Cancer patients: “Agile work as a fundamental resource, integrate legislation”

Agile work is a reality that has emerged strongly in times of pandemics and is destined to represent an important resource even in the post-Covid era, especially for some categories of fragile workers, such as patients with cancer. There are 377,000 new cancer diagnoses in Italy in 2020 and almost 4 million Italians living with a cancer diagnosis, tens of thousands in treatment: mortality rates are reduced and survival is lengthened, but often for patients and for their caregivers find it difficult to reconcile professional and working life with the disease, marked by continuous visits to the hospital for examinations, visits, medical and rehabilitation therapies. The needs and requests of oncological and oncohematological patients in terms of agile work – reports a note – were collected during a recent national online consultation promoted by the Group of 39 patient associations “Health: an asset to defend, a right to promote ”, which felt the need to intervene on the very topical issue of agile work to ensure greater protection for workers living with a tumor. Today these requests are brought to the scrutiny of the policy by the Group. “Attention to the most fragile workers suffering from cancer and subject to long periods of surgical and medical care, as well as rehabilitation, is an absolute priority of our Group – declares Annamaria Mancuso, President of Salute Donna Onlus and Coordinator of the Group ‘Health: an asset to defend, a right to promote’ – protection in the workplace and the possibility of preserving it in ways that allow for the combination of production needs and care needs is a topic that is very close to our heart and that cannot be ignored from a post-Covid perspective “. “The online consultation promoted by the Group – continues Mancuso – confirmed that the most fragile workers consider agile work an important opportunity and highlighted the possible interventions that could favor a new, adequate and trained way of working. a tumor signal that agile work has advantages from a productive, clinical, psychological and private life point of view: for a person facing a tumor it is essential to continue to feel socially useful and to be able to maintain one’s activities as much as possible and their role. Now we are preparing for the meeting and discussion with the Institutions to request an integration of the discipline that regulates agile work. We hope to intercept the sensitivity of politicians on this delicate issue so that a path of sharing and agreement between the Government, Parliament and patient associations “, he concludes. “We can work in an agile and good way – says Tiziana Nisini, Undersecretary of Labor and Social Policies – However, it is necessary to regulate the matter in an organic way in order to avoid situations of conflict between workers and employers. oncology and oncohematology is extremely important precisely as a virtuous example of agile work. We have a duty to listen to the requests of patient associations and translate them into legislation that puts their needs first “. The social distancing measures introduced in response to the pandemic Covid-19 has forced many people to work from home. According to the latest Eurostat survey, in 2020 12.2% of Italians of productive age worked from home, a share that has remained constant at around 5% over the last ten years. Agile work, according to what was stated by law no.81 of 20 May 2017, had already been introduced by some companies and today this way of working is destined to grow. In fact, through some bills already filed with the Chambers, numerous initiatives are underway in Parliament to revise and complete the current regulatory framework. “All the bills foreshadow interventions of more or less thorough revision of the discipline on agile work in of its stabilization after the period of the pandemic emergency – explains Stefano Bellomo, full professor of Labor Law at Sapienza University of Rome – And all are characterized, albeit with different contents, by the intention of favoring this form of work particularly congenial to reconcile the needs of the company and the demands and needs of the most vulnerable workers. However, what is found in most of the bills is still a not entirely clear perception of the potential link between this legislative institution and the very particular and deserving situation specific attention from the legislator, both gods workers with cancer as well as the so-called caregivers, who take care of the patient “. “For this reason, thanks to the reports, indications and solicitations received from patients and their associations – he underlines – a legislative intervention scheme has been drawn up that devotes particular consideration to these workers. The salient points of this additional article are the following: the right to agile work for the worker with cancer and his caregiver for a period of approximately two years from diagnosis; the need for an individual agreement between the employer and the worker with cancer; the right to transfer the fragile worker to the office closer to the place of care or domicile which can also be extended to the caregiver; the obligation on the part of the employer to train and update fragile workers who carry out remote activities, guaranteeing them the protection of their professional assets in full equality and economic opportunity and career compared to those who work at headquarters “. Recently they were presented to the Chamber and to the Se born 5 Ddl transversal to parliamentary groups, united by the same objective: to strengthen the rights that protect the workplace, with particular reference to agile work and the right to disconnect. “Agile work is one of the central themes of post-pandemic labor law – says Sabrina Ricciardi, Senator of the 5 Star Movement and first signatory of the bill presented in the Senate to introduce the right to disconnect for Italian workers – I intend to commit myself so that the issues of agile work and the right to disconnect are at the center of a broad discussion that also takes into account the needs of some specific categories of workers such as oncology and oncohematology patients “.

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