Guide to support employees with cancer
04 February 2019
WITH THE cost of cancer to business estimated at £5.3billion* Specialist Cancer Care provider Harley Street Concierge is launching a new guide for employers to mark World Cancer Day (4th February 2019). On average a cancer diagnosis in the family causes 27 days of direct absenteeism.
One third of people living with cancer are of working age and so supporting employees has moved up the workplace agenda. The guide is available for free and provides bite-sized practical information developed by the team’s advisers and specialist cancer nurses.
TV and radio’s Dr. Sarah Jarvis MBE, said; “The cancer journey is a rollercoaster of emotion especially shortly after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Understanding your options, knowing what questions to ask, finding the most appropriate private specialists and organising appointments can be confusing and time-consuming. Cancer support from Harley Street Concierge takes you through each decision, appointment and treatment option, every step of the way.”
FACTS: 50,000 employees in the UK have a second full time ‘job’ caring for someone with cancer. Over 100,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year. 36% of employees have no form of support from their employer in the face of a cancer diagnosis.
The nature of cancer as an illness creates practical, familial and often financial pressures that impact the overall wellness of the individual. Two of the main stumbling blocks are employees feeling uncomfortable sharing the details of their situation, and subsequently feeling discriminated against; and on the other side employers can feel uncomfortable knowing what support to offer and provide.
A clear vision and open dialogue is crucial as is genuine empathy and sensitivity. The HSC team have put together a checklist to help you manage someone who gets cancer. It is important that employers think about how to handle it well, how to understand what the employee is going through, get to grip with legal obligations and ask the right questions about return to work.
When someone you manage gets cancer the guide navigates how you can help through this difficult time;
How to have the conversation with an employee;
- Prepare yourself for the conversation
- Respect confidentiality
- Stay flexible and keep communication lines open
How to understand what the employee is going through;
- Read up
- There are more than 200 types of cancer, each treated in a different way
How to get to grips with legal obligations;
- Familiarise yourself with what a reasonable adjustment looks like
- Don’t assume a cancer patient wants to work less
- Refer to company guidelines and policies
How to ask the right questions about a return to work;
- Talk about returning to work
- Don’t equate ‘recovery’ with ‘cured’
- Managing survivorship and living with cancer
This new guide is supported by an employer support line and educational events. Tim Warren, Commercial Director at specialist cancer care provider, Harley Street Concierge said; “Not only does it make practical business sense to look after your employee, but as an employer giving the right kind of support says a lot about the overall culture of your organisation. We provide expert advice and support for employees and businesses at a fraction of the cost of private medical insurance. We ensure that your valued employees get the support that they need, when they need it most.”