Carers or family members of someone with cancer
If you are a partner or family member of someone having cancer treatment and you need to take time off work to look after them, you may be entitled to take compassionate leave or unpaid leave.
If your relative doesn’t need much care, but can’t be left alone for long, your employer may be able to change your working arrangements to allow you to work from home. Carers UK has information about carers and work.
An employee who is caring or expected to be caring for an adult (aged 18 or over) and has worked for their employer for more than 26 weeks, has the right to request flexible working. This might include flexible starting and finishing hours, job-sharing or home-working.
The employee must be married to (or the partner or civil partner of) the person, a relative or living at the same address. They can apply to make a permanent change to their terms and conditions.
The request must be made in writing and should include:
confirmation that you are a carer
an idea of the working pattern you would like
your impression of how it might affect your job and how this could be managed
the date you would like the flexible working to start.
You are able to make one request a year for flexible working. Your employer may refuse your request if they have good business reasons to do so. It’s worth bearing this in mind when making your request. You may want to make suggestions about how any changes can be handled so that any impact on the business is kept to a minimum.
A parent of a child under 18 with cancer may also be entitled to up to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave to look after the child. Some employers may allow paid leave to be taken, and some allow longer than the official entitlement. You can read more about parental leave on the Directgov website at gov.uk.
Discrimination against carers
The law protects people who experience discrimination because they are linked or associated with a disabled person. For example, it would be unlawful if the partner of a person with cancer was refused promotion because of concerns that they would be unable to give sufficient attention to the job.
If you are a relative or carer of a person with cancer and you experience discrimination at work, you can get advice on your employment rights from some organisations.
We have further information for people who are working while caring for someone with cancer.