Employers lacking cancer carer policy – Axa PPP

Mental health stressHalf of managers say their company doesn’t have a formal policy for employees caring for close family members or dependents diagnosed with cancer, while 32 per cent of employees with a family member diagnosed with cancer did feel supported by their employer when the diagnosis was made, new research has found.

The figures come from a survey of 1,000 managers of employees who have had a family member diagnosed with cancer and of 1,000 employed people with a family member who has been diagnosed with cancer within the last five years. The survey was carried out by OnePoll in September 2015.

Axa PPP Healthcare has today launched a white paper, that makes practical recommendations to employers to help them support employees affected by the cancer of family members. It recommends employers:

  • Review and revise company policies and procedures to include carers.
  • Build awareness of cancer – the impact of living with the disease and caring for those who have it.
  • Consider introducing flexible working arrangements for carers.
  • Clearly communicate available workplace support – for example, confidential counselling, cancer nurse helplines and private healthcare cover.
  • Ensure that workloads are fairly managed across affected teams.

Figures from Macmillan Cancer Support show over 500,000 people in the UK combining work with caring for someone with cancer, yet 49 per cent of managers of employees with a family member diagnosed with cancer say their company does not have a formal policy for employees caring for close family members or dependents diagnosed with cancer, according to the Axa research. The research also found that 28 per cent of managers took it upon themselves to exercise their discretion and offer flexible working to employees with a close family member or dependent suffering from cancer.

Axa PPP Healthcare distribution director Chris Horlick says: “When someone is diagnosed with cancer, focus rightly turns to that person’s health and wellbeing. But it’s also important to remember the impact the diagnosis can have on the sufferer’s family. In addition to the emotional impact, family members may find themselves facing a host of additional pressures and responsibilities. Improvement in treatment is enabling many people affected by cancer to live longer lives with the disease held in check or even cured. While this is welcome, it means that the impact of having cancer in the family will continue to be felt for months and even years to come. There’s much that employers can do to support employees who find themselves in this situation. And, by doing this well, they’ll not only help employees through a difficult time, they’ll also help to maintain morale and productivity and retain valued employees.”