Giving up work to care

  • 2 replies
  • 5 subscribers

My husband has fought against cancer for over 2yrs, unfortunately he now has secondary brain tumours, he has just been discharged from hospital following neutropenic sepsis and pneumonia. At the moment he needs 24hr care as he's very muddled. I want to give up full-time work to care for him. Will I be able to claim anything to support us financially or will I penalised as I am leaving a job voluntary. 

  • Hello  ,

    I'm Su from the Community team at Macmillan, thank you for posting a question in Ask an Expert. I'm just posting on behalf of our Work Support team to let you know that they will respond to your question as soon as possible. Our team are quite busy at the moment. 

    In the meantime please remember we also have lots of information, support and guidance on Macmillan's website about work. You can also reach our Work Support team and other teams on Macmillan's Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. Our work support advisers are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

    As I mentioned, our Work Support team will respond as soon as they can. If you need any further help from the Community team on accessing support through Macmillan's Online Community, you can contact us over email to

    Best wishes,

    Online Community Team Leader

  • Hi Harvey28

    Thank you for posting your question in our online community site. My name is Linda and I am one of the Work Support Advisers on our Support Line. I can advise on your rights at work if you or someone else has a Cancer diagnosis.

    I am sorry to hear about your husband’s secondary brain tumours. I hope he is being well supported by his medical team.

    As your husband’s carer you have some protection from disability discrimination by association under the Equality Act 2010. This legislation protects your husband in the first instance as his cancer diagnosis automatically classes as a disability which is a ‘protected characteristic’ under this act. This means that you should not be treated at a disadvantage because you are caring for your husband. This being said, an employer is still allowed to follow their own policies . I have attached a copy of our booklet ‘Working while Caring for Someone with Cancer’ which explains your rights in more detail.

    I would advise you not to be too hasty and resign from your job but to check if your Employer has a Carers Policy in place to support you. Could you possibly request a Career Break from work to allow you to dedicate your time to your husband and his care ? I would advise that if this was a consideration for you to have all the terms and conditions confirmed in writing such as your job role, length of service, working hours etc.

    You mention giving up full time work. Would you be able to manage part time work or working from home to help you manage your husband’s care ? Your Employer may be able to offer some sort of  Flexible Working arrangement. Do you have any additional support at home with caring responsibilities to help you ?

    For detailed information about how you claim any benefits or financial support I suggest that you speak to our welfare rights team on the Macmillan support line. Unfortunately they are not represented in our Online Community.

    They are open seven days a week on 0808 808 0000 ( option 1, option 2, option 2 )

    I do hope this information has been helpful. Please do not hesitate to get back in touch 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