A new support package is available for employers to help them where an employee or their loved one has cancer

We are all aware of the legal responsibilities being an employer brings. But have you considered what responsibilities you have as an employer if a member of your staff, or their loved one, is diagnosed with cancer?

Everyone with cancer is classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010, which means employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for employees with a cancer diagnosis. Legislation also covers those who are closely associated with someone with cancer, and may provide the right to “reasonable” unpaid time off for caring responsibilities.

With the number of people in the UK with cancer set to double to 4,000,000 in the next 20 years, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have joined forces to create a resource to assist employers in this situation.

The Essential Work and Cancer Toolkit has been produced to help employers support people with cancer in the workplace. It will give employers a better understanding of the physical, emotional and financial impact of a cancer diagnosis, practical guidance on how to manage employees with cancer, and information on how people with cancer are protected by the Equality Act. It includes an employer’s guide, posters, booklets for people with cancer and their carers, and top tips for line managers on how to respond appropriately and sensitively.

Elspeth Atkinson, Director of Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland and Northern Ireland said: “Businesses would reap big rewards if people with cancer were offered effective back-to-work support. Helping people with cancer to stay in work doesn’t have to be difficult, and it is likely to be cheaper and easier than recruiting a replacement or defending a discrimination claim.

“We hope that by using the toolkit, HR departments and managers will feel more capable and confident in supporting their employees affected by cancer.”

Neil Stevenson, Director of Representation & Professional Support at the Law Society of Scotland, added: “This free pack provides practical and pragmatic advice and can help in the support of individuals as well as ensuring business continuity and client care.”


The toolkit can be ordered from www.macmillan.org.uk/work


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