Sick Leave Documents

Good afternoon,

I hope you are well.

My questions is regarding the situation of my mother and her job. She went on a routine check-up and it turned out that she has breast cancer. Luckily we caught it just in time, she went through a surgery and it was successfully removed.

She lives in Brighton, but the surgery took place in Bulgaria, as she had some personal tasks to handle and we found it here, so she decided that she must act on it, hence why she didn't go for it in the UK.

Question I'd, what type of documents must she aim for, in order for her employer to accept that she has gone under surgery and is it possible to have some sort of a sick leave as she is going to have a recovery period of nearly two months, during which she won't be paid unless we find a way to prove in front of the state and her employer that she actually is not capable of working, because of the recovery.

I would be very thankful if you help me out with this one, as she is quite worried she might even lose her job, because of not being able to work this long, which would be quite unfortunate and unfair in a sense.

Many thanks in advance!

Kind regards,

A. Staykov.

  • Hello,

    Thank you for your question to our Work Support team. Our team will get back in touch with you as soon as they can.

    If you need any further help or support in the meantime, please remember you can talk to other people on the Online Community within our discussion groups. You can also talk to our teams on the Macmillan Support Line 7 days a week, between 8am-8pm on 0808 808 00 00.

    Best wishes,


    Macmillan Community team

  • Dear A. Staykov ( ),

    My name is Emma and I am a Work Support adviser on the Macmillan Support Line. I am glad you’ve reached out to us and can appreciate how worrying a time this must be for you and your mother. I am hoping my answer will alleviate at least some of that pressure and that she is recovering well from her surgery.

    As your mother lives in Brighton, it’s important for her to know that she is protected under English law by the Equality Act 2010. This law says that as she has a cancer diagnosis, for employment law purposes she is automatically considered to be disabled. It also places a duty on her employer to not discriminate against her and to make reasonable adjustments for her to help her overcome any substantial obstacles she faces due to her cancer. Our booklet “Your Rights At Work When Affected By Cancer” goes into more detail about reasonable adjustments and discrimination which your mother may find useful.  

    If your mother’s employer were to dismiss her solely due to her cancer diagnosis, this may be classed as disability discrimination. Please do contact us if you feel this is the case. If your mum has been an employee for more than 2 years, she should also be protected from unfair dismissal. I hope this reassures your mother that, if she follows the correct processes for her work then she should not be dismissed at this stage.

    As your mother is not well enough to work, I would suggest she makes her employer aware of her cancer diagnosis and notifies them of her circumstances. I am unclear whether your mother is currently recovering in Bulgaria or the UK and so the next stage may be trickier if she is currently outside the UK.

    For the first week she should be able to self-certify her sickness, however after the first week she should speak to her GP in the UK and ask them to provide her with a fit note as proof that she is too unwell to work. This can then be shared with her employer as medical evidence. Your mother should also ask her employer for a copy of their sickness policy, as this will explain how much sick pay, if any, she should receive and how they expect her to keep in touch during her absence. They may wish her to attend meetings to discuss her wellbeing and she should agree with them if she isn’t in the UK how these will be managed. It may be useful to know there are two types of sick pay – Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Her employer will set their own rules around OSP as these form part of her employment contract.

    SSP is classed as a benefit and so there are specific rules online that your mother can check to see if she is eligible for her employer to pay this to her. We also have a Welfare Rights team on the Macmillan Support Line who can talk your mother through any other benefits she can claim and how the rules apply if she is still in Bulgaria. Their number from the UK is 0808 808 0000 (from Bulgaria dial +44 207 091 2230) option 1, then 2, then 2 and they are available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on weekends. She would need to have ready her household income, details of any savings or investments she has, her council tax amount and her monthly rent or mortgage amount.

    I hope this gives you the information you were looking for. If you do have any further questions, then you can either respond to this message, contact us through webchat, email us or you can call us on the Macmillan Support Line. The Work Support team are available from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday on 0808 808 0000 option 1, then 2, then 3.

    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
  • Good afternoon, Emma!

    I hope you are well!

    Thank you so much for getting back to me so promptly! You are an absolute star, honestly!

    We are going to do everything mentioned above, so for the time being, there aren't any other questions, however, if something comes up, I will write to you and ask.

    Many thanks from me and my mum and best wishes!

    Kind regards,