Hi. I submitted a 4 page report to my employer following notification from them that I would be put on half pay from 27th May asking if I could be considered to remain on full pay for a short time until my 1st follow up appointment on July 13th. I had a right hemi colectomy on 17th December 2021 following a colonoscopy/ diagnosis on 16th November 2021. Following the operation I had to wait over the Christmas period for the results  which revealed I had Stage 3 cancer however thankfully needed no further treatment…. They refused this. Physically I feel fine however I don’t feel mentally ready to return to work until after my follow up appointment having had such a shock with the findings at the colonoscopy ( 3cm bleeding tumour) and having had no symptoms it has been quite a whirlwind.! 
Would I be entitled to appeal this or does it depend on the company I work for ? … In my case I work for a Police Force.

Many Thanks.

  • Hi

    Thank you for contacting us here at Macmillan.  My name is Rachel and I am a Work Support Advisor on Macmillan’s National Support Line.

    I’m sorry to read that things have been difficult for you recently.  It sounds like your diagnosis and subsequent treatment came as quite a shock to you.  It is so important that you feel ready to return to work both mentally and physically and your healthcare team will be able to advise on this.   If you ever needed space to talk about how this period has affected you emotionally, our team of Information and Support Advisors would be glad to support you.  They are available on our Support Line every day of the year between 8am and 8pm on 0808 808 0000, options 1, then 1 again. 

    I’m glad that you have chosen to come and talk to us about your sick pay and I would like to provide you with some information which will help you plan your next steps.

    It will be very important for you to check your contract / policies on sickness absence (including pay), as what you will be paid depends upon this and your employer must follow it.  As an example, if your employment contract states that you should be paid 3 months’ full pay then 3 months’ half pay, then nothing, this is what your employer must pay you.

    Very occasionally employers pay more than is stated but they must not pay less.  If you have received your full entitlement of contractual sick pay, then any additional amounts paid would be at the discretion and goodwill of your employer.  There is no legal requirement for them to pay anything more than is stated in your contract. 

    I can see from your message that your employers have chosen not to pay any amount over and above the sick pay they are contractually obliged to pay you.   It may be possible to appeal this decision, but this may not be successful.  If you are in a union, you could ask for their support.

    If moving onto half pay causes you any financial worry, it would be worthwhile speaking to our team of Welfare Rights Advisors, who can explore any financial support which might be available to you. The team would be glad to help you but is not currently represented on the Ask an Expert forum and can be contacted on 0808 808 0000, options 1, 2 and 2.  They can also be contacted via LiveChat and by Email.  Their opening hours are 8am until 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am until 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

     It might also be useful for you to know that anyone who has a cancer diagnosis is automatically considered to be disabled under the Equality Act 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales, or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 for Northern Ireland. This means your employer should not discriminate against you because of your cancer. Your employer is also under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work and might be useful for you when planning your return to 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.  

    Reasonable adjustments remove or minimise disadvantages experienced by disabled people. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people are not disadvantaged in the workplace.

    You can request a reasonable adjustment in the workplace, providing you can relate it back to your cancer. Your employer has a duty to consider all reasonable adjustments and a failure to do so could suggest disability discrimination. If your employer rejects a reasonable adjustment request, they need to be able to demonstrate why it is “unreasonable” for them to accommodate or it could suggest that you are being treated less favourably as a disabled person.

    When you are ready to think about returning to work, it might be useful to think about any reasonable adjustments which might help you.  You could make a request in writing for this as a reasonable adjustment to help you cope with your job. I have attached a link to Equality Advisory and Support Service template letters that you can use to request reasonable adjustments (entitled “Request to make Reasonable Adjustments”). You can include suggestions about other adjustments you need too. It may help to support your request with medical evidence from your doctor, such as a Fit Note that lists the adjustments you need. If you are a member of a union, you could ask your union representative to support you in doing this.   An Occupational Health assessment could help you identify reasonable adjustments you may need; this can often help with formalising a back to work plan when you are ready to return.

    I hope this has helped but please do contact us again if there is anything further we can help you with. You can either reply to this message, email us, or contact us on the Macmillan Support Line directly. We are available on webchat or via phone from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. To call us, our number is 0808 808 0000 option 1, then 2, then 3.

    Kind regards

    Rachel, 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.

  • Thank you so much for this Rachel.