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If you decide to talk to your employer, the first step is to have a discussion with your manager, to tell them about your new role as a carer|.
Your employer should be sensitive to the fact that you’re coping with a cancer diagnosis. It can be a very difficult time which often turns people’s lives upside down. They should allow you to tell the news in your own way.
You can choose to have a colleague, friend, trade union or employee representative with you during the meeting. Anyone attending the meeting should respect your privacy.
Your manager may choose to make notes of the meeting. If so, they should offer you a copy of the notes, and they can’t share them with anyone else without your permission. You may also wish to take your own notes.
Typically, this first discussion will cover topics such as:
Your employer will also want to get some idea of the likely impact of your caring responsibilities on your ability to attend work and fulfil your work duties. It will help to be prepared to talk about this in general terms, explaining to the employer that treatment for cancer doesn’t always follow a smooth course and that last-minute changes may happen.
At this initial stage, you should begin to think about ways of doing your job that will suit both you and your employer.
The company will want to hear your thoughts about:
Your employer will be trying to balance:
You may want to discuss things your employer can do that will help you as a carer. Many employers support carers in a variety of ways. Take time to think about what you will need to change to help you in your dual role as carer and employee.
Some employers may offer:
As well as talking to your line manager or human resources department, you may:
It’s likely that your employer will take this opportunity to provide you with the company’s information on:
It’s important to remember that not all companies will offer the same benefits. The person you’re caring for may be given different information by their employer. However, all companies need to give their employees information about their statutory rights, and should be able to signpost you to further sources of information about:
Remember that each situation is different. You will need your own programme of support to meet your changing circumstances. The more open you are about your situation with your managers and your colleagues, the more they will be able to support you.
Unfortunately, some managers or colleagues may not be as sympathetic as you hope or expect, but if you don’t keep them informed then it makes it difficult for them to understand.
Following this meeting, you can ask for a copy of any notes that have been taken, and make it clear whether you want anyone else in the company to see them. The company should respect your right to privacy, as should all those involved in the first meeting.
If, after reflection, you feel you need to discuss and agree the points raised in the first meeting, you should ask for another meeting to do so. Regular reviews are then helpful to check how arrangements are working, and to ensure you’re receiving enough support. Any changes to the initial plan should be discussed and agreed as needed. It can also help to make the following clear:
On 1 October 2010 the Equality Act replaced previous discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales – including the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) – bringing them together under one piece of legislation. People who live in Northern Ireland are still protected by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
Please note the Equality Act introduces new rights for carers. We have further information on the Equality Act| and your rights as an employee, or you can call us| for advice.
Content last reviewed: 1 May 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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