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      How to handle a serious illness at work

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      Dealing with the doctor’s appointments and medical tests involved with a serious illness is difficult on its own before you even have to think about work. Here are some great tips to help you handle the implications your health could have on your performance at the office.

      Be honest – If you’re afraid that your condition will affect your ability to do your job, it’s important to be honest with your employer from the start. Explain the situation to them and be up front about your concerns, starting with your boss and the HR department. They can answer any questions you might have regarding sick pay, time off for appointments and any special arrangements you’ll need to make.

      Research – Don’t assume your HR department will have all the answers. Research your company’s policy on illness and any laws that can help you if you face discrimination. That way you don’t go into the situation blind.

      Get legal help – If HR isn’t much help, or you feel you’re being treated unfairly since informing your employer of your illness, consider getting an employment lawyer on your side to answer questions and represent you should the issues get worse.

      Ask for accommodation – Employment laws state that staff are entitled to reasonable accommodation in relation to disabilities and illness. If there’s something your company can do to make your job easier for you, don’t be afraid to ask.

      Talk to your doctor – Before you set yourself any unnecessary limitations, consult your doctor about what your illness means for your job. Ask them what you can do now to alleviate symptoms at work and what you can expect from a long-term illness.

      Think before you share – You will always have a right to privacy in the workplace. If you don’t want your colleagues to know about your illness, you don’t have to tell them anything. However, it might make it easier if you do. Letting them know about any limitations you have can help them set their expectations at an appropriate level.

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      Molly Dyson

      Former Editor – PA Life

      All stories by: Molly Dyson