Pennine Care signs up to Dying to Work Charter
Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust (Pennine Care) has today (21 March 2017) voluntarily signed up to the Dying to Work Charter to support employees who are terminally ill.
Whilst the Equality Act 2010 does offer some protection for terminally ill employees, it still allows employers to dismiss a terminally ill staff member if they fail a capability assessment with ‘reasonable adjustments’.
The Dying to Work campaign, promoted by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), is calling for terminal illness to be made a protected characteristic, which would mean that an employee could not be dismissed as a result of their illness.
Upon signing the charter, Jose Fernandez, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Pennine Care, said: “Pennine Care already supports staff who are terminally ill with care and compassion, but it is not explicitly outlined in a policy. By signing up to the charter, our staff can be sure that the Trust would provide them with proper protection and support if they were diagnosed with a terminal illness. It allows them to have peace of mind knowing their job is protected and the future financial security of their family is guaranteed.”
The charter states the following:
- 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 in itself.
- 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.
Lynn Collins, North West TUC Regional Secretary, said: “We welcome the fact that Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust have committed to the Dying to Work Charter. Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis.
“Over 300,000 workers across the UK are now covered by the Charter. There is real momentum behind the campaign as we work to secure the dignity and protection that all terminally ill workers deserve.
“We hope and expect more employers to follow the Trust’s lead and sign the Charter as we take the campaign into more workplaces across the North West and, indeed, the rest of the UK.”
Pennine Care employs almost 6,000 staff across Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Glossop and Trafford. Staff work in a range of mental health services and services provided in the community.
For further information on the Dying to Work Charter visit www.dyingtowork.co.uk