EU calls for return-to-work programmes for cancer survivors
The European Agency for Safety at Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has called on called on companies to do more to help cancer survivors get back to work.
To mark the European Week Against Cancer, the EU agency has published a report based on a recent project that examined how cancer impacts people and workplaces.
According to the EU-OSHA, around 1.4 million people of working age are diagnosed with cancer every year across Europe.
Around two thirds (64%) of these workers are back at work within 18 months, and cancer survivors are 1.4 times more likely to be unemployed and three times more likely to receive more disability benefits.
The EU agency has recommended member states introduce laws to make it mandatory for all businesses to offer return-to-work programmes, which should be tailored to the needs of individual workers.
It also calls for return-to-work programmes to be integrated into company policies, with sufficient time and resources for providing information on cancer and returning to work after treatment.
The report also highlights Macmillan Cancer Support’s Working Through Cancer programme in the UK, which it describes as a “particularly innovative intervention”.
The Macmillan programme offers online information, telephone support and in-company training courses, and one of its key aims to ensure that bosses understand the benefits of actively helping workers to get back to work after treatment.
“In addition to the detrimental effects that being out of work has on an individual’s well-being and finances, this situation has severe economic consequences for business and society as a whole,” said EU-OSHA Executive Director, Christa Sedlatschek.
“In fact, in 2009, working days lost as a result of cancer are estimated to have cost the European Union €9.5 billion.
“Therefore, it is essential that companies implement effective strategies to help their employees get back to work following diagnosis of cancer.”
To read the full report, click here.
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