No help for employees caring for cancer patients

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Half of managers say their company has no formal policy for employees caring for someone with cancer

Nearly a third (32%) of employees with a family member diagnosed with cancer did not feel supported by their employer when the diagnosis was made, according to a whitepaper from AXA PPP healthcare.

Love for the loved ones: how to support employees when cancer affects their family, found that half (49%) of managers said their company does not have a formal policy for employees with a family member diagnosed with cancer.

However, a quarter (28%) said they exercise their discretion and offer flexible working to employees with a close family member or dependent suffering from cancer.

Chris Horlick, distribution director at AXA PPP healthcare, said that when a cancer diagnosis is received it is not just the person with the illness who is affected.

“When someone is diagnosed with cancer focus rightly turns to that person’s health and wellbeing,” he said. “But it’s also important to remember the impact the diagnosis can have on the sufferer’s family. In addition to the emotional impact family members may find themselves facing a host of pressures and responsibilities. Improvement in treatment is enabling many people affected by cancer to live longer with the disease held in check or even cured. While this is welcome, it means that the impact of having cancer in the family will continue to be felt for months and even years to come.

“There’s much that employers can do to support employees who find themselves in this situation. And, by doing this well, they’ll not only help employees through a difficult time, they’ll also help to maintain morale and productivity and retain valued employees,” he added.

The white paper recommends employers should:

  • Review and revise company policies and procedures to include carers.
  • Build awareness of cancer, the impact of living with the disease and caring for those who have it.
  • Consider introducing flexible working arrangements for carers.
  • Clearly communicate available workplace support- for example, confidential counselling, cancer nurse helplines and private healthcare cover.
  • Ensure that workloads are fairly managed across affected teams.
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