Phase return

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Hello there. I'm just inquiring  if the way I'm being treated at work is fare .... I work for the local council.  I'd I've just returned  to work after 7 months after  a neck dissection  and partial laryngectomy.   They tried to get me back to my original position  but that is way too much for me as I have restricted breathing . They've put me in street cleansing litter picking  they could have have me a driving job but decided  not to.  They're also talking about a salary reduction. They gave me a phase return  of 7.30 till 12.00  today  7.30 till 3.30 Thursday and 7.30 till 1 Friday  I'm disgusted at this as most coming back from ill health get 1 day a week then 2 days then 3 then 4 then back full time  does this sound reasonable  to you . Tia

  • Hello Barneyboy

    Thank you for getting in touch with us again for further support. My name is Linda and I am a Work Support Adviser at Macmillan.

    I am pleased to hear that you have returned to work now although I appreciate that you still need support at work. We have previously advised you on your Rights at Work.

    Your employer is duty-bound to make reasonable adjustments to support you either to remain at work or to return to work if you have had a period of absence.  This protection is lifelong and does not depend upon an active cancer diagnosis.  Reasonable Adjustments may be a phased return to work, lighter duties or any other adjustment you feel will support you to allow you to remain in work. I wondered if you requested a driving job as a reasonable adjustment and this was refused by your Employer ? If so, they must explain to you why they consider your request unreasonable.  Reasonable Adjustments are temporary measures and should be reviewed regularly to see how you are coping. They do not change your original contract of employment.

    Did your Employer refer you to Occupational Health for a medical assessment prior to your return to work? If not, you can request for this to be done. A referral to Occupational Health is considered to be good employment practice. You will be assessed by a medical professional who can make recommendations for your Employer to implement as reasonable adjustments to support you at work. Both yourself and your Employer will receive a copy of the report produced. Your GP can also support you by issuing you with a Fit Note to confirm you are considered fit for work provided you have a phased return in place and to list what they consider appropriate.

    If you feel the phased return period is not long sufficient, you should speak to your Manager and explain this and ask for a longer phased return to work. A reasonable Adjustment can only be refused by an Employer if they can explain to you why they consider your request to be unreasonable. You mention that other colleagues are given a longer phased return to work than you have been given. The Equality Act 2010 does give you lifelong protection from Disability Discrimination. Your Employer may not treat you less favourably than any other colleagues due to your Cancer.

    You mention that there is a possibility of a salary reduction. When you are on a phased return to work your Employer is only obliged to pay you for the hours that you work unless your Employment Contract states differently. The terms and conditions of your contract remains unchanged and you would normally return to your original duties and contracted hours after an agreed period of time. However, sometimes this is not possible due to an employees health. A reasonable adjustment can be agreed for a period of time but there may come a point where it is no longer reasonable particularly if there is a cost to the employer. The employer needs to weigh this up taking into account all the circumstances and give you sound business reasons as to why the pay adjustment is no longer reasonable. Your Employer would need to consult with you prior to any changes to your Employment contract and you both agree on these.

    You will have accrued annual leave whilst on sick leave and so can use this to increase your pay during a phased return, You can carry over 20 days of unused annual leave to be used within 18 months of returning to work.

    I have provided more information on changes to employment contracts in the link below :,behalf%20of%20employees%20and%20workers

    I hope this information has been helpful to you but please get back in touch with us if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards


    Work Support Adviser

    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