Language / La langue: 
You are here:   Cancer and Work

Employers Returning to work/staying at work 1. Provide support and stay in contact

1. Provide support and stay in contact

Step 1 of 6 in getting ready to return to work:


When an employee is diagnosed with cancer, they may feel overwhelmed. They are coping with the diagnosis, often busy attending medical appointments for assessment and treatment, and worried about how the cancer might affect their ability to work both in the short and long term. Supervisors and others at work can greatly help by reassuring the newly diagnosed employee that they will work together to obtain support and to help them stay at work or return to work.

Managers may be well-meaning when advising a newly diagnosed employee to stay off until they are fully recovered. While this is probably meant as a sign of support, this message can be interpreted by the person with cancer that they should not consider coming back to work until they are fully recovered. Yet, many cancer survivors will want to attempt going back to work before they fully recover from treatment as a way of easing back into work. Insurance companies often expect that a gradual return to work be part of a rehabilitation plan.

If an employee needs to take time off, telling them about financial support and services they can access during their absence can be particularly helpful. These employment benefits may include:

  • short-term disability
  • long-term disability
  • counselling support
  • sick leave
  • extended healthcare benefits such as prescription drug and dental coverage

Click here for more information on these topics.

Keeping in touch while the employee is off work is also important. Managers and supervisors can check in with an employee about their progress and remind them that members of their work team are thinking about them. This can do a lot to maintain the employee’s positive feelings about work.

Next step:

Provide a work assessment

Back to the list of return to work preparation steps