Return to work

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Hi, I have just this week returned to work on a phased return. Occupational health suggested 8 weeks as I’ve been off a while. I have been open and honest with my employer about the fact I will never imo be full time again (40 hours) and am looking at more like 20-25 hours and having a better work life balance. They are not listening at all to this and are factoring me in as full time in a months time: Do they have to? Especially when my requests are reasonable and basically just shorter days/ mornings because of the cancer related fatigue I get in the afternoons, I’m actually trying to not let them down as I know I won’t be able to work full days at the moment or maybe ever again. Many thanks for any help on this

  • #FrankieB23

    Hello Frankie

    Thanks for your message. My name is Stacey, and I am an adviser in the Work Support team.

    It is usual to have a phased return after long term sickness absence and if you have had cancer treatment you have some protection under the Equality Act 2010 (DDA act 1995 in Northern Ireland) in that your employer has a duty to provide reasonable adjustments to help you return to work. The adjustments should remain in place for a long as needed. Occupational Health had recommended 8 weeks, however if you would struggle to work full time at the end of this time period you could request another referral to Occupational Health to extend the phased return or you could also get a Fit Note from your GP to say that Frankie is able to work but with the following adjustments….

    Here is a link to the ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation, Arbitration Service) and website that provides more information about an employer’s duty to provide those adjustments.


    If you are requesting a change in contract the employer can see this as a request for flexible working.

    If you have worked for an employer for more than 26 weeks and are an employee you are entitled to make 1 formal request in a 12 month period. However, the request is not as strong in entitlement as a request for reasonable adjustments due to your disability.  It can be rejected by an employer for business reasons. You can appeal against the decision, but it can depend upon whether your employer has the capacity at the time for a part time post. Here is further information about flexible working:

    If you work for a larger employer, would it be possible to be redeployed into another post where less hours are involved?


    Do you have access to a trade union or workplace representative that could support you?


    Here is a link to our booklet about your rights at work with a cancer diagnosis which you may find useful: Your Rights at Work


    If you would like to discuss your situation further with us Frankie you can reply to this post, or you can contact us by phone on the Macmillan Support Line.  Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) taking the extension for our Work Support team or contact us by email


    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.