If you struggle frequently with migraines, suffer from an autoimmune disease or another chronic illness or impairment, you may be absent from work due to illness more often than others. Or you may have the same job performance as others, but find it much harder to perform at the same level or work under the same conditions. Or maybe you are not aware that you have a chronic illness or what is considered a “chronic illness”? Perhaps you are worried about what colleagues and superiors might think and whether your health impairment has negative consequences for your work activity.

MLU positions itself as an employer that can and wants to adapt to individual concerns. In this article, we want which services are offered by MLU and how MLU can support you. The article is intended to support you in making an informed decision as to whether you would like to disclose your health impairment to your employer and to show you where suitable contact persons and consulting partners are available.

Making a good decision

A project group at the University of Cologne has developed a self-test to help you to make a decision on the above mentioned topic (so far only in German). In the self-test, you will be asked, for example, what effects your health impairment has on you and what kind of tools could help you. You are asked to what extent you can expect support from colleagues and what kind of risk type you are. At the end, you will get an individual evaluation. This evaluation does not relieve you from the decision whether you want to disclose your health impairment. But it will give you some information about the advantages and disadvantages of disclosure in your particular case. You will be the only person who will receive the evaluation! The MLU will not know anything about your participation in the test or even the results.

On the respecitve website, you will find the self-test, more information on the topic, your rights, and your options for dealing with this issue. The following video introduces the website to you. The self-test is free of charge and takes about 20-30 minutes.

How can MLU support me?

Feel free to contact us – we will adapt to your individual needs. Similar to occupational integration management, there are options to make it easier for you to perform your job despite your health impairment. Such measures can also ensure that your health is not further deteriorated by working conditions.

These can be the following types of measures, for example:

  • Workplace adaptations: Perhaps you need a different table, a different chair, a different PC mouse or other adaptations – up to structural measures – in order to be able to work less impaired.
  • Working time adjustments in the sense of an individual working time model; the MLU can also, e.g., enable visits to specialists during working hours.
  • Individual home office arrangements
  • Extension of fixed-term contracts for personal qualification in the field of science.

Depending on how severe your impairment is, e.g., if you have official recognition as “severely disabled” or “equal”, you may also be eligible for other support measures such as additional leave or assistance benefits.

Every case is different. That is why a consultation is so important in order to identify together your individual needs and to initiate appropriate measures.

Who can advise me on this topic at the MLU?

If you have made the decision to disclose your health impairment to your employer at MLU or if you need more information to make this decision, you have various contacts at MLU. It is best to decide with whom you find it easiest to talk about your concerns and your health. You do not have to tell anyone your diagnosis. It is enough if you can describe the effects. It is up to you how open you want to be.

One possible contact person is your supervisor. If you have a good basis of trust in the team, this is definitely a good opportunity to talk about your concerns. Your supervisor can then contact the personnel department for further steps.

You can also approach the personnel department directly. The best way to do this is to speak to the head of unit responsible for your area.

You also have the option of seeking advice on this topic from the representative council of employees with disabilities, the company medical service or the social and conflict counselling. The staff committee and last but not least the Occupational Health Management coordinator are also available to answer your questions and provide advice.

Your health is important to MLU. We are happy to support you.

Do I say it or not? – Chronically sick at work

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