Labor union concerned about sick employees unable to reintegrate during pandemic
Thousands of employees on long-term sick leave are having trouble rejoining their workplaces during the pandemic, according to labor union CNV. As a consequence, thousands of people who spent more than two years on leave will suffer major financial difficulties when their paid leave gets cut by 30 percent, the union said.
“Coronavirus makes it so they cannot reintegrate,” said CNV chair Piet Fortuinin a press release. Strict coronavirus measures take away the opportunity to reintegrate employees to the work environment. “This is distressing, especially because it is a group that is already in a tough situation”, Fortuin said.
In addition, many hospitals are now postponing medical treatments and surgeries which can help people get back to work more quickly. Procedures, such as back surgery, are often necessary for employees to return to work, the union emphasized.
The union wants the government to subsidize employers to continue paying employees 100 percent of their wages during sick leave beyond the two-year period. “Both employers and employees cannot change this situation,” Fortuin said. “In the assessment that every sick employee receives after two years on sick leave, the UWV must include ‘coronavirus delay’ as a standard”, Fortuin said.
Continuing the payment of salaries also has the advantage that people with a long-term illness are able to reintegrate at their previous place of employment. This will prevent thousands of people from having to claim unemployment benefits at a higher social cost, the CNV claimed.
The extension of a few months will make a large difference, according to the CNV, given that the Covid-19 vaccination program is well underway, the union argued.