EMPLOY Charter: Breast cancer and employment

The launch of the EMPLOY Charter: Breast Cancer Care's guide to best practice in the workplace.

Tell your friends or colleagues, download the resources or take the quiz at www.breastcancercare.org.uk/employ.

Breast Cancer Care launched the EMPLOY Charter across the UK in May, June and July 2008. If you would like more information on how to help us disseminate the EMPLOY Charter, please telephone Christopher Quince in the Policy and Campaigns team on 020 7960 3569 or email Chris.Quince@breastcancercare.org.uk.

What is the EMPLOY Charter all about?
Are you an employee or an employer? Do you know about breast cancer, employment and the law?
Breast Cancer Care has produced a series of resources to support a member of staff affected by breast cancer.

Employer-employee dialogue
An employee with breast cancer should have the opportunity (but not the obligation) to have regular meetings with their employer to discuss the impact of their diagnosis on employment. Meetings should include discussion around reasonable work adjustments, time off needed, arrangements for transfer/effective management of the employee's work during sickness absence, phased return to work after time off and the possibility of flexible working.

Money matters
The employer should provide clear information on an employee's financial entitlements including company and statutory sick pay and other relevant company benefits. The employee should be signposted to sources of specialist financial advice.

Prejudice-free workplace
All employees affected by breast cancer have the right to work in a sympathetic environment, free from prejudice. An employee's privacy should be respected.

Listening to the individual's experience
Everyone's experience of breast cancer is different and the medical treatments required will vary. An employer should take the time to listen to and understand the employee's individual treatment plan, experience of breast cancer and decisions about work, and accommodate the individual employee's needs where possible and reasonable.

Off work time
An employee with breast cancer should not have to use annual leave for medical appointments, treatment and recovery from treatment, including breast reconstruction surgery. An employee should be able to attend prosthesis fittings and hair loss services where necessary, as well as emotional support services, through flexible working arrangements.

Your responsibilities under disability discrimination law
People with cancer are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. Their employer is required to make reasonable adjustments to help them at work. An employee should not be treated less favourably than colleagues because of their breast cancer or for a reason relating to their breast cancer, nor should they be subjected to harassment.

For more information read the EMPLOY Charter information booklet.