Charter protects rights at work for those facing a terminal illness

Leeds Hospitals Charity has today (Wednesday 8th June 2022) added its name to a charter aimed at helping employees who become terminally ill at work.

The Charity of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the latest employer to sign up to the Dying to Work Voluntary Charter, following in the footsteps of employers such as Rolls Royce, Royal Mail and the Co-op.

The Charter is part of the TUC’s wider Dying to Work campaign which is seeking greater security for terminally ill workers where they cannot be dismissed as a result of their condition. It was signed this week by Leeds Hospitals Charity Chief Executive, Esther Wakeman, and TUC Regional Secretary, Bill Adams.

Dying to Work was taken forward by the TUC following the case of Jacci Woodcook, an area sales manager from Derbyshire who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

The TUC is asking employers to sign up to its voluntary charter to stop cases like Jacci’s happening in the future.

Leeds Hospitals Charity Head of Workforce Development, Michelle Wood, said:

“Leeds Hospitals Charity is proud to be signing the Dying to Work Charter on behalf of our 60 employees.

“Every person battling terminal conditions deserves the choice of how to spend their final months. When staff are faced with such a tough diagnosis, we are committed to ensuring that they are treated with respect in a supportive work environment.

“We also recognise that if staff want to continue working, safe and reasonable work can maintain dignity and offer a therapeutic distraction.”

TUC Yorkshire and the Humber, Regional Secretary Bill Adams, said:

“Your job should be the least of your worries when you get a terminal diagnosis.

“I’m delighted that Leeds Hospitals Charity has shown real leadership in this area, working with unions to guarantee fair treatment for terminally-ill workers.

“We now have a million workers being covered by the Dying to Work Charter across the country, and we expect more employers to commit in the coming months.”

About the Charter

A list of Charter signatories can be found here: https://www.dyingtowork.co.uk/whos-signed/

The TUC Dying to Work Voluntary Charter states:

  1. We recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry.
  2. 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 in itself.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

More information about the Dying to Work campaign can be found at www.dyingtowork.co.uk