SSP and asking to return to work

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Hi,  My husband was put straight on SSP, not sure if this was even correct?

He asked to return to return to work after the consultant said he could. This was in May and he is still waiting to hear from them. They initially said he would have to have an appointment with Occupational Health. All they have done is send him for an hearing test, no idea why. His cancer was in his tonsil, feels like it's stalling again. That was a week ago and again nothing more, he is going to have to chase them once again. 

Please can you advise if there is anything he can do? 

It's very hard on his mental health worrying about his job now and the loss of earnings. Jason's treatment finished in February and he feels he is no further forward with returning to work. 

Thank you

Kind regards


  • Dear Pacey

    Thank you for contacting us here at Macmillan.  My name is Linda and I am a Work Support Advisor on Macmillan’s National Support Line.  My team provides guidance on your rights at work if you or someone else is affected by cancer.

    I am sorry to hear about your Husband’s Cancer diagnosis. I am glad that he has recovered and feels ready to return to work.

    In case you are not aware, as your Husband has a cancer diagnosis, he is considered to have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland). This means his employer should not discriminate against him because of his cancer. His employer is also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help him at work. This protection is lifelong and does not depend on an active cancer diagnosis.

    I have attached a link our booklet “Your Rights at Work’”, which explains more about the Equality Act and how he is protected in the workplace. 

    Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people are not disadvantaged in the workplace. They should also make sure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage.

     An example of a Reasonable Adjustment may be returning to work on reduced working hours, amended duties or regular rest breaks if needed.

    Sick Pay :

    With regards to payment of Sick Pay, this does depend on an individual company policy and I would advise that you check your husband’s employment contract or company sick policy for details of what they offer. There is no obligation on an Employer to pay more than Statutory Sick Pay ( SSP ) unless their policy states differently.

    Returning to Work:

    If an employee is ready to return to work and the employer is preventing this, it is worth asking if the employer is going to suspend the person pending a medical investigation. The medical suspension can be on full pay. The employer may then take medical advice from Occupational Health or a GP (with the employees permission) to access medical records. If the Fit note states that someone is fit to work with adjustments and the employer does not make these the ‘May be fit to work’ note can revert to the ‘Not fit to work’ note. If the employee feels that the decision is unreasonable, a grievance could be raised, as a failure to provide reasonable adjustments to assist a disabled employee to return to work could be classed as discrimination.

    Further information on grievance procedures can be found on the Citizens Advice and ACAS websites – as shown below:

    CAB raising a grievance at work

    ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance-procedures


    Occupational Health :

    An occupational health assessment may be useful. They can discuss and report when an employee has been on long term sick, particularly if they are about to return to work or if they are on ‘phased return’. Advice from occupational health should help an employer understand whether any reasonable adjustments should or could be made to support someone in their return to work. I would suggest that you question what the delay is regarding an appointment with Occupational Health .

    Here is a link to the NHS website that explains their work:


    I hope this information has been helpful but please do not hesitate to get back in touch with us if you have any further concerns.

    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