Jack Layton's planned time off to fight cancer won't permit him to return for the party's summer caucus meetings, which are scheduled a few days before he hopes to be back in the House of Commons.

A spokeswoman for the NDP leader says Layton handed over the caucus file to interim leader Nycole Turmel when she was selected to fill in, and confirmed that means he won't be at the Sept. 13-14 caucus in Quebec City.

Layton said when he announced he was taking time off that he wants to be back at work when the House of Commons returns on Sept. 19, a few days after the caucus is scheduled.

"There were no plans for Jack Layton to attend caucus. That was one of the files that was downloaded to Nycole Turmel," Kathleen Monk said.

"The target date has always been September 19 … and if he needs more time, no one will mind him taking it."

Monk said Layton talks to staff whenever he feels it's appropriate.

Layton "appreciates the support [and] is very thankful to Canadians," she said, and he's "doing well, taking it day by day."

Layton has also asked for privacy while he rests and recuperates, Monk said.