Friends Life has introduced a new service to support Group Income Protection (GIP) members who have suffered from cancer and are ready to return to work or will need support to return to work in the future.
The package designed by rehabilitation experts Working Towards Wellbeing, has been piloted by the insurer for just under a year, and is now available to all new and existing customers, at no extra cost to GIP policies.
David Williams, director of group protection at Friends Life said that cancer was often seen as a "big taboo" for employers and employees to discuss in the workplace.
He warned that all too often cancer survivors felt isolated, whether they were actively at work or expecting a return to work in the future.
The service offers specialised work support, allowing employers to engage early with members to help them plan for a return to work. The scheme also ensures that employers fully understand how their employee's condition can impact them when returning to the workforce.
It is tailored to the individual and helps all parties in addressing any potential challenges in returning to work, to ensure employees have the right level of support for their needs.
Cancer-related illness is now the second most common reason for an income protection claims according to reinsurer Swiss Re.
Friends Life cited these results, saying the need for additional support for cancer survivors remaining in or returning to the workplace has never been so great.
Williams added: "This package enables employees returning to work after cancer to speak candidly about their discussion, allowing an open discussion with their manager and HR teams. This can help support their return to work by removing any concerns either party has about discussing a sensitive situation.
"The aim is to ensure that those returning to work after cancer do not feel isolated or ignored, but instead continue to feel a valued and member of staff."
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