Guidance for employers

When an employee is diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood related condition, he or she will undergo an enormous amount of stress. Not only does the diagnosis have an impact on the individual and their families, but it also has an impact on employers and the workplace.

It is important to respond to your employee’s or a carer’s diagnosis carefully and realise that cancer is not necessarily a death sentence and that with recent major medical advances, many people can be cured and live a long life after their diagnosis.

Keeping communication channels open so you and your employees can work together to manage the situation is key. Your support can make a tremendous difference on the cancer journey and recovery.

Having the first conversation

  • Be mentally prepared and set a supportive tone in a comfortable environment. Focus on the issue/employee, listen carefully and keep communication clear, providing reinforcement and reassurance. Seek clarity where you need to.
  • Review your employee’s rights and entitlements and ensure they have all the information they need. Seek support from your HR person if applicable. Familiarise yourself with the employees employment contract so you can be prepared for any technical employment questions.
  • Clarify whether the employee wants their colleagues to know about the diagnosis and ensure their privacy is respected. Create a plan of communication to colleagues about absence that both parties agree on.
  • Ensure they know who they can talk to with any concerns. E.g. you, their HR rep, Employee Assistance etc.

Work adjustments during and after treatment

If your employee continues to work – one option is to consider is Flexible Working Arrangements to allow for treatment and recovery.

Flexibility provides the opportunity for patients or carers to manage work and health appointments/treatment schedules in a way that works for them. This can help them stay connected to work as they face challenging health issues or care for their loved ones that do.

Remember it is a big step for someone returning to work after a blood cancer diagnosis or related condition. They will need some time to settle back in to the working environment, especially as many will have a changed life perspective post diagnosis.

Download our Guidance for Employers factsheet