Your rights at work

Work is the main source of income for many people. But if you’re living with cancer, you may need to take time off. This could be for medical appointments, having or recovering from treatment, or coping with emotional stress or side effects such as tiredness. If you’re caring for someone with cancer, you may need time off work too.

Your income may drop if you take time off, but everyone has certain rights at work, so your earnings won’t necessarily stop completely. If you stop working or your earnings drop, this may lead to a situation where you pay too much tax and may be able to claim a refund (tax rebate).

Your rights at work

If you have cancer and are in paid employment, your employer should help and support you to do your job during and after cancer treatment. Your employer must make reasonable adjustments so that you’re not at a disadvantage to other employees. Reasonable adjustments could include working from home or letting you work flexible hours.

If you’re a carer, you also have certain rights at work. A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to a partner, near relative or someone they live with, who could not manage without this help. Carers have the right to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work to look after dependants in an emergency. Carers also have the right to request flexible working hours.

Legislation protects you from being treated unfairly at work because of cancer. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, the Equality Act 2010 protects you. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and its extension, the Disability Discrimination Order of 2006, protect you if you live in Northern Ireland. Carers are also protected from discrimination under these acts.

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