Cancer, Northern Ireland, Consultant discussed on Talking Cancer
Guidance on shielding in August of this year, which means shielding has now been paused so that means in practice you can go to work and if you cannot work from home as long as there's business is what they call covert safe now and it's important to note that this guidance is advisory. So what I would suggest, you know, the first step really is you should just first of all have a discussion wage Employer and agree your plan for returning to work. Now where you work is a question mark you know, so as I've said with the previous series, you know under the equality act which applies in England Scotland and Wales and the disability Discrimination Act which applies in Northern Ireland. Your employer has a legal obligation to make what we call reasonable adjustments to help you assemble with cancer to stay home work and that could be a variety of different things including helping you to work from home. So I suppose what to say to people if people are not feeling safe have that discussion with the employer employer particular with your line manager as your first point of contact and discuss the situation discuss what they're doing in the business what measures they're taking to make the workplace code would safe and if you're still not fitting that that's a safe environment for you, then I'd suggest, you know, you talk to your employer about alternative working Arrangements if that's possible. This is all in an Ideal World with a reasonable employer wage. And a job that you can drive to and get out of the car and get you know and get straight into the office. What about for those people who are contacting that Millions support line because they're they're genuinely worried about returning home after furlough. They might not be in such an accommodating place of work or a practically easy place of work to get to having to use public transport, for example, so what page first of all is actually really try to understand the risk and my first suggestion would be if you're speak to your clinical team. Now if somebody is going thru cancer treatment and and hopefully they'll be able to talk to their Consultants or their nurse specialist if they have access to one and the clinical team should be able to advise you on your health risk based on your condition and you are treatments and everybody's going to be different and this is something that's important to understand just because you have cancer doesn't necessarily mean that you're all automatically at higher risk. It depends on your type of cancer where you are in your tree log. Journey so it's important really first of all, I think to you know, find out the right information. So you understand the health risk for you. If you don't have access to your consultant or a nurse specialist also, you could find your g p and thought you to be about your condition and what you know things you need to be concerned about because again, not everybody will be in the same position. So it's really important to try and for yourself find out what the risks are for you then I would suggest that the next step then would be to go and talk to your workplace. Now. Your first point of contact is always your line manager there there the person that you know are responsible for you. And so you should talk to them about, you know, the information you get from your your clinicians your GP about the risks that you face and then talk to them in detail about you know, what measures they're taking in order to protect you as a worker in that business now, they have a duty and an obligation to provide, you know a safe environment for you as an employee. And so they need to take that very month. Seriously now, you know, there are also other people that you could talk to in the business as well now depends very much on the size of the business and the type of the business but there will be some businesses that would have health and safety officers that you can speak to they'll be others where you have access to what we call Occupational Health which are you know health services that are attached to a business and you could ask for a referral to your Occupational Health practitioner and they should be able to then advise you and the headline manager about what sort of adjustments would need to take place in order to help you to get back into the workplace. So there are some steps that you can take I'm not saying that everything I say here is going to absolutely help every single person out there with their own scenario, but I'm hopeful that it will help people to know what steps to take in order to be able to take control of the situation for themselves so that they understand the risks and what they can do as an employee to support themselves. I guess that you know birth. Taking back control thing is is is comes back again and again and again when we talk about cancer diagnosis and and arming yourself, I guess with the facts as well. That was there's really interesting thing that you said about, you know, making sure that you are in, you know in possession of your risk level and so it's not kind of something that's a bit amorphous for your employee. It's actually you know, here we are. This is it and it makes life a lot easier. If you go as informed as you possibly can to that conversation, it seems yeah, absolutely, you know, the more you know about what you need to protect your health the better position you'll be in to be able to have a conversation with your employer and hopefully your employer will be reasonable and we'll try and support you every you know, every worker has a value and and nobody wants to you know lose people unnecessarily and I'm sure there are lots of lots of efforts that are being made by employers. You mentioned reasonable adjustments. Can you just sort of pick that apart a little bit about what else that might look like a part-time job? Social distancing in an office space and hand sanitizer everywhere. What else might you be able to have a conversation about? Yeah. Well again just to State again. There's the equality act in in that applies in England Scotland Wales and disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland and those pieces of