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Supporting self-employed cancer survivors to continue working: Experiences of social welfare counsellors and survivors

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Linda Sharp



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Few studies have investigated the support needed or received by self-employed cancer survivors to continue working. In Norway, the Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) is responsible for supporting people both practically and financially to continue or return to work following ill health. Social welfare counsellors (NAV counsellors) are responsible for guiding workers in their effort to return to work. This study aimed to investigate NAV counsellors’ experiences of supporting self-employed cancer survivors. We also report how self-employed people experienced the support they received from NAV during and after cancer treatment. We conducted individual in-depth interviews among seven self-employed cancer survivors and seven NAV counsellors with experience in supporting self-employed cancer survivors. The survivors experienced NAV as largely absent and considered that the support offered was not very useful. The NAV counsellors stated that self-employed workers are in a difficult situation and that regulations and means of support were primarily designed to fit salaried workers. While they felt they were supposed to function as an “employer” for the self-employed, they found this difficult because of lack of time, expertise and means for supporting self-employed. These findings suggest that the social welfare system in Norway is not adapted to support sick self-employed people appropriately.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Torp S, Brusletto B, Nygaard B, Withbro TB, Sharp L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Year: 2021

Volume: 18

Issue: 8

Online publication date: 15/04/2021

Acceptance date: 03/04/2021

Date deposited: 26/04/2021

ISSN (print): 1661-7827

ISSN (electronic): 1660-4601

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18084164


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