Third of staff with cancer feel unsupported by their employer


One employee in three with cancer has not received sufficient support from their employer following their diagnosis, research has suggested, highlighting the need for employers to play a greater role in helping staff through this challenging time.

The research by employee benefits provider Unum also found that three-quarters of workers with cancer worried about how their families would cope with the loss of income if they had to give up work.

Twenty-eight per cent felt they did not receive support from their employer, or the support they received fell below expectations, when they returned to work.

The results were revealed at an event that highlighted employers’ role in supporting staff throughout their cancer “journey” – from diagnosis, through to treatment, recovery and return to work.

Delegates were told that an effective way of supporting staff with cancer was ensuring all guidelines and advice around how the employer is able to assist were available in an easily accessible place.

Cancer was the top reason for long-term sickness absence claims paid by Unum in 2018 and, according to Macmillan Cancer Support, around 125,000 working-age adults receive a cancer diagnosis each year.

Peter O’Donnell, CEO of Unum said: “As we live and work longer, the reality is that more and more of us will face a cancer diagnosis at some point in our working lives.

“Employers play an important role in supporting employees as they face the financial, emotional and professional obstacles a cancer diagnose can bring.”

Classic FM host Bill Turnbull, who has been battling prostate cancer since 2017, said: “It’s been two years since my diagnosis and my life has changed forever. While I’ve had my ups and downs, it’s been the support of those around me who have helped me, and this extends beyond my family and friends to include my employer and colleagues at work.

“I think being able to go back to work is a huge part of being able to feel normal again. It’s vital that employers understand how important the support they provide to their employees with cancer is in helping them cope and live with this disease”.

One Response to Third of staff with cancer feel unsupported by their employer

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    Madeline Calahan 16 Nov 2019 at 7:32 am #

    Cancer is not just a simple sickness where you can just give an employee a month break to recover from it and come back to work if you feel good, It will be a long journey a lot of things will come into play, Financial, Emotional, and Physical. Emotional support plays a huge deal with cancer patients. “Being able to go back to work is important to make the employee with cancer feel normal” this alone can help the cancer patient be emotionally and financially supported by their employers.

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