Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it had released New Resources for Workers Impacted by Cancer.
Cancer Moonshot week of action was the impetus for the new resources. The Cancer Moonshot initiative aims to reduce cancer’s death rate by accelerating treatment discovery. Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh, who announced the new DOL resources, is among those who have survived a cancer diagnosis.
The DOL’s New Resources for Workers Impacted by Cancer isn’t so much anything new, but instead, a compilation of existing resources to help workers living with cancer, their caregivers, and cancer survivors understand and use their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. These resources include:
- A fact sheet on taking FMLA leave from work when you or your family member has a serious health condition. The fact sheet explains when a mental or physical condition, such as cancer, meets the FMLA’s criteria as a serious health condition.
- An overview of workplace protections for individuals impacted by cancer. A new webpage helps workers with cancer, cancer survivors, and their family members navigate federal and state worker protections and employer-provided benefits to get time off work while dealing with cancer.
- A guide for talking to your employer about taking time off for family and medical reasons. Our new guide provides practical guidance for workers to talk with their employers about taking time off work to care for themselves or their loved ones. It’s a great resource to help workers find the words to say during potentially difficult conversations.
- Help for health care providers. This flier guides healthcare providers through FMLA rules concerning medical certifications. It’s a handy tool that medical professionals can use to ensure patients’ and family caregivers’ employment is protected as they deal with serious health conditions.
Click these links, and you won’t find much information focused on cancer diagnoses or treatment. Instead, the DOL has repurposed existing resources to guide employees with serious health conditions to obtain FMLA leave.
On the flip side, while these resources are not intended specifically for employers, they contain lots of information you can share or repurpose for managers and newer HR professionals to help guide them on the basics of FMLA leave and administration.
For example, there is information about having FMLA discussions with employees, including what employees do not have to say (e.g., “I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer.”) The DOL also includes information on the potential overlap between the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For even more information specific to employers to guide them through the FMLA, check out this, err, Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act.