5 employee benefits that could help support workers with cancer

Doctor and patient in consultation


Macmillan's annual Coffee Morning is the cancer charity's biggest fundraising event of the year. This year, the official date for the popular nationwide event is Friday 29 September.

People and businesses around the UK will host get togethers over coffee and cake to raise money for Macmillan and increase awareness of the amazing work the charity does to support people living with cancer.

Whether or not you’re hosting a company Coffee Morning, now could be a good opportunity to think about the ways that your firm could offer direct support to employees who may be suffering from cancer.

Employers have a duty to help employees manage the challenges brought about by cancer

Cancer can be life-altering. An employee who is diagnosed with cancer may find that their illness could affect their ability to work. As an employer, you have a duty to help them manage this challenge.

Crucially, it's illegal to discriminate against employees or job applicants with cancer. As a result, it's important that you make any necessary adjustments to help them do their job or remain at work.

If you've strived to create a caring work environment, you probably have some benefits in place that could help.

Below, you can read about the types of benefit that might be helpful for a team member diagnosed with cancer.

5 employee benefits that could help support workers with cancer

1. Discuss the possibilities of flexible working

When diagnosed with cancer, it may be difficult for employees to decide if they should carry on working, especially when facing an unknown amount of time for treatment and recovery. Some may need to keep working for financial reasons. For others, work may serve as a useful distraction.

The type of cancer someone is diagnosed with, and the treatment required, will likely dictate whether they are able to continue to work. However, flexible hours are something that employees may ask about and you’re legally required to consider.

Flexible working may allow more freedom to attend daytime hospital appointments or provide ample recovery time following treatment.

2. Remind them about their employee health cash plan benefits

Providing a health cash plan to your staff can be a great way to improve workplace wellbeing and provide all staff with useful tools to help them care for their health.

While there are a variety of health cash plans available, essentially, they provide an annual allowance that individuals can use to claim cashback on health benefits.

Typically, these include allowances for optician and dentists checks and physiotherapy treatment. Some plans also include hospital appointments.

3. Offer to pay for counselling sessions

Counselling could help someone sort out their thoughts and feelings following a cancer diagnosis.

For an employee with cancer, access to an experienced counsellor could help them find different coping methods. Since counselling is confidential, it can be a safe space for people to speak openly about their fears and concerns, without causing distress to their family and loved ones.

A good counsellor could help an employee:

  • Cope with their reactions to cancer
  • Deal with family and relationship issues
  • Explore personal issues
  • Sort out practical issues.

4. Provide access to free financial advice

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but financial advice could be incredibly useful and reassuring for an employee diagnosed with cancer.

Speaking to an expert when sorting out finances could bring peace of mind to a sick employee and their family. A financial adviser can help with investments and savings, pensions, and any insurance or claims that your employee may need to consider in the face of a diagnosis.

Illness can often cause people to fall into debt, so early financial advice could be crucial. If debt is already an issue, speaking to a debt specialist could help to avoid the problem spiralling out of control.

5. Consider setting up critical illness cover as a voluntary benefit

Adding critical illness cover to the list of benefits you provide could be a great way to show your employees that you care about their health and wellbeing.

A cancer diagnosis could lead to difficult life changes and upheaval. It may be necessary to take time away from work or, in some cases, retire earlier than planned. This can cause increased pressure on an individual’s emotional wellbeing and their finances at the worst possible time.

Critical illness cover pays out a tax-free lump sum if an employee is diagnosed with an illness or medical condition specified in the terms of the policy. The money can be spent however they wish, and could be used to:

  • Help pay medical bills
  • Adapt their home
  • Clear large debts such as a mortgage
  • Provide an income if they are absent from work for an extended period.

While sorting our group critical illness cover now may not help someone who’s already been diagnosed with cancer, it may prove invaluable to employees facing the same health crisis in the future.

Some companies opt to offer critical illness cover as a voluntary extra, but you may decide you prefer to offer it as a core benefit.

With a wide range of providers offering differing critical illness cover, we can help you understand which policy might be suitable and assist you in avoiding expensive premiums on insurance that doesn’t cover what you expected.

Get in touch

We’re here to help you understand how you can support your employees’ health and wellbeing.

Whether you want to know more about what your benefits package provides or would like to do more to support your team, please get in touch. Email info@aspirafp.co.uk or call us on 01454 632 495.

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