Sick notes and working during chemo

Wonder if anyone can help.

Work have been great and said I can come in to work as and when if I want to during chemo ( 6 x FEC). If I can work a few days then that will make my full pay sick pay last longer. I have had one session so far and went to work today as I am in week three before my next session on Friday. If I am able to do odd days depending on how I feel I don’t know how to work out my sick notes for work. If I am signed off as unfit for work then I cannot go in for legal and H&S reasons, but there doesn’t seem to be a flexible way of doing things so I can decide when I am well enough to work.

How has everyone else dealt with this? Ant suggestions please.




There’s a box on the sick note form that your GP can tick that says you’re OK to work with reduced/different hours/conditions. It’s used for phased returns, but should also cover your circumstances.

I managed to work almost normally for two weeks each cycle (apart from one).

Good luck.

Hi Jules

I went back to work after my second chemo with the fit note ticked on the ‘amended duties’. My work was great and when I could get in they were really pleased and made every effort to ensure that I was not stressed or made to do anything I couldn’t do. I was able to have days off as and when needed. Doing it this way has meant that I have only taken about 60 days off including post=op recovery following mastectomy in January, so still on full pay.

Discuss with your GP because he/she can also make annotation on sicknote regarding restricted hours etc.

Karen x

The new Statement for Fitness to Work (replaced sick note last year) has a ‘not fit for work’ and a ‘may be fit for work’ section. Your doctor may be able to fill in the ‘may be fit for work’ section and put in that you must be allowed to rest as required and can’t do full days/ physical work, etc. You would need to discuss the best wording with your doctor.

Hopefully this might get you round it. I used to just take 1 week off, under self cert, then work the remaining 2, but we have a very good flexitime system at my place, so I could go home when I wanted.


My onc was very flexible and was happy for me to work when I could, so she dated my sicknotes/certificates with whatever date I asked for. She wrote me a new one after each chemo to last as long as I thought I would need. Work were fine and happy for me to work when I could.

I had a nasty infection after FEC1 so didn’t go back then but planned to go back a week and a half after FEC2, to work the remaining week and a half until FEC3. I did this and was fine, but if I hadn’t felt fit she’d just have written me another certificate.

I was then off for another week and a half, then went back to work until Tax 1. I did the same again for Tax 2 but I was far too tired by this time and the chmo nurses told me off and told me to stop, so then I had a certifcate signed to take me to the end of rads.

Each time I went back after chemo (3 times in all) the first five days of absence were done as self-cert, then the sick note took over so it was all covered legally.

This gave me almost an extra 4 1/2 weeks of work so I didn’t slip to half pay (I could have 6 months off sick on full pay).

My official return date was two days after rads finished, but I took an extra week and a half off as leave so had two weeks off after rads. I didn’t dare use the full 6 months sick leave in case I’m ill before Christmas and need more time off as then I’d drop to half pay (my sick leave started on Christmas Eve, when I had my op).

If you managed to follow all that, the gist is that I had lots of short certificates rather than one long one!

Jane xxx

I went to work in between my chemo and had 4 days off for the chemo therefore I self certificated? those 4 days and didnt need a sick note. It also cut down my sick time and didn’t have to go to half pay. I also only went in reduced hours on medical grounds the days I went in but still got full pay. If I needed more than the 4 days I just got a sick note for that.

I don’t start my chemo until 2 November and my oncologist wants me to take the whole of the first cycle off. I was hoping to work between each chemo session and hope that I don’t need the whole of the first cycel off. I am not sure whether I should ignore the oncologist though. I’ve already used up all my sick days with the surgery so will now be on reduced pay so would prefer to work as much as possible. Should I discuss this with my oncologist or just do as I’m told (for a change!)?


I’d speak to your onc and ask him why, he must have a reason and I know the finances are a problem but I’d take his advice. Because of where I work my onc has told me not to return to work for the duration of my treatment!! Haven’t started chemo yet but am going stir crazy, things got so bad yesterday I cleaned the oven!!


L4W…cleaning the oven…you must be really bored! I’m hoping that if I am not too shattered I will be able to have a Lord of the Rings Day (yes I am a bit sad)

I will discuss it with my oncologist as she did say she would happily sign me off until Feb!! My face was a picture which is why she said she would sign me off for one cycle and see how I am!


Thanks for the comments ladies, I think I will aim to work maybe the last week of every cycle, certainly for the next couple anyway. Will get my doc to sign off for the other two. I have spent the last two days at work and have been pretty tired by about 3.30 so will see how it goes.

Take care everyone