Rehabilitation and return to work

The European workforce is ageing: and the retirement age is increasing in many Member States, and many workers are likely to face longer working lives. This also means that more workers will fall ill, and so and so good return-to-work policies will be important to keep workplaces sustainable.

Returning to work after a medium- to long-term sickness absence is a complex process. It involves following a number of steps and combined action from different professions that are not necessarily used to working together. The workplace should be the central focus of return-to-work systems. Therefore, EU-OSHA has commissioned research on rehabilitation and return-to-work policies and systems, which brings together good practices from across Europe.

Around 1.6 million people of working age are diagnosed with cancer in Europe each year. However, according to research presented in an  EU-OSHA workshop on work-related cancer, while there are measures for MSDs and stress-related health problems, there are fewer reintegration measures and back-to-work measures for workers affected by cancer including work-related cancer.

More and more cancer survivors return to work. It is important to facilitate their rehabilitation, both to promote the well-being of this vulnerable group and to reduce the related societal and economic impacts. EU-OSHA has looked into this issue and published reviews of rehabilitation and return to work after cancer and recommendations for enterprises.

Rehabilitation and return to work after cancer: Literature review

Policy and practice on rehabilitation and RTW after cancer - current approaches: seminar proceedings

9 case studies on rehabilitation/return to work programmes