* This blog was updated 15/12/2016
Each year, almost 132,000 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK will be in employment at the time they are diagnosed.
Whether you are an employee, carer, business or health professional, we can provide support and information about work and cancer. In this blog, editor Steven explains more about your rights at work when you have cancer.
Cancer can have a big impact on work. Our website has lots of information on work and cancer. Here you can find out about the laws in place to protect against discrimination, and get tips on dealing with cancer in the workplace. We also have a booklet Your rights at work when you're affected by cancer that has more information.
Cancer and the side effects of treatment can be intense. Some people may be able to continue working through treatment. Other people may have to stop. Taking time off work can leave you feeling angry, lonely and worried about your finances.
If you have cancer and are in paid employment, or you care for someone who has cancer, your employer should try to help and support you. Where reasonable, they should make changes to let you do your job during and after your cancer treatment. Legislation protects you from being treated unfairly at work because of cancer. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, the Equality Act 2010 protects you. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995, protects you if you live in Northern Ireland.
This legislation doesn’t just protect employees. It also protects job applicants and people who are self-employed. And it doesn’t end when your cancer treatment finishes. Your employer must not treat you less favourably for any reason related to cancer that you have had in the past.
Terry, 58, from Southport, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2010. After treatment he was dismissed from his job and successfully sued the company for unfair dismissal and discrimination.
Discrimination happens when an employee is treated less favourably than another person because of their disability. Discrimination can affect different aspects of employment, such as:
Under these acts, employers are requested to make reasonable adjustments to make it easier for an employee with a disability to work.
Discriminatory actions fall under three categories:
Legislation also protects employees from:
Under the acts, carers are also protected from direct discrimination and harassment.
In the below video, Helen talks about finding she had bowel cancer while in employment and how she discussed this with her employer. Stewarts Law, partner Tim Spillane, also explains how the law protects people in employment with cancer from discrimination.
If you have or have had cancer, you are protected by law from unfair treatment. Our free guide can help you understand more about your rights at work, what you can do if you are being discriminated against, and what support is available. We have information to help you talk to your employer about returning to or staying in work after cancer.
If you are worried about your finances, you may want to read our helpful booklets on topics such as the benefits you may be entitled to, other financial support and managing your finances.
The Macmillan website also has information if you are self-employed, an employer, run a small business or if you are a carer.
If you are an employer, you're likely to face managing employees affected by cancer in the workplace. Managers and colleagues might need supporting too. Macmillan at Work provides a range of expert training, consultancy options, and resources to help you, including an e-newsletter, and free work and cancer toolkit.
To see what else Macmillan's cancer information team has been blogging about, please visit our blog home page! You can subscribe to receive our blogs by email or RSS too.
We're with you every step of the way
The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.
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I would like to ask you for information. I have been diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018. I have turn back to work full time, without any support from the company, they didn't reduce my hours, and they pushed me to go back to my previous job, which includes lifting up heavy things and staying in cold store. I would like to ask you if I have to go to some appointments and I have to take few hours off of work do I have to give then back the hours, because they are asking me to do that. If I remember right somewhere here in Macmillan I have read that they can not stop me to go for my appointments and they can not ask me to give them back the hours off for the appointements, or is that only if I use the time just for treatments. Is that true ? How it is by the law? I just want to know, so I can go and argue with the HR ?
Apologies, but English is not my first language.
Thanks in advance for your help!
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