Download Working through cancer MP Draft Press Release

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Draft Press Release
[INSERT NAME] MP is calling on employers in [INSERT CONSTITUENCY] to play their part
in helping people diagnosed with cancer to stay in, or return to, work after treatment.
[INSERT NAME] MP has written to [INSERT CONSTITUENCY] top five employers to make
them aware of their responsibilities to staff affected by cancer under the Equality Act and to
highlight the help and information available from Macmillan Cancer Support. Over 100,000
people of working age are diagnosed with cancer every year.
The Equality Act, which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) on 1 October,
requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees affected by cancer.
These can include flexible working hours and changes to the working environment where
Macmillan Cancer Support launched its Working through cancer campaign to raise
awareness of employers’ responsibilities and the rights of people diagnosed with cancer and
their carers after research showed more than half of UK line managers (53 per cent) are
unaware that cancer is covered under the DDAi.
Sample quote
[INSERT NAME] said: “There are many people with cancer who want to work and it might be
that all they need are simple agreed changes to their working hours, work load or
environment. I’m working hard to ensure that constituents in [INSERT CONSTITUENCY]
affected by cancer are not discriminated against in the workplace and that they have all the
support they need to remain in or get back to work where possible.”
Macmillan’s guide to cancer and the Equality Act for employers is available from or by calling freephone 0808 808 00 00. Macmillan’s Making it
work report and help for employees with cancer can also be downloaded from the website.
For further information, please contact:
[add details of the MP’s office]
Notes to Editors:
109,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK according to
Cancer Research UK. Cancer incidence by age - UK statistics. This estimate is for 15-64 year
olds in 2007.
Over 700,000 people of working age are living with a cancer diagnosis according to Maddams
J, et al. Cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom: estimates for 2008. British Journal of
Cancer. 2009. 101: 541-547 and Cancer prevalence in the UK, 2008. This estimate is for 1864 year olds in 2008.
Some people want to work during or after cancer to regain a sense of normality in their lives,
others are forced to go back due to financial pressures. People with cancer may experience
side-effects of treatment such as fatigue or loss of concentration, the emotional impact of a
diagnosis including depression, or practical issues such as the need to take time off for
About the research
YouGov online survey of 2,281 UK line managers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26 July and 9
August 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are regionally
representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
Additional stats from the YouGov research:
 Over half of line managers (56 per cent) think the main barrier to support being offered to
employees in their workplace is a lack of awareness of the needs people with cancer have
 Almost three-quarters of line managers (73%) would find it helpful to receive information or
updates about how to deal with cancer in the workplace
The Equality Act in relation to cancer:
Under the Equality Act, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled people because
of their disability, in all aspects of employment, unless this can be justified. When a person is
diagnosed with cancer, they are automatically classified as disabled for the purposes of the Equality
Act, right from the point of diagnosis. Like the DDA, the Equality Act requires employers to make
reasonable adjustments for employees with a disability. Examples of the sort of adjustments an
employer should consider include allocating some work to another employee, making adjustments
to work buildings, being flexible about hours, and providing training or retraining for someone who
can no longer do their job. It also includes important new provisions to prevent discrimination arising
from disability, indirect discrimination, and discrimination against carers. It also restricts medical
questions being asked during the recruitment process.
The DDA is one of the Acts which will be brought together with other equalities legislation under the
Equality Act in October 2010.The main provisions of the Equality Act will come into affect in October
2010 with others to follow in 2011 and 2012.
About Macmillan Cancer Support:
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical,
medical, emotional and financial support.