Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, has signed the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ charter this week, to support and protect any of his employees who become terminally ill.
The Dying to Work campaign was set up by the TUC following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. The campaign is calling for a change in the law to prevent the same thing happening to other working people.
Hove MP Peter Kyle said: “Workers should be able to expect support at an incredibly distressing time, and I am proud to have signed the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ charter to protect my employees. I will also be encouraging businesses in Hove and Portslade to follow suit and sign up to the TUC’s voluntary charter.
“In addition, I will be pushing for the Government to take action to ensure that every individual with a terminal illness receives the protection and support they deserve.”
Since its launch in April 2016, the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ Voluntary Charter now protects over half a million employees in companies such as Santander, Co-Op, Rolls Royce, Weetabix, Royal Mail and E.On. A number of public sector bodies including NHS trusts, police authorities and many local authorities have also signed up alongside trade unions and charities.
TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “Serious illness is tough enough without having to put up with extra hassle at work. Everyone can surely agree that terminally-ill workers deserve protection.
“That’s why unions, MPs, employers and charities are coming together to ensure that workers get the support and protections they need when times are toughest.”
A Survation poll of over a thousand people found in March last year that 79% of respondents support a ‘protected period’ for terminally ill workers where they could not be dismissed as a result of their condition. Only 3% opposed the ‘protected period.’
Under the Equality Act 2010, employees in the UK cannot be dismissed because of their age, disability, race and pregnancy & maternity etc. These are known as ‘protected characteristics’ and the TUC proposes adding terminal illness to the list to prevent discrimination and unfair dismissal.
The TUC Dying to Work Voluntary Charter states:
- 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.
You can read more about the campaign and how to sign your employer up here.