I was diagnosed with lymphoma whilst with my current employer, I subsequently used my BUPA benefit provided by them.
My employer intends to stop the benefits provided, where do I stand as I am still on quarterly CAT scans and oncology specialist appointments?
Thank you for contacting us on the Work Support team we can advise you on your rights at work when you have a cancer diagnosis. I am sorry to hear that your employer is intending to stop the contractual benefits you currently have access to.
Perks such as private healthcare, company cars and suchlike are classed as contractual benefits and as such are not rights. This means that it is likely that the employer reserves the right to make changes to these as and when they see fit as long as this is detailed in your terms and conditions/employment contract.
It would be advisable to check any paperwork that is linked to your BUPA benefit to work out what discretion your employer has to remove that contractual benefit. If there is provision for the benefit to be withdrawn it may be beneficial to find any information about what circumstances under which this can be done and what process should be followed, for example notice needed.
It could also be helpful to ask your employer for written confirmation of why this benefit has been withdrawn. You may consider finding out if this change affects all employees in the same situation as you or whether it may be just you who is affected. This is important because as you have a cancer diagnosis you are considered to have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland). This means your employer should not discriminate against you because of your cancer. They should also make sure policies and practices do not put disabled people at a disadvantage or treat them less favourably either directly or indirectly.
I am not sure if you are aware but your employer is also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work. This protection is lifelong and does not depend on an active cancer diagnosis.
I have attached a link our booklet “Your Rights at Work”, which explains more about the Equality Act and how you are protected in the workplace.
If, upon asking further questions, you feel that you may be discriminated against it would be advisable to seek further advice. If you have a union rep you could discuss this with them. If you are not a member of a union you can contact us on the Work Support team by emailing us or by calling us on 0808 808 00 00 and selecting options 1, 2 then 3. We are here from Monday to Friday from 8am until 6pm.
It is worth checking whether your employer intends to withdraw the cover all together or whether the they are going to offer you a new provider. In either situation it may be advisable to speak to our Financial Guides on the Macmillan Support Line.
If you are interested in obtaining your own cover privately, they may be able to provide you with some further information. The Financial Guides work between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and can be reached on 0808 808 00 00 by choosing options 1, 2 then 1.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Thank you Sian. Have a great weekend.
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