Women With Breast Cancer Who Work For Accommodating Employers More Likely To Retain Jobs After Treatment

Blinder, V., Eberle, C., Patil, S., Gany, F. M., Bradley, C. J.

Breast cancer affects one in eight women across the United States, and low-income minority survivors of breast cancer are at increased risk of job loss, compared to higher-income white survivors. Employer accommodations, such as schedule flexibility, have been associated with job retention in higher-income whites, but the role of such accommodations in job retention among low-income minorities is not well understood. We conducted a longitudinal study of 267 employed women ages 18-64 who were undergoing treatment for early-stage breast cancer and spoke English, Chinese, Korean, or Spanish. We categorized patients by income level and by race/ethnicity. The category with the lowest job retention after treatment was low-income women (57 percent). Job retention varied widely by race/ethnicity, ranging from 68 percent among Chinese women to 98 percent among non-Latina whites. Women who had accommodating employers were more than twice as likely to retain their jobs as those without accommodating employers. Low-income women were less likely than higher-income women to have accommodating employers, however. More uniform implementation of accommodations across low- and high-paying jobs could reduce disparities in employment outcomes among workers with a cancer diagnosis. Additional research is needed to better understand the barriers that employers, particularly those with low-income workers, may face in providing accommodations.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): Cancer
Year Published: 2017
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