Policies and resources

Does a member of your staff have cancer? Or are they caring for someone with cancer? Supporting employees so they can remain in or return to work benefits your business, as well as your staff. Find out what you can do to make this happen.


Our Cancer in the Workplace videos aim to help managers, occupational health and human resources professionals handle issues around cancer and work.

Talking about cancer at work

Watch our video with people talking about how they told their colleagues about their own cancer diagnosis. It also contains advice from HR professionals on how to talk about cancer with tips on what to do and what not to do.

Watch the video here.

Managing the impact of cancer on a small business

How should a small company deal with the financial implications of an employee with a cancer diagnosis? Watch our video for real examples of how other small business owners managed and tips from a financial expert.

Watch the video here.

Managing someone with cancer

Watch this video to get an insight into managing someone working with cancer.

Watch the video here.

Making work adjustments for an employee

Watch our video to see how one employer made temporary changes to an employee’s work duties to help them remain in work during treatment.

Watch the video here.

Supporting carers

Watch our video for real examples of how people were supported by their employers when they were looking after someone with cancer. It also contains advice and tips from experts and HR professionals on how you could support any employees you have that are acting as carers.

Watch the video here.

Managing bereavement and end of life

Watch our video showing how one manager handled the death of a colleague and the impact it had on the team. The video also includes advice from a bereavement counsellor.

Watch the video here.

Policies and guidelines

Cancer policy template

A template for HR teams to develop a company policy for handling cancer in the workplace. Download the cancer policy template.

Carers' policy template

A template for HR teams to develop a company policy for supporting staff who are caring for someone with a long-term condition. Download the carers' policy template.

Buddying guidelines

Guidelines developed alongside employers and people affected by cancer, designed to help organisations implement a buddying system in the workplace. Download the buddying guidelines.

Further resources

Work and cancer top tips for line managers

Download these tips for line managers [PDF] designed to guide you and support your employee through the cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment and living with cancer.

Support for small businesses

Get expert advice about how to fulfil your responsibilities as an employer, and how you can best support employees with cancer.

Self employment and cancer

Read our practical information about cancer and treatments, balancing your health needs and your work, deciding who to tell and what to say to them, keeping the business operating, and managing finances.

Understanding legal responsibilities

Cancer is legally defined as a disability under the Equality Act 2010. We can help you understand what your legal responsibilities are.

Find out more about legislation relating to work and cancer.

Managing cancer in the workplace: An employer's guide to supporting staff affected by cancer

This guide contains practical advice about how you can support employees affected by cancer, including your responsibilities as an employer and your employees' rights.

Read the guide online or order as a booklet from our Be.Macmillan site.

Essential work and cancer toolkit

The Essential work and cancer toolkit contains advice and guidance to help manage cancer in the workplace. Sign up to Macmillan at Work to receive yours now.

Raising awareness of work and cancer

Personalise and print posters for your workplace at be.macmillan.org.uk to highlight your support for people affected by cancer.

Cancer in the Workplace DVD

These videos are designed to help employers, managers or people working in occupational health or human resources support an employee who is diagnosed with cancer. Order the DVD.

E-learning courses

Online courses for line managers, union representatives and Occupational Health to help explore issues around work and cancer. Access the courses by registering with our Learn Zone.

Sign up for our email

Sign up to receive our work and cancer enewsletter. It contains the latest information on how Macmillan can help employers to support employees who are living with cancer.

Back to If you're an employer

Managing cancer in the workplace

In the UK, over 700,000 people of working age are living with cancer. Managers play a fundamental role in supporting employees affected by cancer.

How cancer affects people

Your employee’s ability to work may change after a cancer diagnosis. To support them, it’s helpful to understand how treatment may affect them.

How to talk about cancer at work

Although it may be difficult for your employee to discuss their cancer diagnosis, open communication may enable you to support them.

Time off for your employee

Some people with cancer will be able to continue to work, others will need time off. There are different options to manage absences.

Occupational health advice

Occupational health advisers can help employers assess whether a role needs to be adjusted in light of an employee’s health.

Supporting carers

Carers who need to look after a dependant are allowed to take emergency time off. They may also wish to request flexible working.

Legislation about work and cancer

In the UK, there are laws that protect employees with cancer from being treated unfairly in the workplace. This includes discrimination, harassment and victimisation.


Although many people survive cancer, your employee or the person they are caring for may die from their illness.