This book focuses on the role of industrial relations structures and related actors in terms of how far they remain relevant in addressing and facilitating the return to work of individuals following chronic illness.

While the demographic transition and the transformation of labour markets call for longer working lives and policies on active ageing, the prevalence of chronic health conditions has also increased in ageing societies. This exacerbates issues connected with shrinking workforces and the sustainability of social security systems. Concerns have also been raised about managing the return to work of workers with chronic illness or disabilities, challenging the inclusive workplace and other related social or labour market policies. The Covid-19 pandemic has additionally affected the return to work process in multiple ways, making the issue ever more important in the current public health context.

The chapters display a detailed picture of return to work processes alongside existing legal and policy frameworks and experiences from multiple governance stages (EU, national and company levels) and provide overview perspectives from distinct angles. Six countries – Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Romania and Slovakia – are analysed in depth to understand how the return to work is implemented and perceived by national stakeholders, social partners, managers and workers.

The key message emerging from the analysis is that the return to work following chronic illness is a complex subject involving a multitude of actors and stakeholders each of whom might have a specific role to contribute to (the facilitation of) the overall process.

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Table of contents

Continuing at work. Long-term illness, return to work schemes and the role of industrial relations_2021.pdf

01-Introduction-Returning to work after chronic illness elevating the role of the social partners_2021.pdf

02-Chapter1-The EU-level policy framework and stakeholder perspectives on returning to work after chronic illness_2021.pdf

03-Chapter2-Shaping an evolving framework on return to work the role of the social partners in Belgium_2021.pdf

04-Chapter3-Why do individualised industrial relations mean the underutilisation of policy tools Workers who fall ill in Eston_2021.pdf

05-Chapter4-In search of a coordinated national framework opportunities and challenges for returning to work after chronic ill_2021.pdf

06-Chapter5-Over-expectation and underprovision overcoming the voluntarist and irregular approach of Italian social partners_2021.pdf

07-Chapter6-Missing a framework for returning to work the role of the social partners in Romania_2021.pdf

08-Chapter7-Return to work practice in Slovakia matching best practice with the scope of social partner activity_2021.pdf

09-Conclusions-Return to work after chronic illness and the way ahead_2021.pdf

10-List of abbreviations_2021.pdf

11-List of contributors_2021.pdf