legislation say that your employer must make reasonable adjustments when would work place or work practices puts you at a substantial disadvantage because you have cancer and now and that is compared to other colleagues who do not have cancer. So what this means practices that your employer needs to think, you know creatively and you can think as an employee creatively about what sort of changes could be made to allow you to stay at work. Now the context of coronavirus these can be you know, flexible working arrangements. So for example, you know, let's think about if you were traveling to a job, but you didn't want to travel at rush hour because there will be more people. On and increases your risk then a flexible working arrangement might mean travelling later in the morning or coming back late earlier in the evening or later in the evening. Whatever works for you in order to be able to walk to do your job. There's also very good scheme. They're out there called access to work. It's a government scheme and they can pay for certain types of adjustments and it's called government jobs. Best kept secret in many ways because it's a it's a scheme there that the employer and and use an employee can look into to see if it can cover things like travel you might be able to wage claim for maybe first class train travel for example, or pay for taxis to and from work. If you're feeling that that will protect you and give you more security and that is a reasonable adjustment to suck you to stay in your employment changing work patterns shift patterns providing access to things like software and equipment from home so that you'd be able to do your job from home giving you the song. The computer is everything else that you might need in order to be able or even Wi-Fi access to Wi-Fi. So I suppose the important thing is to remember that anything could be considered an adjustment anything that allows you to keep a job could be considered but it must be reasonable what's reasonable for one employer might not be reasonable for another employer. It kind of depends on you know, how big is your business? You know, the finances the sort of adjustment that you're actually asking for so it's it's it's very like it's very specific to that kind of situation that you're in. So again, you know your relationship as an employee if you have cash with your line manager is so important but knowing your rights I think gives you again the confidence to know what you can approach and what you could talk to your employer about and that's hugely important choice. Absolutely, I guess as well the reality of coronavirus and the pandemic is that not everybody will be having as positive and experience in the workplace. We would hope and if people do end up having money worries, they are there other places that they can turn to what should they be doing initially now McMillan has a range of really great services that can support people with cancer. We have a wonderful team of financial guides and they can explain lots of options available and things that need to think about and things that you need to do so they can cover things like your budgeting and you're planning mortgages what to do with mortgages. Maybe you need to take a mortgage break for a while. They can support you about what song versation so you need to have with your building Society or your bank. They provide you information on your pension. For example, if you want to take early retirement Insurance options issues around Financial products is overdrafts. And also if you have debt and how you would manage your death in the unfortunate outcome that you lose your job. We have a team of fantastic welfare advisors who offer home Ice on benefits and other types of support that you might be able to Avail on such as you know council tax breaks as well. And then we've a team a small team of energy advisers who can talk to you about you know, how did you pay your gas or electricity or water bills, you know, and they're really really great team as well to to call and all of these services are available on the Mac Miller and support line, which is a free confidential find that anybody can call. I think there is some tangible Rising tension as well about the the job retention scheme finishing the end of October at people might be terribly worried about a thousand C's at this time. Oh, absolutely. So well the job retention scheme as as you said or the further scheme it's as it's known ends on the 31st of October 2020 now to end for a low employers should give stuff notice in writing if they're going to end the first game and there's no minimum notice. For furlough but employers they should talk to staff about The plant stand for as early as possible and they need to encourage staff to raise any concerns. They have about or problems around returning to work. So that's that's hugely important. Is there anything replacing it that's planned? Yes. So there's a new scheme called the job support scheme. Now, this is a is a scheme. It's designed to protect what they call viable wage jobs in businesses. There are businesses who are facing a lower demand over the winter months because of covet and it's there to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. Now the scheme is on the 1st of November and it runs for six months so over the winter. So what happens in that scenario is that the company will continue to pay the employee for the time worked but the cost of the arrows not worked. So there's not that they're not working. They will be split three ways between the employer between the government and the employee so the government will wage. Up to I think it's about a third but to a certain cap and the employee would obviously pay a bit too through wage and reduction but the whole point is trying to enable the employee to keep their job. Now the scheme isn't as generous as the previous job pretentious game, but you know your employer may be may try to take advantage of that, you know, if they're facing difficult because of covert over the the next six months. It's a really really difficult time isn't it? And I think in you know where so much is in certain and there is so much with worry and concern on top of a cancer diagnosis having such clear.