St Catherine’s Hospice has signed up to a new national charter aimed at helping employees diagnosed with an incurable illness to continue working, if that is their wish.
The Dying to Work Voluntary Charter is a Trades Union Congress (TUC) initiative which sets out how employers can support workers with a life-shortening condition following their diagnosis.
The agreement aims to prevent unavoidable stress and worry in the workplace; recognise that safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a valuable distraction and can be therapeutic in itself; and provide employees with the security of work, peace of mind and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families with dignity, and without undue financial loss.
The signing took place at the Lostock Hall hospice and was attended by the charity’s chair of trustees John Chesworth, head of human resources Nikki Dobson, and nursing assistant John Jackson, along with Jay McKenna, TUC North West Policy Officer.
Nikki Dobson said: “Our aim at St Catherine’s is to help people with life-shortening illnesses to have quality of life, until the end of life. Our whole ethos is centred around supporting our patients to continue doing the things which they enjoy and value, from spending quality time with their family, to continuing hobbies and if they wish, remaining at work. This ethos of course extends to our own members of staff, so we welcome this Charter and are proud to support it.”
The voluntary Charter has already been signed by a number of other organisations including the energy company E-ON and The Co-Operative group, meaning that more than 900,000 workers across the UK are now covered by the Charter.
It is part of the TUC’s wider Dying to Work campaign which is seeking greater security for workers with incurable conditions through a ‘protected period’ where they cannot be dismissed as a result of their condition.
Jay McKenna, TUC North West, explained: “Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis.
“It’s great that St Catherine’s Hospice has signed up to the TUC Dying to Work Charter, working with unions to guarantee fair treatment for workers who find themselves in this position.
“We will be working to ensure that more employers across the North West, and indeed the UK, follow their lead and sign the Dying to Work Charter.”