- Cancer Information
- Legal, work and financial issues
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Key questions about cancer and work
- Should I tell my employer?
Should I tell my employer?
Telling your employer that you have cancer is a personal decision. While there is no law that says you have to share the diagnosis with your employer, you do have some obligations. You must tell your employer about anything that will affect your ability to do the essential parts of your job, or could reasonably cause a health and safety risk for yourself or other people. For example, some medicines you are taking may affect your ability or safety at work.
You may decide to wait and only tell your employer if the cancer starts to affect your ability to do your job. Or you may decide to inform them right away so that you can work together to plan how to deal with the impacts on you and your workplace. Keeping the diagnosis secret may cause you unnecessary stress trying to cover it up.
Being open with your employer may:
- let you discuss the support you need and any changes that could be made to your work
- help you find out about any benefits you can access, such as additional leave or income protection insurance
- make it easier to organise flexible working arrangements or take time off work for appointments or treatment
- reduce the risk that any impacts on your work will be seen as poor work performance.
|If you want to keep the diagnosis to yourself, remember that information you share on social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, may be visible to your employer and co-workers.|
Kerryann White, Manager, People and Culture, Cancer Council SA; Nicola Martin, Principal, McCabe Curwood, NSW; Jane Auchettl, Coordinator, Education and Training Programs, Cancer Council Victoria; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Alana Cochrane, Human Resources Business Partner, Greater Bank Newcastle, NSW; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, North West Regional Hospital, TAS; Dianne Head, Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, NSW; Alex Kelly, Talent Acquisition Business Partner, Aon, NSW; Prof Bogda Koczwara AM, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Sharyn McGowan, Occupational Therapist, Bendigo Health, VIC; Jeanne Potts, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Michelle Smerdon, Legal and Financial Support Services Manager, Cancer Council NSW. We would also like to than the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.