Policy Guidelines for Effective Inclusion and Reintegration of People with Chronic Diseases in the Workplace: National and European Perspectives

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Mar 11;15(3):493. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15030493.


The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases among the European working age population, as well as the implications for the individual and societal level, underline the need for policy guidelines targeting the effective inclusion of persons with chronic diseases in the workplace. The aim of the present paper was to explore the perspectives of European and National-level stakeholders on existing strategies for work re-integration of persons with chronic diseases, and to provide policy guidelines. A highly-structured interview protocol was distributed to 58 National level stakeholders (policy makers, professionals and employers) from seven European countries. Additionally, 20 European organizations concerned with health-related issues and employment completed an online survey. The findings reveal that employment-related challenges remain largely unaddressed. Both national and European stakeholders considered the existing legislative frameworks inadequate and appraised the co-ordination for the implementation of employment re-integration policies as ineffective. Policies targeting at work re-integration of persons with chronic diseases at European and national level should focus on consistent cooperation among all key stakeholders, awareness raising to staff and management, dissemination of effective strategies, developing research and evaluation standards and establishing monitoring systems on inclusive labour markets.

Keywords: European stakeholders; chronic diseases; national stakeholders; perspectives; policy guidelines; work inclusion; work re-integration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Employment / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Employment / standards
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Organizational Policy
  • Personnel Selection / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Personnel Selection / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Return to Work / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Workplace / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Workplace / standards*