Return to work of people with disabilities and chronic diseases

Throughout Europe, welfare states are faced with an increasing number of people excluded from the labour market and claiming long-term benefits due to the increasing prevalence of chronic disease, as well as illness, invalidity, work accidents and occupational disease.

Public policy has been primarily focused on health and safety at work. While this focus remains essential, the rise in chronic illnesses specifically requires a new focus on return to work strategies (RTW). Such strategies are indeed a crucial part of improving individuals’ employability throughout their working life. 

Therefore, ESIP stressed the importance of rehabilitation in a letter to Commissioner Thyssen and Members of the European Parliament and adopted a position paper on return to work of people with disabilities and chronic diseases.  In this paper, ESIP calls for further promotion of return to work strategies, highlighting their economic and social value and the essential factors determining their success.

Awareness of the importance of return to work policies has been raised within the EMPL Committee in the context of the future own-initiative report on pathways for the reintegration of workers recovering from injury and illness into quality employment.

ESIP therefore calls on European policy-makers to support a review of best practices in return to work policies in the EU Member States, the development of operational guidelines for RTW strategies and their dissemination across the EU.

Find out more in ESIP’s position paper.