Council commits to protect terminally ill employees

Colchester Council have added their name to a new charter aimed at helping employees who become terminally ill.

The charter, part of the TUC’s wider Dying to Work campaign seeking greater support and security for terminally ill workers, includes a ‘protected-period’ where employees cannot be dismissed because of their condition.

Employment policies in place at the Borough Council already contain elements of the Dying to Work campaign.

Laurie Heselden, from Trades Union Congress (TUC) East of England, said: “A person’s job security should be the least of their worries when they get the terrible news of a terminal diagnosis.?In fact, a person’s job should be a source of strength and support in such circumstances, and not another cause for worry and distress.

“The TUC is delighted that Colchester Borough Council has shown real leadership in this area, working with unions to guarantee fair and sensitive treatment for terminally-ill workers.

“Nearly a million workers are now covered by the TUC’s Dying to Work charter and we expect more employers to follow Colchester Borough Council’s example and to sign up in the coming months. And we know that the implementation of the Charter is making a real difference to the most vulnerable workers in our workplaces.”

Dying to Work was started 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.

Additional assurances to staff on how they would be supported and protected as well as guided information following a terminal diagnosis will now be added following the inclusion of the charter.

Cllr. Mark Cory (Lib), Leader of Colchester Council, said: “As signatories of 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 pastoral care and the reassurance of financial security while they cope with the stress of a life-limiting illness.

“We have always tried to support our staff in the best way we can, and this Charter further strengthens that commitment. The last thing anyone with a terminal illness needs to worry about is their job.”

Council officials now hope other employers in the borough will follow the council’s lead and sign up to the voluntary charter.