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Ministers must support those with Long Covid, says TUC
Responding to new figures published on Long Covid by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady yesterday said:
“Around two million people in the UK are living with Long Covid – more than the populations of Manchester and Birmingham combined.
“Economic inactivity is rising almost 10 times as fast for people with Long Covid than for those without the condition. And older workers are being hit the hardest.
“Ministers must ensure everyone with Long Covid is recognised as disabled under the Equality Act. This will give them the support they need to continue to do their jobs and formal protection under employment law.
“And Long Covid must also be recognised as an occupational disease. That would entitle employees to protection and compensation if they contracted the virus while working.
“It’s a scandal that more than two and a half years after the first lockdown, the workers who kept our country going through the pandemic have still been offered no support.”
The ONS figures show that:
- Between July 2021 and July 2022, the inactivity rate among working-age people with self-reported Long Covid grew by 3.8 percentage points, compared with 0.4 percentage points among working-age people without self-reported Long Covid.
- The relationship between self-reported Long Covid and inactivity (excluding retirement) was strongest for people aged 50 to 64 years, where the higher odds of inactivity compared with pre-infection peaked at a 71.2% increase among people reporting Long Covid 30 to 39 weeks post-infection.
- ONS figures: The full ONS figures on Long Covid are available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/selfreportedlongcovidandlabourmarketoutcomesuk2022/selfreportedlongcovidandlabourmarketoutcomesuk2022
- Definition of disabled: 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).
- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
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