If you work, you may have already told your employer about your child's diagnosis. You can also ask your CLIC Sargent Social Worker to do this for you if you prefer. Try to let them know roughly how long you will be away if you can.

Managing work

You may also be wondering how you are going to manage work in the long term. The truth is, it probably won't be easy.

While work can give valuable structure to your life as you support your child through treatment, there may be times when it's simply not possible.

In this case, if you are an employee, you have certain rights. You may be entitled to take some unpaid leave and also to work flexibly.

"All I could focus on was my son. Things like work and bills I couldn’t deal with at all."

Time off for dependants

If you are an employee, you have the right to unpaid time off work to deal with emergencies involving a dependant, such as an unexpected or sudden crisis.

This time off can be used to deal with the immediate problem or plan how to handle it, but it can’t be used for long-term care. How much time off you can take will depend on your situation.

Parental leave

All parents are entitled to 18 weeks of parental leave. This is normally unpaid and is available for each child up to their 18th birthday.

You can take a maximum of four weeks in any one year unless your employer agrees otherwise. The general rule is that leave must be taken in weekly blocks. However, if your child is disabled (which is the case under the Equality Act for anyone with a cancer diagnosis), you should be able to take odd days off.

You will need to have worked for the organisation for at least one year. 

This scheme is different to the Shared Parental Leave entitlement for parents. 

Flexible working

Anyone can ask their employer to work flexibly, but if you have worked for your employer continuously for 26 weeks you have a statutory right to ask for flexible working.

You could ask to work from home, for example, or to work flexi hours or part-time.

Get the support you need

If dealing with your child's illness becomes too stressful and you are struggling at work, you could speak to your GP. They may suggest the option of a 'fit note'.

To find out more about your employment rights, speak to your CLIC Sargent Social Worker or contact CLIC Sargent's Welfare Advice Service on 0800 915 4439 or 

Where next?

Updated January 2018, next review due 2019.