Work enquiry

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Hi I’m Evelyn and my husband has stage4 cancer , he’s 79. 
im younger and I work 30 hours per week. He’s due to go for radiotherapy in a few weeks and I want to be there to care for him. What are my rights as a caregiver. I worry a lot. I don’t want to give up my job. If I go on the sick can I claim carers allowance.



  • Hi Evy

    Thank you for contacting us through our online community forum. My name is Linda, I am a work support adviser on the Macmillan support line. I can advise on your rights at work if you or someone else has been diagnosed with Cancer.

    Your employment rights related to caring responsibilities depend on your length of service and whether your employer has a time off policy for those with caring responsibilities. It is important to check this.

    It is important to check what your company sickness and absence policy stated. Any long term sickness absence  can escalate the triggers on the sickness absence policy. This can be risky because you could be disciplined or potentially dismissed from work. 

    I suggest:

    1. Think about if there is any work that you can do in between your husband’s treatment.  Perhaps the GP can give you a fit note that says reduced hours? This fit note will help you request a temporary reduction in hours and can include suggestions like “work from home” if this is option.
    2. Cancer is a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 if you live in Northern Ireland. You are protected from discrimination because you are associated with a cancer patient. The employer should not discriminate against you because of your caring responsibilities. Please see Working Families
    3. All employees have the right to request flexible working provided they have six-month service with the employer. This is not ideal for many carers because it can lead to a permanent change in your contract and a request can be rejected for business reasons.
    4. If you must take time off for a dependent in the emergency, you should not suffer any detriments or be disciplined for taking this time however you are not legally entitled to be paid. Some employers have compassionate leave policies that cover these circumstances. Please see Carers UK

    Finally, your question regarding Carers Allowance would be best answered by our Welfare Rights Team as the are trained in providing Benefit Advice . They are not currently represented on our Ask an Expert page.

    For detailed information about how you can be assessed for this benefit and the amounts I suggest that you speak to our welfare rights team on the Macmillan support line.

    They are open seven days a week on 0808 808 0000 . Please press option 1 , option 2 and option 2.

    I hope you have found this information helpful but please do not hesitate to get back in touch with us if you need additional support.

    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