The financial hardship caused by a cancer diagnosis; can employers do more?

A cancer diagnosis would cause almost three in four UK workers to struggle financially, new research has found. According to Macmillan, the average amount lost by 80% of families after a cancer diagnosis is £570 a month – impacting mortgage payments and other necessary expenditure.

The survey’s findings also reveal that two in five UK employees say they would be unable to meet essential payments including utility bills, the weekly food shop and mortgage or rent payments if faced with the £570 reduction in monthly income.

Only 18% of employees have some form of critical illness or income protection cover to help them financially if they developed a serious illness and the average UK employees’ savings of £3,292 would last less than six months.

The survey concludes that whilst cancer and serious illness treatment is improving, employees are not doing enough to plan financially and suggests that employers could consider their workplace benefits’ packages in this context. Many employers are seeking alternative benefits as a means of retaining valued staff and critical illness protection may be one benefit to be considered.

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