Considering return to work options
If your employee has been away from work having treatment, it can be difficult to know when they are ready to return.
Macmillan’s research into work and cancer found most employees surveyed received little or no worthwhile medical advice about returning to work at the right time.
Many people are left to make this decision alone, based on when they feel it’s the right time to return.
Finding out your employee’s needs
Many employees choose to share their cancer diagnosis with their employer. As a manager, you have no legal right to know the diagnosis or the clinical details of an employee’s condition. In fact, employees have a right of confidentiality under the Human Rights Act 1998.
However, civil law and medical ethics recognise that managers may legitimately seek information relating directly to operational matters. For example, you could ask an occupational health provider for advice about the individual’s health in relation to their ability to carry out their role. This conversation may cover:
- the likely duration of absence
- the likely effect health issues may have on return-to-work
- the likely duration of any health issues that may affect the individual’s ability to carry out their role
- whether there are any adaptations needed in the workplace to help overcome any disadvantage the individual may suffer as a result of health issues
- the likely duration of any adaptations
- the potential impact of health issues on performance and/ or attendance
- the potential impact of health issues on health and safety
- if the individual will be unable to carry out their role for some time, whether the individual could carry out alternative roles within your organisation.