My partner's work

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Hello, we're currently waiting for results for me, and I'm worried about what my partner can do or ask for if he has to take time off if I have surgery or treatment. He works nights and hasn't been there long I think he gets sick pay but don't know for how long. So I guess reduced pay will be a potential worry too. Can you help with some information or tips?

  • Hello Squashable

    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 advice on your rights at work if you are affected by cancer.

    I am sorry to hear you are awaiting results and appreciate it must be a worrying time for you both. It is not clear from your message if you have a Cancer diagnosis as yet or possibly this is what the test results will confirm ?

    If you have a Cancer diagnosis you are protected from disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, if you live in England, Scotland or Wales or Disability Discrimination Act 1995, if you live in Northern Ireland, but also protects carers from discrimination by association with the cancer patient. This means that an Employer may not discriminate against them due to their Caring responsibilities for you.

    Your husband can ask his Employer if they have a Carers Policy in place and if so, ask for a copy of it.

    Some options could be:

    Carers leave – paid or unpaid, compassionate leave, borrowing holiday days from the next year or buying additional days, careers breaks and sabbaticals.

    As there are no laws covering taking a career break, it is advisable to have the agreement in writing. An employer may have career breaks included in their policy. It is important to check that the person can return to the same role and whether the pay and conditions remain the same and whether the length of service is not broken. Also, as to whether there is any payment during the absence. Acas has further information about this on the link below:

    ACAS career breaks

    Flexible working

    There is a statutory right to formally request flexible working after 26 weeks continuous service. The process is to request once in a 12 month period. An employer must consider the request in a fair way and they may have a specific form to complete. If the employer does not agree with the request there should be an opportunity to appeal or to take the complaint further. However, there is no right to flexible working and it can be rejected for business reasons. When an employer agrees to the request the terms and conditions of the employment should be changed. A successful request can lead to a permanent change in his contract so rather than making a formal request it may be appropriate to ask for a temporary reduction in hours or to use a Fit Note from health professional.

    Time off in an Emergency

    Employees have a legal right to take a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with an emergency for the person cared for. This would not normally apply to planned hospital appointments. An employer has no obligation to pay an employee for time off unless stated in the employment contract.


    Sick Pay :

    Any entitlement to sick pay will depend on the Employer. There is no obligation to be paid more that Statutory Sick Pay ( SSP ) unless the employment contract or company policy states differently. It would be advisable for your husband to check this with his Employer.

    We have a team of Welfare Rights Advisers here at Macmillan who can complete a full Benefit Check for you.

    They can be contacted between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am until 5pm Saturday and Sunday on 0808 808 0000, options 1, 2 and 2; via email or using our webchat service.


     I do hope this has answered your concerns but please do not hesitate to get back in touch if you have any further questions.


    Kind Regards


    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

  • Hello Linda

    Thanks so much for your reply, the information is really helpful. Just to clarify I'm waiting for biopsy and scan results and hope to get them next week. Then I think we'll know more about what's ahead and what it might mean for work for both of us. Thankfully my employer pays sick pay as full pay for six months. Once we know a bit more then my fiancé can speak to his employer to find out what can be arranged. I suppose like anyone I'm concerned about our income being reduced but still with all the bills to pay.