On the Job With Chemo

As you begin chemo, it’s reasonable to wonder what—and how much—to tell your employer. Keep in mind that you probably aren’t the first person to present this situation to your boss. If you work for a public agency, public or private school, or a company with more than 50 employees, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 protects you. It guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees to care for sick family members—or to take care of their own illness.

The FMLA allows workers to take this leave as they see fit. You can take all 12 weeks in a row, or take one or two weeks off at a time or you could cut back your hours. While you’re gone, your employer must safeguard your job. You may not be able to come back to the exact same position, but you should be able to return to an equivalent one.

If your job is not protected by the FMLA, you’ll have to negotiate with your employer. Consult with a social worker or your cancer care team. And it’s better to discuss this with your employer sooner rather than later.

Many people find that they’re able to work during chemo. As your treatment gets under way, gauge your physical and psychological response. If you can continue to work when you feel well, save the time off for when you need it most.

  Thriving During Chemo

5 Ways to Care for Yourself During Chemo
Keep Healthy During Chemo
20 Ways to Thrive During Chemo
Preparing for the Completion of Chemo
Working Through Chemo

More Chemo Basics

4 Reasons to Get Organized
Chemotherapy: Staying on Schedule
Your Rights During Treatment
On the Job With Chemo
18 Real Ways to Thrive Through Chemo!