Daffodil Day: How employers can support workers with cancer

Posted August 23, 2012, by Vivien Luu

Did you buy a yellow daffodil today on your way to work? They're bright, cheerful flowers that make you smile, and more importantly, by purchasing one you're helping the fight against cancer.

With Daffodil Day upon us, thoughts are firmly fixed on raising enough money to find a cure for cancer.

But employers can do much more than that.

The NSW Cancer Council is urging Australian employers to create supportive work environments for those battling against cancer, as more of the working population is expected to be diagnosed over the next decade.

'As the population ages, incidence of cancer is expected to continue to rise', Gillian Batt, Director of Cancer Information and Support Services, says.

According to the latest statistics released by the NSW Cancer Council, more than 40 per cent of cancer cases occur in people of working age (18-65). And over the next 10 years, approximately 7.7 million sick days will be lost to prostate and breast cancer in NSW alone.

Ms Batt says many cancer patients want to, and are capable of, working during and after treatment, while others may find it more challenging as treatment affects their working capacity.

'This does not mean cancer patients can't do a good job', Ms Batt says.

She says employers simply need to provide flexible working schedules to help make jobs more manageable for cancer patients and their carers, with the dual benefit being that business productivity remains at an optimal level.

'Small and practical steps can go a long way and can also boost morale, enhance your organisation's reputation and save hiring and training costs', Ms Batt says.

The NSW Cancer Council recently consulted employers across a range of industries to produce a resources toolkit to provide employers and managers with information on how to create supportive and flexible workplaces for those dealing with cancer.

Tips for employers and managers

Here are a few practical things you can provide as an employer to make things a little easier for employees affected by cancer:

  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Temporary adjustments to workload
  • Additional leave
  • Access to parking
  • Access to counselling
  • Return-to-work plan
  • Peer support system
  • Promote understanding of cancer among colleagues
  • Ergonomic assessment

For more information, visit www.cancercouncil.com.au.

Vivien Luu
Vivien Luu

Viv is a writer who enjoys researching and writing about creativity, how the human mind works, and neuro processes. She values creativity above all else and admires people who pursue their career dreams, no matter the sacrifice. In her spare time, she binges on HBO shows and epic fantasy novels.

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