No support from employer

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i have been off work since the 28th August, I am post op after having surgery for bowel cancer.

I have only had a couple of wts app messages from my manager, I am assuming this is not normal practice?

I have worked for the NHS for the past 14 years, I feel the lack of support is very disappointing & as a manager where is the duty of care?

I feel I should raise a grievance, although I don’t want to cause myself to become anxious, I just wanted some support.

Apooigies for off loading!

  • Hello  

    Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear about your worries about work.

    My name is Polly, and I am a Work Support Adviser on the Macmillan support line. We give advice about employment problems, and we are available on the Macmillan support line if you need to talk.


    The difficulty when someone is off sick is getting the balance right.


    Some managers will follow the sickness absence policy meticulously and ring the employee every  one or two weeks. Some patients find this difficult to cope with because there is nothing they can update them with apart from feeling ill while they are immersed in the cycle of treatment. These patients want some control over when and how contact is made, and this is a good conversation to have with a manager who is following the rules. Cancer is a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 if you live in Northern Ireland. This means the employer cannot discriminate against you and must make reasonable adjustments to help you overcome your disadvantages related to your cancer


    Other managers will never lift the phone or send a card. This can be just as disconcerting.


    Some patients want to feel that their colleagues are thinking about them, and they love to receive a card with get well wishes and a bouquet of flowers. If this is what you do when colleagues are on sick leave, then this is something that you can say to your manager.


    WhatsApp is a line of communication that is common in the workplace these days. Your manager might not realise that this is hurtful, but they are showing they are thinking about you. I suggest that you ask them to ring you and, in this call, come to some agreement about how contact is handled.


    What is good practice?


    1. Contact that is regular and is agreed between manager and employee.
    2. This contact should not be just focused on “When are you coming back?” but it should be about what's happening in the workplace and whether there is anything to update. The manager should be able to offer an empathetic ear to the employee.
    3. There is no harm in sending a get well soon card, but flowers might be a problem due do suppressed immunity.

    Please have a look at our  booklet “Questions to ask about work and cancer”


    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