6 Ways Companies Manage Workers with Terminal Illnesses

6 Ways Companies Manage Workers with Terminal Illnesses : The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every organization across the globe. HR professionals are coming up with new, improved strategies to overcome the crisis.

To rise to this one-of-a-kind challenge, HR personnel introduce remote work policies and ensure proper work-life balance to providing medical facilities.

It has also triggered a new debate that many employees could fall sick and need treatment for their medical illness at any given time. Companies are constantly evolving with increasing demands from their employees.

The health and welfare of each employee is their top priority. It is also crucial for organizations to develop strategies to cope with employees’ illnesses or diseases.

Here are some practical ways companies manage workers with terminal illnesses.

  1. Take ownership of your employee

    Terminal illness can be very upsetting for anyone. It can jeopardize the way one thinks and work. When you know that you will face a health condition with no cure, it affects you mentally and physically.

    Diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, or heart conditions fall under the category of a terminal illness. Sometimes, exposure to certain chemicals, dyes, or fumes at the workplace poses a threat to the workers.

    Chemicals such as radon, cadmium, asbestos, nickel, and benzene can increase cancer risk. Mesothelioma, in particular, is a kind of terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos and is developed in the lining that covers the body’s vital organs.

    Organizations that make asbestos cement sheets have a compensation plan like asbestos trust funds for employees’ treatment and medications.

    Occupational hazards cause occupational cancer. For instance, working in the mining industry, rubber and glass factory can put your life at risk. Factory workers are also exposed to carcinogens and can get terminally ill.

    Good companies and organizations take ownership of their employees’ problems, primarily if it is caused due to their occupation.

  2. Make changes to accommodate them

    As per a report, there are changing work patterns in place since the age limit of employees has increased considerably and therefore more senior citizens are doing 9-5 jobs.

    This has also given rise to employees who contract age-related diseases and need constant support. Contrary to popular belief, terminally ill people want to work and remain busy.

    They feel much better when they go to work and contribute positively. It is the responsibility of employers to provide the employee with appropriate furniture and other reasonable adjustments to deal with any kind of disability.

    For instance, if they need a wheelchair to commute to their workstation, provide them with one. Place adjustable chairs and footrests to make an arthritic patient more comfortable.

    Allow them to lie down on a sickbed during a break. Employees should feel comfortable working even if they are terminally ill.

  3. Have an open and honest conversation

    When you come across an employee diagnosed with a terminal illness, encourage an open dialogue with them.

    Communication is the key. Don’t make them feel uncomfortable and uneasy. If they don’t want to share anything with the HR department, they would be more comfortable sharing with other senior members, friends, or someone they trust.

    Give them time to take their decision of continuing work or quitting. It is possible that they do not know the nature of their illness. Allow them to come to terms with their condition.

    Check with your employee often to help them deal with emotional stress. Remember, they are going through a hard time. A minor concern and act of kindness will go a long way.

  4. Provide financial assistance

    Terminally ill employees might need to go for regular checkups and doctor visits. Understand their needs and facilitate them accordingly.

    Provide loans and financial assistance wherever necessary. Giving them clarity about what they should expect from the company relieves unwanted stress and anxiety.

    Let them know if they are entitled to sick leaves and other facilities. Some organizations provide flexible work hours and work-from-home facilities for employees diagnosed with a terminal illness.

  5. Review the employee’s workload

    As the disease progresses, it affects the physical attributes of your employee. They face problems with focus and concentration.

    The debilitating pain of their disease makes it challenging to handle the work pressure. Take a look at their workload and delegate it to other employees.

    It also teaches a sense of ownership among other employees and develops empathy in them. Have an open discussion with them. Ask them clearly where they need help. If they are comfortable with other colleagues helping them finish tasks, provide them with a few helpers.

    You can also hire a couple of interns who will learn not only to get first hands-on experience but will provide genuine support to the terminally ill employee.

  6. Be aware of the signs and symptoms

    Although you are not a medical expert, read a bit about the illness. It is good to know about the symptoms and how the disease spreads.

    Facilitate the employee accordingly. When you know the signs of progression, you will be able to provide them with the right kind of support.

    For instance, an arthritic patient has stiff knees and back during the cold winter season. You may give them a work-from-home option during that time.

    Check with the employee from time to time to know about their welfare. Drop them a message or give them a call.

    When an employee takes some time off work, it is an excellent gesture to keep in touch. It sends a strong message to other members of your team that you value each employee.

    It positively affects your business. Having a supportive work culture where employees are dealt with care encourages loyalty. It goes a long way.


Go the extra mile to facilitate the employees who are terminally ill. It will improve the quality of life of the employee and benefit your business in the long run.

When you are compassionate towards your employee, it will create a culture of empathy. This will boost the employees’ morale, improve the organization’s culture and build loyalty.

When other workers see how well the company treated a sick employee, they will know the company genuinely cares about their employees. It is a good policy to make your employees loyal and connected.



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