Conceptualizing Responsible Return to Work: Corporate Social Responsibility in Relation to Employee Return to Work after Cancer

Layla Branicki, Senia Kalfa, Stephen Brammer

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Demographic change, improvements in medical screening and treatment, evolving patterns of work, and eroding social security systems are contributing to greater numbers of seriously and chronically ill employees within the workforce. This study builds upon research in Corporate Social Responsibility and return to work (RTW) to conceptualize responsible return to work (RRTW). The study draws upon first-hand accounts of Australian women breast cancer survivors to inductively theorize the factors influencing RRTW practices. RTW practices that accommodate illness as required by law and regulation are found to be insufficient to meet employees’ needs and expectations and significant challenges for RTW are caused by this frame of reference and the distinction between medically certificated and non-medically certificated leave. Interactions between the economic case for creating mutual benefit through cooperation between employer and employee and the moral case for on-going tailored workplace adaptations as part of RRTW are critically evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Early online date16 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2020


  • Australia
  • cancer
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • return to work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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