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Is long-Covid a disability? 

Without case law or scientific consensus, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published a statement this month to say that long Covid does not automatically qualify as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, unlike conditions like cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis which are recognised in law as being deemed disabilities from point of diagnosis.

The EHRC statement follows a survey by the ONS which reported that 2.8% of the population, outside of care homes, are suffering from long Covid.   In the full statement the EHRC confirmed that for so long as long Covid remains outside the list of conditions which automatically qualify as a disability, all cases of long Covid will not necessarily amount to a disability.

It remains the case that long Covid is a condition that can amount to a disability if it has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which is a matter to be determined by the relevant employment tribunal or court based on the facts and evidence.

The EHRC are keen to point out that this statement does not water down the legal protection for those individuals suffering with long Covid, and strongly recommends that employers continue to follow existing guidance when considering reasonable adjustments for disabled people and access to flexible working.

If you or your organisation are encountering challenges linked with long-Covid, or any other equality law issue, please get in touch to speak with one of our specialist team.

EHRC statement on ‘long  Covid’, disability and the Equality Act


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