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Long COVID – Advice for Employers and Employees

For some people, Coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection. This can be called ‘post-COVID-19 syndrome’, ‘long-tail COVID’ or ‘long COVID’.

Long COVID symptoms could affect someone’s ability to work or cause them to take sickness absence.

The usual rules for sickness absence and sick pay apply when someone is off work because of long COVID.

Employers should be aware that the effects of long COVID can come and go. On some days the person might seem well, but on others their symptoms can be worse and they might need to be off work again.

If someone is off sick, they might feel isolated or need support to return to work. Employers should:

  • Agree how and when to make contact during any absence.

  • Make sure their work is covered and shared out appropriately while they’re off.

  • Talk about ways to support them as they return to work where and when possible.

This guidance, issued by Acas, also advises on when an employee feels able to return to work, and on if an employee is struggling to do their job. It is available here.

Acas October 2021

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