There are many reasons why someone diagnosed with cancer may need to miss some work. Whether it’s to step away from their desk to have a phone call with their healthcare provider, take time off for a medical appointment or spend some time during the day managing side effects from treatments, it’s important for patients to be strategic in their approach.
The Muse published an article on the best way to ask for time away from work. Below are a few of their suggestions.
Set Expectations Early
You’re not required to disclose your diagnosis at work; however, notifying your boss early on that you are experiencing a health issue may enable him/her to better understand your situation. And while you need not share all the details, giving him/her an idea of what you’re going through can be helpful.
Tell Your Employer As Soon As You Know
Once you realize you’ll need to be away from work, notify your supervisor/team, so they have time to prepare. It’s best to be proactive, if you’re able, as it will demonstrate to them how responsible you are.
Allow Room for Discussion Later
If you’re unable to plan in advance for time off and need to ask at the last minute, be sure to revisit the conversation later, so you can better explain yourself. For instance, once you’re back in the office, reiterate to your boss how much you appreciated his/her flexibility, and assure him/her that you can continue to be trusted and relied upon as an employee. If it makes sense and feels appropriate, you might also explain why this time outside of the office was important to you. (But again, remember that you do not need to disclose details regarding your diagnosis.)
Have a Plan to Do the Work
When asking for time off, always be prepared to answer how you will get your work done, and make sure to follow through with that plan. Doing so will help reassure your boss that he/she can count on you going forward.
You’ll also want to think carefully about how you intend to make the request for time off. When you submit your request, be specific about the dates and amount of time you need, as well as what you plan to do to make up for your time away. It can also help to convey that you’ve taken into account what has already been scheduled for that time (e.g., project deadlines, meetings, colleagues’ vacations). And if at all possible, be flexible with your request.
Finally, keep in mind that you may be entitled to take time off through the Family Medical Leave Act. To learn more, click here.
The Muse provides templates to help with drafting a request for time off. To view them, click here.