Starting work after treatment.

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Hello, I’m in receipt of ESA and about to start a new job. I suffer with complications after treatment and want to stay working under 16 hours until I’m sure I’m able to work more. I’m finding it difficult to negotiate terms. Should I discuss this with them and explain why.

  • Hi Roseb

    Thank you for contacting Macmillan Cancer Support. My name is Linda and I am one of the Work Support Advisers on our National Support Line.

    I can advise on your Rights at Work if you or someone else has been affected by Cancer.

    If your question is about your Employment Support Allowance (ESA) you may find it helpful to speak to one on our Welfare Rights Advisers. They can complete a Benefit Check for you and advise you on any Benefit Entitlement and the criteria needed for any potential claims.
    Macmillan support line.

    They are open seven days a week on 0808 808 0000 ( option 1, option 2, option 2) Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am -5pm .


    As you have a Cancer Diagnosis , you have protection from disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 (or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 if you live in Northern Ireland).  Both Acts define cancer automatically as a disability, which means anyone diagnosed with cancer is considered to be disabled.  Under the Acts, providing your employer is aware of your diagnosis, you should not be discriminated against because of it. Your employer is duty-bound to make reasonable adjustments to support you at work if needed. Importantly, this protection is lifelong and does not depend upon an active cancer diagnosis.  

    Our publication “Your Rights At Work” explains more about the Acts and how you are protected in the workplace.

    It is not clear from your message how many hours you were contracted to work when you successfully secured the job role and if these hours could be negotiated. Do you feel that your circumstances have changed since accepting the job offer ? The new Employer may agree to negotiate reduced working hours for you but they may also have recruited for this position on an agreed number of hours as this is what the business needs and it may not be possible to change your hours in this case. I would suggest that you speak to them to agree the best way forward.


    I hope this information has been helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to come back to us or any of our teams 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