Changing the conversation about work and cancer

Preparing line managers to talk with staff affected by cancer

For many managers, probably the most difficult aspect of managing employees diagnosed with cancer is having that first conversation – of dealing with the news and offering support. It is a critical moment because how a line manager reacts to the news, at first and then afterwards, has been shown to have a significant impact on whether an employee successfully returns to work. Communication, communication, communication – to twist a familiar mantra – will make a real and significant difference.

Macmillan is encouraging both employers and employees to have conversations around managing cancer in the workplace, so that where necessary reasonable adjustments can be made. Through these conversations employees will feel supported and measures can be discussed so their rights, as outlined by the Equality Act (or Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland), aren’t compromised.

Written for Macmillan Cancer Support, June 2015

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