While it’s common for family, friends and loved ones to step up and lend a helping hand when a person is battling cancer, there’s another area where assistance may be just as vital, but perhaps less available: at the office. Workplace support for employees with cancer can come in many forms — from policies and procedures that make easing back into the job a bit easier, to informal help from co-workers eager to make the daily grind a little less difficult. Both employers and employees can take steps to make sure workplace support for employees with cancer is available and being put to use.
For the Employer
A new guide from the National Business Group on Health and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network outlines steps employers can take to offer workplace support for employees with cancer. Key among them are providing short-term disability for cancer treatment, along with disability case managers to walk patients through the ins and outs. The guide also suggests employers put in place an Employee Assistance Program and return-to-work strategies that involve case managers, HR leaders, and the worker’s supervisor to ensure a smooth and sensitive transition.
For the Employee
It’s also important to be proactive about seeking workplace support for employees with cancer. Cancer.net points out that there are three steps involved in a successful return to work: preparation, adjusting physically and adjusting mentally. Cancer patients should understand the parameters of policies like FMLA and short-term disability for cancer treatments and ensure they’re taking maximum advantage of leave and other benefits available to them. When a doctor approves, contact the company and request a meeting to review options and be transparent about what you need from the employer, including reduced hours upon your return, job sharing and flex time. Though these details may seem minor compared to the challenge of facing cancer, knowing your options and creating a smart plan is the best way to ensure success.
Once you’re back on the job, keep your health at the front of your mind. It can be easy to get absorbed back into work but remember you’re on the mend and pace yourself, physically and mentally. While you have returned to the workplace, you’ve likely returned with new experiences, new perspectives, and new challenges, and all of that should shape your new environment.
Workplace support for employees with cancer involves thoughtful planning and careful consideration but, when both are present, along with a willingness to listen and a drive to succeed, a return can be both energizing and exciting.
If you or an employee are trying to manage the financial costs of cancer treatment, learn more about Life Credit Company’s Living Benefit Loan.