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Parliamentary questions
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30 July 2018
Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002773/2018

The Commission fully understands the particular needs of those workers with a terminal illness that have chosen to stay in employment, as they need workplace conditions and work organisation tailored to their individual situation. The European Pillar of Social Rights(1) also highlights the right to an adapted working environment that enables people to prolong their participation in the labour market.

The Commission is aware that research activities as well as guidance and tools targeted at employers play a significant role in supporting these workers.

At the workplace, the obligation for employers to evaluate risks and to adapt the work to the individual is at the heart of the EU legislation on occupational safety and health(2). The communication ‘Safer and Healthier Work for All’(3) stresses that risk management shall pay attention to the specific risks faced by certain groups of workers requiring the design of specific preventive and protective measures, such as for those suffering from a terminal illness. In this respect, the Commission has published a practical guidance for employers(4), which provides an overview of the main obligations and existing tools and resources to help employers to comply with those obligations.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) is active in carrying out initiatives aiming at raising awareness and making available practical tools in this topic. EU-OSHA has commissioned research on policies, programs and systems on rehabilitation and return-to-work after sickness absence, with a focus on those workers diagnosed with cancer(5).

The services of the Commission are prepared to exchange on this issue if necessary with relevant interlocutors.

(1)European Pillar of Social Rights, November 2017, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/deeper-and-fairer-economic-and-monetary-union/european-pillar-social-rights_en
(2)Article 6 of Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.
(3)Communication from the Commission ‘Safer and Healthier Work for All — Modernisation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health Legislation and Policy’ COM(2017) 12 final. http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=89&newsId=2709
(4)SWD(2017) 9 final.

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