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Severely sick Italians fear job loss

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11:47 CET+01:00
Almost half the number of Italians suffering from severe illnesses prefer not to take time off work over fears they will lose their job, according to figures from the Associazioni dei malati cronici (association of the chronically sick).

The association said 49 percent prefer not to take time off work for treatment, while 43 percent are forced to hide their condition, according to a report on ArticoloTre. Meanwhile, another 43 percent are in jobs that could worsen their health condition.

A rise in the number of cases of unfair dismissal - or employers not renewing contracts - has stoked the fears. The report found that in cases of those trying to juggle the demands of work with treatment, 63 percent lost their jobs.

In another 41 percent of cases, family members were dismissed after taking time off to care for sick relatives. Sixty percent also reported difficulty in obtaining permission for paid leave.

In November, a man from Marcon, in the northern region of Veneto, was fired from his job as an electrician after taking too much time off for cancer treatment. READ MORE HERE. Italian man fired over cancer treatment.

Years of cutbacks in Italy’s national health service, the Ssn, have also worsened the situation: benefits are not enough to cover the direct and indirect cost of severe illness, and so people try to cling onto their jobs, the report said.

“We cannot accept that the Ssn will continue to be dismantled in order to make money, or even worse, that peoples’ health, work and social rights are being sold off,” Tonino Aceti, the national coordinator for the Tribunal of sickness rights, said. 

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