Date issued: 31 August 2018
Colchester Borough Council is set to add its name to a new charter aimed at helping employees who become terminally ill.
Members of the Cabinet will discuss the move when they meet on 5 September 2018.
The charter forms part of the TUC’s wider Dying to Work campaign which seeks greater support and security for terminally ill workers through, among other promises, a ‘protected period’ where they cannot be dismissed because of their condition.
While the council’s existing employment policies and Employee Assistance Programme already enshrine elements of the Dying to Work campaign, the charter offers additional assurances to council staff about how they will be supported, protected and guided throughout their employment following a terminal diagnosis.
The Dying to Work Charter states the following:
- We recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry
- Terminally ill workers will be secure in the knowledge that we will support them following their diagnosis and we recognise that safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a valuable distraction and can be therapeutic.
- We will provide our employees with the security of work, peace of mind and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families which helps them through this challenging period with dignity and without undue financial loss.
- We support the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign so that all employees battling terminal illness have adequate employment protection and have their death in service benefits protected for the loved ones they leave behind
The council’s Employee Assistance Programme, adopted in 2014, already offers support to staff 24-hours a day, seven days a week, with access to counselling on a range of issues including mental and emotional wellbeing, physical health and financial advice. Crisis support is also available to any member of staff who requires it.
Dying to Work was taken forward by the TUC following the case of Jacci Woodcock, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
Colchester Council hopes other employers in the borough will follow its lead and sign up to the voluntary charter, to stop cases like Jacci’s happening in the future.
Speaking ahead of the Cabinet meeting, Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “We have always tried to support our staff in the best way we can. The last thing anyone with a terminal illness needs to worry about is their job.
“By signing the Dying to Work Charter we commit to treating our staff with the dignity and respect they deserve, as well as providing them with the reassurance of financial security at the time when they need it most.”
Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Tim Young, added: “I am proud that we are leading the way for employers in the borough, by offering a clear pathway of support to staff coping with the stress of a terminal illness.
“This charter offers our employees the comfort of knowing we will do whatever we can to help them if anything happens.”
More information about the Dying to Work campaign can be found at www.dyingtowork.co.uk.