Redundancy while on sick leave

Hi, I’m new here. Was diagnosed on 14th May. I’m going for an MRI scan this afternoon and will get the results and hopefully discuss treatment options next Wednesday. Today work released a new staff structure. There is one job I could apply for, but I know there will be competetion for as there are fewer jobs than people in the new structure. If I don’t get it I’m facing redundancy. Has anyone else been in a similiar situation?
I haven’t told them at work about the cancer as I don’t yet know what time I will need off work and when. How can I apply and interview for a job when I’m off sick?
I’m so upset now. I’ve worked there for 18 years and really like the place and the people. There are quite a few people facing redundancy, but I’ll bet none of the others have cancer too. Am supposed to be working at home today but I can’t stop worrying and crying.

Hi Valentine

i am sure you will get loads of good advice from our members. But in the meantime you might find this information from Cancer Cackup useful.

Best wishes


I am not an expert - youu may want to check out with others who come on who have been HR managers

you need to tell them about the cancer, this cannot make the situation worse and may actually make it better as you will then be under disability discrimation rules…is there a reason why you havent told them , you have knowm for a while? You are going to need time off work for treatment etc and I suspect your position with your company could be suspended - ie they wont make any decisions about your position if you tell them your full situation.

I know not all companies are supporitve but mine have been quite helpful



Catherine is right, you need to tell your work about your dx and then they have to treat you as disabled under the Disability Discrimination Act. I’m not sure off hand what difference this will make, but I am absolutely positive it makes a difference in your favour.

Look up the ACAS website, or CABx adviceguide website, or Equal Opportunities website for more information.

All the best
Sue xx

Hi Valentine, I agree with both Sue and Catherine - you need to tell them about your diagnosis now. I just wanted to add that I sympathise entirely with your predicament. I am fortunate in that I qualify for 6 months full pay and 6 months half-pay but having been on sick leave since January I now only have one month left before my employers reduce my monthly salary. This in itself is not too disconcerting as I have been expecting it but only a fortnight ago, after a restructure, my OH is now facing redundancy - and the package is not likely to be particularly helpful either. It is so worrying - and I am manically hunting for jobs - any jobs - for him while at the same considering just packing in the chemo altogether so that I can return to work on full pay as soon as possible. Of course, I’m not going to ask that my treatment be cancelled - it would be for entirely selfish reasons only - I am fed up with feeling unwell all the time - and not for altruistic reasons - but the predicament still remains and keeps us both awake at night.

I’m sorry I can’t offer you any practical advice but you do need to tell them of your medical circumstances immediately - I do indeed think it would work in your favour.

All the best and do keep us informed of how you are getting on.

Love Naz

Hi valentine

we have something different in common - like you I am in the closet

(I work for myself though -with my OH - which is different)

Here is my tuppence worth … I think there are two issues here:

  1. how you go about getting a job in the new structure
  2. will you want it anyway?

On point one - I think you should contact the Citizens Advice Beaureau and find out the legal position and the best way to approach it. You need to make sure that whatever you tell them is worded correctly and recorded correctly for the future. You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot.

On the second point - at the moment all you can think about is holding onto “life as we know it”. With all the uncertainty that finding a lump brings it is natural to hold onto everything else. Having said that … you will find that you are about to embark on a journey and during that time your opinion of various things will change quite considerably. You may find that by the end of it you don’t want the job anyway and would be glad of some paid time off. Clearly that depends on the package you’d get and also how easy to would be to find another job.

You need to keep all your options open at this stage so you need to make sure you do your best to get the right outcome for you in the new restructure … but you also need to keep an open mind as to what other opportunities all of this is going to bring.

Good luck
Let us know what happens
love FB xxx

Had another thought … in my limited experience this may even work in your favour … if you are out of the picture off sick but returning in future they may be able to use this as a way of fudging that you exist and bringing you back once they’ve finished the restructure ??? only an idea - others will know more … FB x

Having been an HR manager for the last 12 years - the comments from Sue Catherine and Naz are correct - you are protected under Diasbility Discrimination as you (very unfortunately) have cancer - but you must tell your employers asap - what condition is the doc writing on your sick note???

Hope all goes well with you

Take care



Thanks for all your comments here. It’s great to get so much support.
Initially I didn’t tell anyone at work as I knew I would have an uncertain wait for treatment. I work in an open plan office with 70 other people and couldn’t stand everybody asking how I was. Although I know they would be concerned I just wanted to get on with the job.
We had our first meeting yesterday with management to start off the consultancy process. Came out feeling slightly more hopeful as there is the possibility of part-time work which wasn’t made clear in the first email. There will still be some redundancies but not as many as I first thought. Also our Union Reps did a brilliant job of grilling the managment and I know they will support us all in this process.
I had an appointment fixed with the hospital for next Wednesday for the MRI results but last night they phoned me and arranged for it to be brought forward to Monday morning. Hope this means they will soon be starting treatment. After Monday’s meeting I will defiantly inform work as I should imagine I will then have a clearer idea of how much time I will need off work and when.
Thanks again for your support ladies. Hope you all have a good weekend and all the best in your treatment, wherever you are.

