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Council signs charter to show its support for staff with terminal illness

Dying to Work

North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) has joined organisations from the public and private sector in signing the TUC’s Dying to Work Charter.

This public declaration shows the council’s commitment to supporting staff who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

With a workforce of around 700, the authority usually employs at least one person who is dealing with a terminal illness at any one time. The authority joins the likes of Rolls Royce, EON and Leicestershire County Council in signing the charter.

The NWLDC Dying to Work Charter – which was signed on Tuesday 14 November 2017 by Chief Executive Bev Smith, Council Leader Richard Blunt and union representatives from Unison, Unite and GMB, as well as the TUC – declares that the council will:

  • Recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry
  • Support terminally ill workers following their diagnosis and recognise that safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a valuable distraction and can be therapeutic in itself
  • Provide its 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
  • 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 loves ones they leave behind.

Bev Smith, Chief Executive at NWLDC, said: “We have sadly had to support a number of colleagues through terminal illness and a proud of the support we have been able to offer. Signing this charter is our public declaration that we will provide choice and individual support to any of our staff who are dealing with terminal illness, depending on their own choice about what's best for them.

“You cannot underestimate the importance of maintaining normality when your life is turned upside down by a terminal illness diagnosis and this council is committed to walking alongside our staff making sure we are flexible, supportive and where we can make life easier, we will.”

Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of NWLDC, added: “Work is such a big part of our lives. Following a terminal diagnosis, our colleagues have the right to feel supported in their choices about what is best for them. We also want to go that step further and help those who work with anyone who receives a terminal diagnosis, as it’s important we are all aware of the things we can do to support, and also consider the impact illnesses can have on close colleagues and friends.

“Our commitment in signing the charter should be a message to other local authorities nearby and businesses in North West Leicestershire that we should all be providing this level of commitment and support to workers when they’re dealing with terminal illness. I hope others will follow our lead.”

Lee Barron, Regional Secretary of the TUC, said: “Our Dying to Work campaign is going from strength to strength as more good employers sign the charter and publically declare their support for workers following a terminal diagnosis.

“I’m pleased to see the high level support shown for this important commitment from NWLDC. They are an important part of the journey to having the Dying to Work campaign receive recognition on a national level.” 

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