I appreciate that for many terminally ill people being asked to leave work because of their condition is a huge blow. That is why support is being provided to help ensure people who do receive such tragic news about their health can remain in their jobs for as long as possible. The Access to Work scheme provides funding for people with health conditions which impact on their working life, and some terminally ill people are able to get support to ensure 'reasonable adjustments' can be made for them to remain in work.
Patients who are assessed by their doctor as terminally ill can often claim support such as the Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance under the so-called 'special rules'. This means their claim will be fast-tracked, and they will get the enhanced rate of daily living component without having to undertake a face-to-face assessment.
'Protected characteristics' under the Equality Act do not convey an indefinite or unlimited right to remain in employment. Terminally ill people are already classed as disabled and thus are considered to have protected characteristics. This means that employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to a terminally ill employee's work pattern or workplace. If, however, an employer believes an employee is still unable to do their job even after these adjustments, they can ask that employee to leave. Any such decision can of course be appealed to an employment tribunal. No terminally ill person who is still able to carry out their job properly should ever have to leave work against their wishes.
I am confident that these provisions provide support for both businesses and individuals and ensure terminally ill people are treated fairly.
Last updated July 2019