First council signs up to ‘Dying to Work’ campaign

Sandwell Council has become the first local authority to sign up to the ‘Dying to Work’ campaign, designed to support terminally ill employees in the workplace.

The campaign has been launched by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to protect the employment of terminally ill people and ensure they get the support they need.

Sandwell has signed the ‘Dying to Work’ charter and has pledged to provide appropriate training to line managers and human resources staff to provide employees with peace of mind and the right to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families.

Council leader Steve Eling said: “We recognise that employees with terminal illnesses require support and understanding, and not the additional stress and worry about possibly losing their job.

“We will set out to support terminally ill employees following their diagnosis and to recognise that safe and reasonable work can maintain dignity and offer a valuable distraction.”

He added that the Council has always supported terminally ill employees, but welcomes the chance to back up this stance with the introduction of a formal Council rule.

Joe Morgan, GMB regional secretary and regional chair of the TUC Midlands, said: "I've seen lots of cases where GMB has had to provide advice and support to members in different industries who were fighting both a terminal condition and also the prospect of losing their job and financial security.

“This is clearly not acceptable and this is what the Dying to Work campaign is for. It's about giving people battling a terminal condition both choice and security.

“Choice in how to spend their final months and security knowing their job is protected and the future financial security of their family is guaranteed.

“By becoming the first local authority in the country to sign our Dying to Work Charter, Sandwell Council is making sure that these principles are put into action. Both GMB and the TUC welcome the council's decision and we hope this will inspire other employers in the region to work with us to implement the charter in more workplaces."