Information and guidance for employers on supporting employees who have arthritis including legal obligations
Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), there may be further support required for your employee who has arthritis.
They may be in the category identified by the Scottish Government at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. To protect themselves, they have been issued with a letter informing them of
shielding (external site) and what this means for them.
Within this shielding letter, there is lots of information on support for them. They can also use this to provide evidence to you as their employer that they cannot work outside their own home.
If they have not received a letter requesting them to follow shielding protocol, you may find that they still fall into a category of higher risk. This can be identified by the fact they get offered the flu vaccine by their GP. They do not need to accept this offer, but they need to have been classified by their GP as needing it because of their health condition.
These pages give more information on the specific condition. They should be read in conjunction with our
Supporting employees with long term health conditions pages to help you understand how a workplace can assist in helping an employee return to and remain at work.
Approximately 10 million people in the UK have a diagnosis of arthritis, this includes all age groups.
There are 2 mains types
Depending on the type of arthritis, symptoms most commonly affect the joints in the hands, the hips and knees and the spine. The impact on an individual can vary and may include:
Employees with arthritis may have increased levels of sickness absence. They may also need to attend hospital or specialist appointments more frequently.
Authorised absence, out with the normal organisation sickness absence triggers, should be considered an appropriate adjustment under the Equality Act 2010. This would be identified within your Supporting Staff Attendance Policy.
If you feel your policy doesn’t include this, you can get support from our
Supporting staff attendance pages.
Other areas that you can consider when supporting an employee with arthritis may include
Key sources of support for both the employer and employee include:
Healthy Working Lives can help you to develop supportive and inclusive workplace policies and offer support both online and on the telephone. You can contact the free and confidential advice line on 0800 019 2211 for more advice.
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For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, you can speak to one of our specialist advisors.