Finishing work

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Hello. I was diagnosed with non Hodgkin's lymphoma 2 1/2years ago. I had chemo and developed neutropenic sepsis at the end of the cycle. I went straight from hospital into shielding. Royal mail offered me I'll health retirement at this time but I felt I should wait and see how I cope. 

I am now at a point where I feel the job is getting too much for me.(postman) I am walking 10-12 miles a day. My knees are painful when I walk and I have several lumps back around my head, neck and shoulders. (My specialist knows about these and monitor my blood tests every 4 months.

Can I ask for ill health retirement or would I have to go off work and wait to see if they offer it to me? I am due to have blood tests and the specialist will ring me with the results next week.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Regards Dave

  • Hello

    Thank you for your question. My name is Polly and I am a work support advisor with the Macmillan support line. I am sorry to hear about your health problems and the impact they are having on your ability to do your job.

    You have two options when you are struggling to do your job.

    1. Request reasonable adjustments. If you have a disadvantage related to your cancer that impacts on your work, then the employer is under a legal obligation to help you. This is because cancer is a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (if you live in Northern Ireland). These acts require the employer to make reasonable adjustments to help you manage your health, for example they could provide you with an easier postal round or they could give you some duties in the sorting office. Are there opportunities for you to use a vehicle to deliver the mail? To support your request your GP may write you a fit note that confirms you can do some work and can advise the employer that you need office-based duties or the need for aids. Please see the ACAS Website and our booklet “Your rights at work when you are affected by cancer” for more information. 
    2. Using sick leave. Your return to work has impacted your health so your GP or your health team in the hospital may sign you off and give you a fit note that says that you cannot work. Where work is having an impact on your health then your GP may advise you to refrain from it and rest. It would be in your interests to follow this advice.

    If you are not well enough to do your job then the employer can dismiss you for health reasons. As part of this process many employers will consider ill health retirement particularly if you have a final salary pension scheme.

    We suggest that you do not feel pressure to resign until you understand the complexities of the post office pension and have a look at potential employee benefits such as a death in service payment to your dependants. If you are thinking about accessing your pension early because of your ill health, then you need to speak to our financial guides who can tell you about your options in relation to your pension and accessing it before your retirement date.

    Financial guidance service is available Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on 0808 808 0000.

    Here is a link to our booklet “Help with the cost of cancer”  It is also important to think about what benefits are available to you  and whether you can access this support if you are too ill to work. The welfare rights team on the Macmillan support line can help you with this.  


    Work Support Advisor
    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email
  • Thanks for the info. I will talk with my haematologist and have a look at my options.