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.