Breast cancer treatment can cause financial strain and worry. In addition to your normal everyday expenses, you may have extra costs for medical treatments and tests.
I had a month off after surgery and reduced my full-time hours to two days per week. This conserved some of my sick leave, and ensured I had some income coming in. This was my manager's suggestion.
Some people take a break from work during breast cancer treatment and recovery. Others choose to continue working, either to support themselves financially or to help normalise their situation.
Before choosing what’s best for you, consult the following information sources to assist with your decision making:
After your diagnosis you may need to take time off:
If you're working when you are diagnosed, your financial situation, the type of work you do and how you feel physically and emotionally will affect if and when you choose to go back to work. Taking time off work can mean less income. However, you may be able to alter your work type and hours to accommodate your needs.
Ensure you are aware of your rights at work and your eligibility to change your work arrangements.
If you choose to stay at work, be sure to talk with your employer about:
It is important to seek expert advice before making decisions about leaving work all together. There may be implications on financial supports and entitlements depending on your situation.
For further information, the following resources are available:
For information on dealing with finances and debt contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
For free financial counselling visit MoneySmart.
For free financial counselling for those living in rural areas visit Rural Financial Counselling Service.
For assistance with a functional assessment at work or a rehabilitation plan, see Occupational Therapy Australia.
Causes of financial stress and ways to manage it.
Making decisions about work and understanding your employee rights when you are diagnosed with breast cancer is important
If you are self-employed, you may need financial advice or support to continue your business during breast cancer treatment
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When your employee is off work for breast cancer treatment, create a 'return to work' plan so you can discuss and agree the best way forward
Sharing your breast cancer diagnosis with your employer can be difficult. This information can help you through the process