Over half a million workers are now covered by the TUC’s Dying to Work Charter, which guarantees rights for workers facing a terminal diagnosis. The milestone was reached as Royal Mail Group signed the charter today (Wednesday,).
Royal Mail joins fifty other employers who have signed the charter, including Santander, Legal and General, the Co-op, universities, local authorities, and various public bodies. Energy company E.ON was the first to sign in April 2016.
The charter is part of the TUC’s wider “Dying to Work” campaign which is seeking greater security for terminally-ill workers.
The campaign began following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 59-year-old 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 the voluntary charter to stop cases like Jacci’s happening in the future.
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said:
“Your job should be the least of your worries when you get a terminal diagnosis.
“Royal Mail has shown real leadership in this area, working with unions like the CWU to guarantee fair treatment for terminally-ill workers.
“Over half a million workers are now covered the Dying to Work charter, and we expect more employers to commit in the coming months.”
Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, said:
“Everyone experiences terminal illness in a unique way, and at Royal Mail we want to ensure that any of our people diagnosed with such an illness is supported at work through a tailored and flexible approach. Signing up to the Dying to Work Charter builds on the policies and guides we already have in place to help employees, and their direct families, if they receive such a diagnosis.
“We also understand the impact of a terminal condition on the affected employee’s family and work colleagues. We provide employee assistance services, which include counselling, through our First Class Support service. This is free of charge and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for them and their families. Our unique Rowland Hill Fund benevolent fund can also provide financial support to cover unexpected costs related to a terminal illness.”
CWU National Health, Safety and Environment Officer, Dave Joyce, said:
“This is an important event today and a proud day for CWU and for Royal Mail, one of the UK’s biggest employers, to be signing the ‘Dying to Work’ Charter. My union has supported this campaign from its inception and our Conference unanimously backed its aims. “Dying to Work” tackles the issue of the rights and protection of workers with terminal illness and this Charter ensures that those workers facing a terminal illness diagnosis are not denied the choice of continuing work or how to spend their final months or years. That is, with dignity and being able to continue at work if they so wish.
“Royal Mail in its role as a good employer is committing to support employees in such circumstances, providing those employees, our members, with support and the continued security of work, peace of mind, the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families, without financial loss and guaranteeing protection of their death in service benefits for the loved ones, they sadly leave behind.”