Amy K. on April 1, 2023
I have been with my employer for 25 years however, last year there were massive layoffs, including in my department where 30 % of the staff were laid off, including the other two associates who had the same job as me. While I feel guilty that my coworkers were laid off, I am happy I survived and still employed, especially as I am currently a cancer patient undergoing immunotherapy treatment. However, if there is ever another round of layoffs, which is a possibility, what are my options as a cancer patient in my late 40's in treatment? While I hear so many in other departments talking about leaving for other positions, I know my situation is very different as if I stay until something happens, I have FML as well as time banked for my appointments and treatments. I know getting a new job may be difficult with all my appointments and even if I could get another job while undergoing treatment, I would have time banked or FML until I work 1250 hours with the new employer. If I am laid off, what options to I have to make sure I have insurance? I heard there is Cobra or ACA? Would I be eligible for disability? I assume I would be eligible for unemployment? How would looking for new employment work with my medical situation. I want to continue to work as I am physically able to.
Nicole Jarvis, LMSW
Apr 3, 2023
Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:
Thanks so much for reaching out. I'm sorry to hear there's been so much upheavel at work but am glad you were able to get through the last round of layoffs. With that said, I can imagine it's really stressful to wonder if you'll be "next". Since there does remain some uncertainty, it's reat that you're taking the time to gather information and be prepared in the event a big change does come your way.
Unfortunately, your leave/time off banked through FMLA at your current job does not transfer to a new one, so that would be something you'd have to accrue in a new role. There is the possibility of asking for time off as a a reasonable accommodation in a new position, if you needed to take time out for appointments. It is NOT impossible to get a new job when you're in active treatment, but it's a good idea to figure out what your needs are in advance, what you feel is realistic for you at this time, and what roles d o exist that fit with your needs and limitations are. Exploring Flexible Work options can be helpful to understand some of the perhaps less conventional roles that exist are. Take a look at our article on Job-Hunting After Cancer Treatment to familiarize yourself with some of the more nuanced considerations to take into account when looking for a job during an after cancer.
As for insurance, it would be a good idea to explore if COBRA is offered (could you be in touch with someone who was laid off to hear about what was offered to them in their departure?) otherwise you can look into the ACA as well. We have some general information in the Legal & Financial section of our website, and our articule on Health Insurance Legislation. If you're looking for a bit more in-depth information regarding health insurance, including the options and availability of disability insurance and your eligibility, take a look at Triage Cancer's website.
We're always happy to continue this conversation and brainstorm if that would be helpful. Feel free to reach out to email@example.com to set up a time to connect.
Nicole Jarvis, LMSW
Assistant Director of Programs
Cancer and Careers
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