Employer Guidance on Long COVID

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In July of 2022, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) released an informational guide for employers about Long COVID and disability. Although many people have had and recovered from the virus, there are others who continue to experience aftereffects for months and even years. The impact Long COVID has disability implications for both employees and employers.

Long COVID and Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation professionals can use this guide to build awareness about Long COVID challenges and approaches to navigating it’s effect on job seekers and job retention. They can also be a resource to employers by sharing the guide and its recommendations.

Some of the highlights from the JAN guide include the effects of Long COVID on people's mental health; labor shortages caused by long COVID; and innovative ways to retain – rather than replace  –  employees who are experiencing Long COVID.

Accommodating Long COVID in the Workplace

This guide provides information and answers to questions that employers may have. Long COVID can present with continuing physical symptoms and can lead to mental health issues which can result in employee disability. Employers need to be informed about COVID as a long-term disability and understand how to approach accommodations.

JAN recommends that employers support employees with Long COVID by:

  • Consulting with the employee to explore accommodations that can help them continue to work full time.
  • Providing workplace flexibility that can help all employees including those with Long COVID.
  • Offering paid leave time if the organization doesn’t already do it.
  • Referring employees to employee assistance programs or employee resource groups.

The brochure also addresses frequently asked questions from employers, including:

  • What to do when an employee asks for Long COVID accommodations.
  • How to help employees who do not have an official of Long COVID diagnosis
  • Suggestions for supporting employees who request 100% telework due to Long COVID
  • What to do if accommodation options have been tried, but still don’t work.
  • Suggestions for employers to support employees who are caregivers for a person with Long COVID.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Guide for Employers about Long COVID and Disability

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