Neath Port Talbot Council has become the first organisation in Wales to formally sign a voluntary charter which aims to secure the rights of workers diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign is asking organisations to sign a charter which sets out an agreed process to support, protect and guide employees who have been given a terminal diagnosis.
The charter recognises that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry.
It also aims to give terminally ill workers security over the support they will receive following their diagnosis and recognises that safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a valuable distraction and can be therapeutic in itself.
Under the Charter employees will have 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 a challenging period with dignity and without undue financial loss.
Supporting the campaign also aims to ensure 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.
Neath Port Talbot is the first organisation based in Wales to sign the charter, following many UK-wide trade unions, several private companies such as E.on, Legal and General, Santander and a number of councils in England and Scotland.
Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council Cllr Ali Thomas OBE said: “Receiving a terminal diagnosis is an extremely difficult and distressing event for any individual and their loved ones. This charter outlines a clear pathway of support for the employees of organisations that sign up to it and I am proud that Neath Port Talbot Council is leading the way for employers in Wales”.
“Neath Port Talbot Council, in partnership with our trade unions, already strives to take an individualised and supportive approach towards employees who find themselves in this position and in signing this charter we reaffirm our commitment to supporting their needs with understanding and sensitivity”.
Sian Cartwright, Wales TUC said “I’m delighted that Neath Port Talbot Council and its unions have signed up to the Dying to Work Charter.
Those who have experienced the terminal illness of a loved one know that the ability to make choices is imperative for self-worth and dignity in the face of the great challenge that they face.
Knowing that those choices have been respected is also a great comfort for the bereaved when the time comes”
That’s really what the Dying to Work Charter is about – it’s about choices.
Joint Trade Unions Committee spokesperson Mark Fisher said: “I am pleased that Neath Port Talbot Council is giving its backing to the TUC’s campaign to better support the rights of workers following a terminal diagnosis. In pledging support for the Dying to Work Charter an employer is demonstrating their recognition of the key role that they play in protecting the wellbeing of their workforce and their dependants”.
For more information on the Dying to Work campaign and to find out how your workplace can sign up to the charter visit www.dyingtowork.co.uk