37 million Americans have kidney disease, and millions more are at risk. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) significantly impacts the workforce, with some employees unable to manage full-time roles due to their condition.
Maintaining employment is crucial for the 53% of working-age individuals with CKD, ensuring access to preventive care that can delay or prevent kidney failure. This blog explores the implications of CKD in the workplace and how employers can support their employees.
How CKD Affects Employees
Employees with mild or moderate CKD (stages 1-3) often have few symptoms and may feel well enough to work full-time. As CKD advances, employees are more likely to experience pain – even while being treated – and may need time off for dialysis and healthcare visits. Some employees with advanced CKD may be unable to work at all.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” to enable employees to work if the company has 15 or more employees. These accommodations may include making facilities accessible, offering flexible work schedules, and reassigning tasks to other employees to adapt to the employee’s specific needs.
How CKD Impacts Employers
Chronic kidney disease doesn’t just affect employees; it also has significant implications for employers. Between 2006 and 2014, 68,341 people with CKD lost their jobs within 6 months of developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
However, retaining employees with CKD offsets the high costs of hiring and training new workers, especially since many of them may also have a chronic condition – as half of all Americans do. Continued employment of people with CKD helps employers maintain a skilled workforce while also improving their employees’ health and quality of life.
How Employers Can Help
Supporting employees with CKD goes beyond providing accommodations. Employers can play a proactive role in early detection and prevention. Educating employees about the risk factors of CKD not only increases awareness but also helps prevent the high costs associated with advanced CKD.
Moreover, treating CKD as soon as possible can help make it manageable and may prevent ESRD. Employers should have open discussions with their employees who have CKD to explore accommodations that will improve their working lives while contributing to a healthier workforce.
Chronic kidney disease significantly impacts the workforce, with varying effects on employees’ ability to work. Employers can play a pivotal role in supporting employees with CKD, contributing to a healthier workforce and quality of life while mitigating the costs of hiring and training new workers. Early detection, prevention and increasing awareness of CKD are vital steps in managing CKD in the workplace.