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Cancer in the workplace – Managing & supporting employees

Actons’ Employment Solicitor, Amita Chauhan, shares her thoughts on a recent East Midland’s HR Network event on cancer in the workplace.


I attended our East Midlands HR Network event recently on dealing with cancer in the workplace. Nic Elliott who heads our employment team and Annie Walton, the centre head at Maggie’s (a national cancer charity) were the lead presenters for the event.

The presentations were very interesting – Annie shared her insight into the significant number of different types of cancer, treatment, side effects that cancer patients can experience and how cancer can impact people in different ways.

Both presenters highlighted that communication and offering support were key messages to take away from the event. Things like understanding that everyone has different needs and that some people may not want to return to work, where others may be eager to return confirmed the importance of communication and support for employees so that employers understand their individual needs. Family members and carers should also be considered as they may need time off or support.

Nic set out the legal backdrop for employers who are managing employees with cancer and reminded us that cancer is an automatic disability under the Equality Act 2010.

He went on to recommend that businesses review their current policies (such as sickness absence policy or specific cancer policy) to ensure they cover the necessary issues and minimise the risk of employers getting things wrong.

If you have any concerns about managing your employees’ sickness absence generally or specifically relating to cancer, please feel free to contact me or Nic for advice on 0115 9 100 200. 

Posted on October 25, 2019

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