Click here to access the full report.
St. Louis, MO: Inclusively, a technology platform that empowers employers with the accommodation insights, access, training and support they need to attract and retain previously hidden talent, today released new data showing the impact of long COVID on U.S. workers. The results bring to light the immense effects the disease wreaks upon individuals and families; dramatic disparities in the workplace experience and outcomes of minority populations; the confusion many workers and employers have about the disease and its status as a condition covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and the inconsistencies with which organizations are informing employees about company policy, programs and other resources that may be beneficial. The survey was conducted by nonprofit research organization Health Literacy Media. Click here to access the full report.
Long COVID is Impacting Employees’ Ability to Work
Long COVID typically presents as a combination of physical, mental and cognitive symptoms. These include fatigue, memory issues or “brain fog”, and challenges with focusing on tasks. Trouble breathing, fatigue, dizziness and mobility are the most common physical ramifications being experienced by survey respondents.
- 48% had to take time off work
- 45% report having depression or anxiety
- 39% can’t work as many hours
- 31% had to change where they worked
Employees Don’t Understand Their Rights and Options — And It May Be That Employers Don’t Either
Some of the most surprising findings of the study are the impact of an organization’s size on its employees’ understanding of long COVID and its status under the ADA.
- While 74% of employees at companies under 1000 employees knew that long COVID is a disability covered by the ADA, only 55% of those working at companies with more than 1,000 employees reported knowing
- Employees at smaller companies were 10% more likely to have asked for a workplace accommodation unrelated to COVID before developing long COVID
“We are seeing more and more job seekers that require workplace accommodations to manage a long COVID diagnosis,” said Charlotte Dales, Co-Founder and CEO, Inclusively. “As we navigate this new normal, we hope this study is able to shed some light on how long COVID is impacting employees, and provide some best practices and strategies for employers who are invested in supporting and retaining their workers that are actively managing long COVID symptoms.”
“As we navigate this new normal, we hope this study is able to shed some light on how long COVID is impacting employees, and provide some best practices and strategies for employers who are invested in supporting and retaining their workers that are actively managing long COVID symptoms.”
— Charlotte Dales, Co-Founder and CEO of Inclusively
Workers from Marginalized Communities Are Not Able to Access Workplace Accommodations Equitably
The dramatic disparity in the infection rates, death rates, and unemployment rates of those in marginalized communities reported throughout the pandemic was highlighted in stark contrast in this survey. Among respondents who shared why they had not asked for formal accommodations:
- Only 20% of respondents of color report that their workplaces were already flexible, versus 40% of white respondents
- 35% of respondents of color said they didn’t know they could ask, or whom to ask, versus only 15% of white respondents
- 30% of respondents of color report being afraid of what would happen if they asked, versus 16% of white respondents
Key Actions for Employers
- Acknowledge and Raise Awareness of Long COVID as a Covered Health Condition: The research has highlighted that many employees, especially employees of color, do not know where to go or whom to ask about long COVID. The first step in supporting employees is simply to offer publicly available information about the disease and the internal processes employees can engage in order to get the workplace accommodations they need.
- Nurture an Environment Where Employees Can Safely Communicate: Employees with long COVID, especially employees of color, indicated that they do not feel safe disclosing their condition both because of the stigma surrounding the disease and because of what might happen as a result.
- Ensure Long COVID is Included in Existing Policies or Create New Policies to Address It: As all employers with more than 15 employees are required by law to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, each employer likely has systems in place to manage accommodations for other disabilities. These systems and processes should be updated to accommodate the needs of the 7-15% of the employee population that is experiencing long COVID at any given time, especially for those that may be experiencing a disability for the first time.
- Clarify Common Accommodations for Long COVID and How to Request Them: A number of accommodations that are likely already being implemented are applicable to accommodating long COVID. Those can include: Allowing employees to work remotely or flexible hours, offering extended and/or more frequent breaks, making adjustments to communication structures, offering job sharing or providing support per workload, and providing regular one-ones with managers.
Inclusively is hosting a live panel discussion on Thursday, December 15 at 2 PM Eastern, featuring its Co-Founder and CEO, Charlotte Dales, as well as report contributors Catina O’Leary, PhD, LMSW, President and CEO at Health Literacy Media and Michael Cleveland, FLMI, ARA, AIRC, President of Advisory Services at Brown & Brown Absence Services Group. Panelists will deep dive into the key findings and recommendations from the report. Click here to register for the panel session.
To learn more about the impact of long COVID on employees and the workplace, click here to access the full report.
Inclusively is a technology platform that empowers employers with the insights, access, training and support they need to attract and retain previously hidden talent. Our technology curates candidates with disabilities to hiring teams with all the relevant information they need to provide an inclusive experience at scale. Our platform provides integrated access to 1 million diverse candidates to roles based on candidate skills, experience, and accommodations. We make it easy for hiring teams to make accommodations for candidates, rapidly increasing a company’s ability to benefit from diverse talent. And our lean-learning model ensures customers have access to disability inclusion subject matter expertise when they need it.
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