FOI release: Long covid policy

Published: 20 December 2021
Freedom of information class: How we manage our resources

Information request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

FOI reference: CW-2021-391
Date received: 29 November 2021
Date responded: 17 December 2021

Information requested

You asked ‘if Registers of Scotland have a policy in place for the return to work of employees who are recovering from Long Covid. If such a policy is in place, please confirm the details of the policy.’


Registers of Scotland does not have a specific policy in place for the return to work of employees who are recovering from Long Covid (post-covid syndrome). We continue to follow Scottish Government protocols and guidance around the Coronavirus Pandemic and how we support colleagues during this time. ‘CW-2021-391 Information’ contains an extract of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Impact on Terms and Conditions of Employment for Scottish Government Sector. This refers to the management of sickness absence and paragraph 9 specifically refers to the management of Long Covid.

Extract from ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Impact on Terms and Conditions of Employment for Scottish Government Sector’

Version – 30 November 2021

Sickness Absence - paragraphs 5 to 10

  1. Staff who are sick or unfit for work with symptoms of the virus should remain at home, rather than come into the workplace. They should follow the guidance from NHS Inform or Health Protection Scotland.
  2. All sickness absences should be recorded on HR systems using the appropriate categories.
  3. Due to the pressures likely to be faced by GP practices and the need to follow advice on self-isolation, for this period only, a ‘Fit Note’ will not be required for the first 10 days of absence.
  4. Members of staff should keep their line manager updated regarding their absence, of their progress in getting a test, the result of the test and subsequent plans to return to work.
  5. Coronavirus absences will be excluded from any calculation of contractual sick pay and absence management triggers. In effect, this means that staff will not tip into the half and nil-pay categories specifically as a result of coronavirus sickness absence. If a coronavirus absence becomes long-term and is categorised on a fit note as post-covid syndrome (‘long covid’), the absence from that point in time will be managed in the same way as other long-term absences (i.e. contractual sick pay and absence management triggers will apply with effect from the date of the fit note) to ensure parity with those staff absent with similar health conditions (e.g. ME).
  6. Where a member of staff is absent as a result of other absences which are shown to be related to the current medical emergency (e.g. as a result of ongoing medical conditions such as depression or anxiety which have been adversely impacted by the current emergency and the provisions to deal with it) bodies should use their existing discretions to determine whether it is appropriate to extend sick pay taking account of all the circumstances. Where discretion is applied, the absence arrangements will be kept under regular review and will take into account medical/occupational health advice on how Covid has impacted the absence. Organisations should carefully consider individual circumstances and the requirements to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 when making such decisions.

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