Colchester Institute signs up to Dying to Work charter

Colchester Institute has signed a voluntary charter, making a commitment to employees to ensure that they are protected if diagnosed with a terminal illness.

UNISON rep Marisa Baker joined Colchester Institute Principal and Chief Executive Alison Andreas and University and College Union branch secretary John Pullen-Appleby to sign the TUC’s Dying to Worker charter at the Sheepen Road campus.

A million workers are now covered by the charter. It commits the college to ensuring that there is support in place for employees following diagnosis of a terminal illness and providing the reassurance that everything possible will be done to make sure that their situation is not made worse by work-related worries.

Ms Baker said: “The last thing anybody needs when they’re diagnosed with a terminal illness is to be thrown out of work as well. So Colchester Institute should be applauded for promising to do the right thing by its workers when they’re at their most vulnerable.

“Hopefully other schools, colleges and universities across Essex will follow this excellent example.”

Ms Andreas said: “Of course, our hope for all of our staff is that they will remain fit and well during their working life and enjoy long and rewarding retirements, but we recognise that if a terminal illness is diagnosed, this requires support and understanding, and not additional stress and worry.

“By signing the Dying to Work Charter, we commit to providing Colchester Institute staff with peace of mind around job security, and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves, and their families, to help them through difficult times, with dignity and without undue financial loss.”

The TUC praised Colchester Institute for signing up.

“A person’s job security should be the least of their worries when they get the terrible news of a terminal diagnosis,” said regional campaigns officer Laurie Heseldon.

“A million workers are now covered by the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work Charter’ and we expect more employers to follow Colchester Institute’s caring example and to sign up in the coming months. The Charter is making a real difference to the most vulnerable workers in our workplaces.”

And the UCU’s Mr Pullen-Appleby added: “We wholeheartedly welcome the college signing the Dying to Work Charter and hope others will follow suit.

“Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis and we believe this will provide significant reassurance to members of staff and their families if they ever have to face the trauma of a terminal illness diagnosis.”

The TUC Dying to Work campaign was launched after the death of Jacci Woodcock, a Derbyshire sales manager who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

You can find out more about the charter on the Dying to Work website.

Dying to Work Charter

We recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding and not additional and avoidable stress and worry,

Terminally ill workers will be secure in the knowledge that we will support them following their diagnosis, and we recognise that safe and reasonable work can help maintain dignity, offer a valuable distraction and can be therapeutic,

We will provide our 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,

We 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 loved ones they leave behind.