Just a ps to Pam.
I don’t have a sick note yet. I’m still working and have to continue until I am signed off.

I am in a similar position as my work area is being re-structured.I have discussed my options with HR and will not have to be included in the interviews for the new jobs until I feel ready.Some of the jobs are being filled on a permanent basis,but one will be filled on atemporary basis until I am fit to be interviewed.You should speak to HR ASAP.
Good Luck

Valentine, Not everybody at your work has to know what’s going on. It’s a confidential matter and only your line manager and HR need to know the full picture. My OH was given time off work, and the email circulated by HR just said he was having time off “to look after his family” and if anybody had any questions they were to ask HR, not my OH. That took a lot of pressure off him. You could ask your HR dept to be discreet.

All the best to you, and I really do believe you have to inform work asap so that they can get the appropriate procedures in place, ie regard you as disabled under DDA etc.

Sue xx

Hi all
Hope you dont mind me adding to this thread but could really use some financial advice.
I was dx in may have had to go on sick because job involves lots of heavy lifting,have had lumpectomy & some lymph nodes removed, due to have another op in july so lifting not an option. my company are NOT supportive. I have just found out am only entitled to stat sick pay(about£70 per week) I am single parent of two teenage boys both leaving home in september, oldest off to Uni youngest off to Army, dont know how am gonna manage on that income, I have always worked, and have supported myself and boys since divorce 10 years ago. Dont know first thing about benefits or if entitled to any.

Helen xxx

Valentine - I told my bosses straight off but found I was only allowed one months’ pay on sick and a month at 2/3 pay with the rest being “discretionary”. However, I managed to get access to my emails at home which helps massively and also been able to work shorter hours and work have actually been fantastically supportive. Have had lumpectomy and lymph nodes removed and am currently on Epi/CMF chemotherapy (finished the Epi and just about to complete 1 out of 4 treatments of CMF). Start radiotherapy on Tuesday for 4 weeks but as I say I have managed to work from home and do shorter hours when I felt I could. Under the DDA (Disability Act) it works in your favour.

Helen - contact your Macmillan nurse and ask about Disability Allowances (and you too Valentine). They should have more information with regards financial help I think!!!

Hi Helen

Just a little note…It is worth looking into the information re: Disability Act and/or the Incapacity Benefit.From experience,2 years ago, I had to fill in a from to be assessed for Incapacity benefit(IB) as Cancer (with Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy treatments does fall into the category.There will be a section there of your finances questionaire…for eligibility…I am quite lucky that my employer is and has been supportive the first time and then now for the second time.I was off work for 18months the first time until I was back to work. Normal work for a full 1yr until my new set back ,new DX,operation/chemo treatment this year.I have been off since April08 during my operation and not sure when I will be back to work yet as treatment is not progressing quick enough.But this time round,I dont bother with the Inc Benefit…but it might be worth it for you.Look into it…

Hi Valentine,
After my diagnosis, both in nov05 and feb08, i continued working whilst tests and check are being determined.It helped me to have bit of normality.I told my friends/colleagues not to show me pity but support and be as normal as possible.They were all great.I was signed off / went off sick after my operations and treatments,including recovery priod after…Betwee my Dx and operations…i continue working…I hope it helps


Helen, your local CAB will happily do a benefits check for you, to see if there is anything else you may be entitled to. You may not qualify for DLA unless you have care and mobility needs, however CAB or Macmillan will help you sort that out. Try not to worry in the meantime, tCAB hey may have a money advice service which can help you rearrange various commitments to see you through this time, for example, sometimes you are allowed a payment holiday on a mortgage.

All the best, Sue xx

Just a wee note for Valentine: if you have union reps, as you mentioned, this is when the union can come in handy. They can keep you informed of your rights and help make sure you’re not being treated unfairly. Even if you’re not at this moment a member, no union rep worth their salt would turn you away.


Hi all

Thanks for pointing me in right direction, its frustrating cos last thing we need is worry over other things.
Good luck to all

Helen xxx

Thanks for all your advice. I saw the surgeon on Wednesday and the surgery is now set for next Friday. As soon as I knew I informed the management and also decided to leave work for as long as the treament takes. I appreciate that some people prefer to work but the journey alone, 2 miles cycing, 30 mins tube and another 20 mins walking each way, was just too much to face. On top of that the stress of work was too much. This restructuring is causing a lot of stress and hassle. On Thursday I had a long talk with the admin person who assured me that I will be considered in the restructuring and they will have to play it by ear. It may mean doing a interview by phone.
On Thursday morning I told 4 people at work, the ones I really care about, and it was quite upsetting. There were all in tears. After that we went out for lunch together, then I came home and they returned to the office. It felt good to walk away. For now all I can concentrate on is my health. I’ve now got the rest of the week free to get the house clean, stock up the freezer and buy any hospital essentials (non-wired bras!)
Thanks again and hope you are all having a good weekend

Hi Valentine

Glad you told them and made your decisions in your own time, quite like how you say it felt good to walk away it sounds very much like you know how you want to play this… I very much doubt they can make you do a telephone interview when you are signed off sick, you may want to check that out .

Best of luck with surgery and everything