Figures published by the Government on Thursday showed that Covid was the fourth leading cause of long-term sickness among civil servants in the year to March 2022 after poor mental health, musculoskeletal problems and “other” problems.
It was also the main culprit for short-term sickness, defined as periods of equal to or less than 20 working or 28 calendar days, accounting for 32.4 percent of all absences.
Overall, the average number of working days lost to sickness in the Civil Service rose by 29.5 per cent on the previous year, from 6.1 to 7.9. Absence rates varied hugely across Whitehall, ranging from 2.5 days at the former Department for International Trade to 12.1 days at the Ministry of Justice.
A major study published in the British Medical Journal earlier this year found that most symptoms of long Covid disappeared within a year and that mild disease was unlikely to lead to serious or long-term problems.
Elsewhere in the annual Civil Service people survey from last autumn, 72.9 per cent of officials said they would rate their overall physical health as good, very good or excellent.
A government spokesman said: “For any long-term absence which is granted on medical grounds, employees are able to access support they need to recover and, once healthy again, return to work.”
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