Semi retired

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  • My dad has recently been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and is due to start chemo in the next few weeks. He is semi-retired (68) working 2 days a week - I was just wondering what are his rights regarding work? Is he still entitled to sick pay? He really enjoys still working but he seems to think he will have to give it up.
  • Hello

    Thank you for your question. My name is Polly and I am a work support advisor on the Macmillan support line. I am so sorry to hear about your father’s diagnosis.

    Entitlement to sick pay from work depends on two factors:

    1. Does the employer have a sick pay policy? Some employers are very generous and will pay full pay for six months and half pay for six months. Entitlement to this employee benefit is not dependent on age but on employment status and what is written in the contract or sick pay policy.
    2. If the employer does not have a sick pay policy, then sick pay entitlement will default to the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) scheme. To qualify for SSP the employee will need to earn on average £123 per week and have been on sick leave for four days in a row. Please see the Gov UK website for further information. Entitlement to SSP is not dependent on age but on the cancer patient’s status as a worker/employee.

    What is common to both these schemes is the importance of providing the employer with a fit note from the GP or the health team that confirms he is not well enough to work.

    The default retirement age was abolished some years ago so employees who reach retirement age can continue working. Their employment rights and the contractual benefits do not disappear because of the employee’s age or part time status.

    We suggest that cancer patients do not resign at an early stage in their treatment because once they have finished, they may want to go back to work and resume their normal activities. Returning to work is like a return to normality. Resignation ends rights to sick pay and the right to go back to work. In addition, the employer may have additional benefits such as a death in service payment which can be paid to dependents if the employee dies. Please check whether this employer has such a benefit and if your father could qualify for it.

    Cancer patients have additional employment rights because they have a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010 (or the disability Discrimination Act 1995 if they live in Northern Ireland)

    This means the employee is protected from disability discrimination and once they are well enough to go back to work the employer must make reasonable adjustments to help them overcome any substantial disadvantage related to the cancer diagnosis. Please have a look at our booklet “Your rights at work when you're affected by cancer “

    If you or your father want to talk over options related to work, please give us a ring on our free phone number 0808 808 0000. We have a range of services on the support line including benefit advisors and financial guides who can talk over financial and estate planning questions.


    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