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Work-life balance is something we all strive for, but it can become difficult for those dealing with an illness to juggle work responsibilities while receiving medical care. Many people aren’t able to take time away from work because they can’t afford to or because their health benefits are keeping them there. In fact, a recent study found that 1 in 3 cancer patients experience what’s known as job lock—not leaving a job because of the fear of losing health benefits. 

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Whether you decide to take time off from work to prioritize your health or decide to continue working during your illness, it’s important to know the laws that protect your rights as an employee. There are a few important laws in place that require employers to give you time off or provide you with reasonable work accommodations if you have a qualifying illness or disability. These federal laws include: 

  • Americans with Disabilities Act: This law protects employees from losing their job, prohibits discrimination against those with a qualifying disability or illness and requires employers to provide reasonable work accommodations to these individuals. 
  • The Rehabilitation Act: This law prohibits disability discrimination against workers in the federal sector, such as the U.S Postal Service. 
  • Family and Medical Leave Act: Under this law, employees can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected medical leave per year. 

Whether you’ve been faced with a cancer diagnosis or are suffering from a chronic illness, it’s important to communicate this to your manager. How much information you disclose is a personal decision, but letting them know about your illness can help them come up with reasonable work accommodations to make your job easier—such as a flexible work schedule or the ability to work remotely. 

Working while receiving medical care isn’t always easy, but the tips in the visual guide below can help you learn to maintain a healthy work-life balance even when faced with an illness. 

How to stay afloat at work while receiving medical care

Source: The Mesothelioma Center at

About the Author

Corey Doane is a digital content marketer who helps Asbestos create helpful and compelling content worth sharing. She has a passion for writing and loves creating content that covers health, lifestyle and wellness topics. When she isn’t working, you can find her at the beach or spending time with her family.

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