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Lloyds is the latest big firm to sign up to terminal illness charter

The campaign encourages employers to acknowledge the importance a job can have in the life of a person with a terminal diagnosis

The Dying to Work charter has been developed by the TUC trade union body, as part of a campaign for employers to allow their workers to keep their jobs, as well as provide them with additional support, if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Lloyds Banking Group has become the most recent company to sign up to this charter.

Jacci Woodcock, an area sales manager for a textile design company, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in June 2012. She continued to work without even a day off for over a year, until she became utterly exhausted and asked to speak with the HR department at her work. Her employers unfairly questioned her ability to continue in her role, and began to try to force her out of her position and into unemployment. The TUC launched the Dying to Work campaign in response to Jacci’s unjust treatment.

The campaign encourages employers to acknowledge the importance a job can have in the life of a person with a terminal diagnosis. Not only can it provide a welcome distraction in daily life, but it can also be a relief to know that they have financial stability for as long as possible. To deny a person with a terminal diagnosis the right to work is undoubtedly going to add stress and anxiety to an already unbearably fraught time in their lives.

Lloyds Banking Group has recently signed the charter to support the campaign, along with many other public and private sector organisations. Those already signed up to the charter include Rolls Royce, the Royal Mail, the Co-operative Group, Legal & General and Santander.

Lloyds Banking Group’s people director, Rebecca Priestley, said that the firm is committed to providing specialist advice and support for its employees if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Lloyds has become a signatory in order to be there for its workers at a time when they need it most.

The charter encourages employers to support their staff through such traumatic times, instead of adding further stress to their burden. They are encouraged to help maintain the dignity of their workers, and to reinforce their right to decide what is best for themselves at that time, without financial worries. The Dying to Work charter campaigns for job security, for protection of employment and protection of death in service benefits. Employers are expected to review sick pay and absence procedures, as well as to provide the benefit of an Employee Assistance Programme, including counselling.

The TUC (Trades Union Congress) have 5.6 million members across the UK. Their Dying to Work charter is currently protecting over 500,000 people working in the UK with terminal diagnoses, and is, in turn, protecting their families. The Deputy General Secretary of the TUC, Paul Nowak, acknowledged the importance of Lloyds Banking Group becoming a signatory of the charter, and praised the firm for showing real leadership and support for its terminally ill workers.

With Lloyds Banking Group joining the campaign, in addition to the organisations and political figures already backing the TUC’s Dying to Work charter, this will raise the profile of the campaign further, and perhaps encourage more firms to support the cause.

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