Your rights at work

If you have or have had cancer, you are protected by law from unfair treatment at work. Talking to your employer can be a first step to getting the support you need.

If you have questions about work and cancer, you can get help from our expert advisers by calling our Work Support Service helpline on 0808 808 0000.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Understanding your rights at work, following a cancer diagnosis is important, especially during this difficult time.

On our dedicated coronavirus hub, we also have information on work and coronavirus, as well as information on financial, emotional and practical support. And our online community continues to provide invaluable emotional and peer support.

What are my rights?

If you have or have had cancer, you are protected by law from unfair treatment at work. This means that it's unlawful for an employer to treat you less favorably (discriminate against you) because of your cancer.

Under equalities law your employer should try to support you. This includes making changes (known as reasonable adjustments) to help you stay in or return to work when you are ready and able to. To find out more about your rights, download our short guide. If you live in Northern Ireland, please download this guide.

Get support with cancer and your employment rights

We know it can be difficult to know where to start, or what to say. Gentian received advice from our Work Support Service. Read Gentian’s story

If you have questions about work and cancer you can call our dedicated Work Support Service on 0808 808 0000, Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm. For support with other cancer-related issues, such as financial, diagnosis and emotional support, you can also contact the Macmillan Support Line using the same number, open 7 days a week, 8am-8pm.

Download our step-by-step guide to help you find the words to talk to your employer.

Work and Cancer podcast

Macmillan has launched the Talking Cancer podcasts to be right there with the growing number of people living with and affected by cancer. Covering a range of important topics, episode five talks about Work and Cancer and how to navigate the world of work after a cancer diagnosis.

  • If you're a carer

    Balancing work and looking after someone with cancer can have a big impact on your life. Learn about your rights and the support available.

  • For employees

    If you have cancer, it can be difficult to know how to talk to your employer about it. It's important to remember that there are laws protecting people with cancer in the workplace.

  • If you're self-employed

    Worries about work are very common for people affected by cancer. They may seem especially tough if you're self-employed or run your own business.

  • For your employer

    Macmillan at work provides information, training and resources for your employer to help them support staff affected by cancer.

Cancer Diagnosis? Get tailored information and support via email

We can send you relevant information to help with the physical, financial and emotional effects of cancer. Sign up to receive ongoing email support.