Employer’s Guide

An Employer’s Guide to Returning to Work after Cancer

Whether you’ve had experience of an employee with cancer or not, knowing how best to deal with the situation is always useful. This guide is designed to help you answer the various questions you may have around your employee’s illness and how a return to work might be managed. For more support in this area, our oncology nurses visit workplaces as part of our Corporate Wellness Programme, and deliver bespoke workshops on this topic. For more information visit our Corporate Workshops section

Download the Full PDF Guide

Our new new booklet, ‘Back to Work After Cancer’, which provides advice and support for both employees and employers on this delicate topic

Overcoming the employer’s concerns

Every employee affected by cancer should be assessed on an individual basis. Many employees remain in work through their treatment, while others need some time to recover.

An employer may have many concerns, including :

  • How much time off work the employee will need for treatment and recovery
  • What support to provide, such as staying in regular contact with the employee
  • Management of work-related issues associated with cancer and the ability of the employee to perform all aspects of a job in the short-term/ long-term
  • Limited knowledge and/or understanding of a particular cancer and it’s impact on the employee
  • Ability of the employee to undertake full contractual hours and duties and how to adapt the role and/or the work environment

The employer’s role

While an employee is off sick :

  • Maintain regular contact. Phone calls, home visits or encouraging an employee to go to work for a social visit are all effective
  • Reassure the employee about their job security
  • Send them company information such as newsletters or details of changes within the business
  • Start to discuss barriers the employee may have identified and how best to deal with them
  • Agree a return-to-work plan with your employee, talk to work colleagues (with the individual’s permission) and agree what support can be put in place
  • Cover health and safety legislation

While an employee returns to work:

  • Schedule regular meetings to monitor their progress
  • Allow them time to attend GP or hospital appointments
  • Be aware they may feel unwell again and could need more time off

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