causes are still unclear and the path forward sometimes even less so.

“It is therefore vital that employers become more educated on this issue.

“For anyone to contract a long-term chronic illness such as Long Covid and be forced out of their job is a cruel double blow no one should have to suffer.”

Frontline workers had been disproportionately affected, with three-quarters employed in either education or health and social care.