The European Parliament has recently adopted the report ‘Pathways for the reintegration of workers recovering from injury and illness into quality employment‘. The report includes the first explicit endorsement of the Dying to Work campaign and a call on the Commission to address the lack of data concerning terminally ill people in the workplace. Specifically:
- Recognises that people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness retain the fundamental right to work; further recognises that these individuals face a unique set of challenges relating to their employment, distinct from the challenges facing other patient groups, as there is often little time for them to adapt to their changing conditions and for workplace adjustments to be made; commends initiatives such as the Dying to Work campaign for raising awareness about this specific set of problems; encourages employers to maintain as much dialogue as possible with employees who have received a terminal diagnosis, to ensure that all necessary and possible adaptations can be made to allow the employee to carry on working if he or she so wishes; is of the opinion that, for many patient, remaining in the workplace is a personal, psychological or economic imperative and central to his or her dignity and quality of life; urges the Member States to support the reasonable adaptation of workplaces to the unique set of challenges facing this group of people; calls on the Commission to tackle the lack of data on the employment status of people with cancer and to support the collection of better data, comparable across Member States, in order to improve support services for them;
The full report can be found here.
This is a first formal recognition of the work of the EU campaigns and a hugely positive step forward in highlighting this important set of issues.
The Dying to Work campaign would like to see terminal illness recognised as a ‘protected characteristic’ so that an employee with a terminal illness would enjoy a ‘protected period’ where they could not be dismissed as a result of their condition.
Such protection would give every person battling terminal conditions the choice of how to spend their final months and the peace of mind to know their job was protected and the future
financial security of their family was guaranteed.
Potential effects of losing your job following a terminal diagnosis:
- Reduced income and loss of financial security.
- Loss of stimulation, dignity and normality associated with being in employment.
- Undergoing an inevitably stressful and upsetting HR procedure.
- Loss of ‘Death in Service’ and ‘Life Assurance’ payments to family members and loved ones.
To find out more about this issue please go to: https://www.dyingtoworkeu.org/