Important: the information in the following section is based on Dutch laws/insurances. Therefore, in other countries this information could not be applicable.
Work & Income
Many people with CML are unable to work, temporarily or for a longer time. Because of everything that is happening to you, and all the things going through your head, you may temporarily have no interest in your work. In many cases, the symptoms - especially fatigue – may force you to reduce your workload. Whether you work or not, many questions and uncertainties about work and income may arise. You could, for instance, wonder whether your work still suits your current situation? What are the options and what are your rights?
In the event of full or partial absenteeism, the Absenteeism Reduction Act (‘Wet Verbetering Poortwachter') is applicable. Establishing and maintaining good contact with the company physician and the employer is important for the reintegration process later on. It is wise to involve them at an early stage and inform them about your situation. Below are some important things to know and do.
Extensive information on the CMyLife forum
In addition to this page, the CMyLife forum deals extensively with the topic of work and illness. Experienced expert and ‘Cancer and Work’ coach Cor Schenkenberg explains the following topics in detail.
- Where do you get the necessary information when you are on sickness law?
- Absenteeism Reduction Act (‘Wet Verbetering Poortwachter')
- Step by step explanation of the entire work and reintegration process (working with CML)
- Sick Leave Benefits
- The company physician
- The Wajong Disablement Assistance (Young Persons) Act
- Covenant Cancer and Work
- Benefits as an independent contractor
- Back to work
- The employer
- Useful websites
- Useful books and brochures
Absenteeism Reduction Act (‘Wet Verbetering Poortwachter')
In the case of absenteeism, the Absenteeism Reduction Act (‘Wet Verbetering Poortwachter') comes into effect. This law describes some obligations for you as an employee and for your employer. It is important to know, for example, that when your absenteeism continues for six weeks, a problem analysis must be performed. This problem analysis is drawn up after you have had one or more interviews with the company physician or the occupational health and safety service. During these conversations, they will assess what activities you can and cannot do because of your illness and what is needed to get back to work as quickly as possible. This problem analysis is a mandatory legal provision. You can find more information about this on the website of the Dutch Central Government. The UWV website contains a step-by-step plan in the event of illness, and an explanation of the Absenteeism Reduction Act, detailing what needs to be done when, and who needs to do what.
Contact company physician
Establishing and maintaining good contact with the company physician and the employer is important for the reintegration process. It is therefore wise to involve them at an early stage and inform them about your treatment. As a patient, it is okay to ask for a company physician who has had experience in dealing with cancer patients. An average company physician sees three to ten new cancer patients per year. It is therefore quite difficult for a company physician to build up expertise and experience. The BACOs (company physician advisors on oncology) are there to support you and the company physician. These are company physicians who specialize in counseling people with cancer.
People sometimes wonder whether a company physician is impartial and bound by professional confidentiality. A company physician looks at the interests of both employer and employee. Company physicians still have a duty of confidentiality, just like all other physicians.
No company physician? Or do you need a second opinion?
If you don't have a company physician, like most freelancers or some small companies, you can turn to a clinical occupational physician. This is an independent occupational physician who can advise you and assist you with your return to work. Even if your employer has a company physician, you can request a second opinion from an independent occupational physician. You can always ask questions about this on this forum.
Contact with employer, supervisor, and colleagues
If you have to take sick leave, keeping in touch with your colleagues is a good way to stay involved. You give your colleagues the opportunity to keep track of what is happening to you, which also enables them to be more understanding about your situation. And you will be kept informed (to some degree) about the events at work. Keeping in touch with your employer, supervisor and colleagues also makes it easier to get back to work. They may sometimes not know very well how and if they should react to your illness. This happens much less if you stay in touch with your colleagues while you are absent. Do you want to know how other people deal with this? Ask about it on the CMyLife forum.
Source: UWV, Central government & AYA