Monday 16 December 2019

Guide helps employees deal with illness

ICTU has launched a booklet to give employers guidance when an employee tells them they have breast cancer or another serious illness
ICTU has launched a booklet to give employers guidance when an employee tells them they have breast cancer or another serious illness

Brian Byrne

A GUIDE for employers to help workers diagnosed with breast cancer negotiate leave during treatment has been launched.

The guide from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), which also covers other serious illnesses, details how unions can help their members let colleagues know and agree a time-off-work plan. It also offers information on how to discuss deciding whether to work during treatment, protect themselves from discrimination and how to return to work.

ICTU general secretary David Begg said: "The publication of this guide illustrates the level of progress made over recent years, in terms of treatment and of better workplace policies.

"Even a decade ago, we would not be having conversations about people returning to work after treatment, even less about how we could best adapt their working environment.

"There is still a long way to go, but this represents significant success for trade unions, who have long campaigned for better treatment and screening for people affected."

Launching the guide, Tanaiste Joan Burton said it is "extremely important" and sets out "very useful" approaches for unions at a time when workers are under "ferocious physical and mental strain".

More than seven women a day are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland. It is rarer in men, affecting 16 per year.

Irish Independent

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