Workers with lung conditions ‘prepared to quit’ rather than return post Covid-19

Workers with lung conditions are so worried about returning to their workplace some will risk being fired if they are forced to go back, respiratory charities have warned.

A survey by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation has found that 83% of workers with a lung condition, who have not been going to their workplace, are anxious about their return in the next few months.

One in seven (15%) workers with a lung condition said they would refuse to return to their workplace, even if this meant losing their job. A third (32%) did not believe their workplace is or would be “Covid secure”, while two-thirds (69%) were concerned about going back to work but felt they would have to do so anyway. More than a fifth (11%) said they were unable to say if they could commute to work safely and 8% said they could not.

The charities are urging employers to be understanding with their employees who have a lung condition and engage with their individual needs. This could include an ongoing option to work at home or redeployment to a lower risk role.

Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: “It cannot be right that people are having to make the choice between their health and their wealth.

“Employers must engage constructively with their workers so that no one with a lung condition feels forced to return to a workplace which is not Covid secure and puts them at increased risk of catching the virus,” she added.

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