Last week Denise Everitt, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, signed the Trade Union Congress (TUC)’s ‘Dying to Work’ Charter which seeks to offer additional protection to employees who are diagnosed as terminally ill.
The Charter represents the University’s commitment to support employees following their diagnosis in order to avoid added stress and worry. It provides security of work, peace of mind and gives the employee the opportunity to choose the best course of action for themselves and their families, helping them with dignity and without undue financial loss.
By signing the Charter, the University commits to supporting employees who are coming to the end of their life, giving them the freedom to choose whether to remain at work irrespective of their ability to fulfill all requirements of their contractual role.
“Many staff will be aware that the University has a long standing practice of doing its utmost to support colleagues who are terminally ill. We all recognise the vital role that work can play in establishing some normality, security and social support when colleagues and their families have to face the challenges and difficult decisions raised at end of life. The Charter gives us the opportunity to make a clear and public statement so that our commitment is known and unnecessary worries avoided both for those directly affected, and for their colleagues who want to know that University will show both compassion and support for those affected.” Alison Ross-Green, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development.
We have developed a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines how earnings will be protected if working hours are reduced. In addition, the maximum sickness allowance of six months full pay, followed by six months half pay will be available for staff with one year’s service, rather than the usual requirement of five years’.
Each individual and situation is different and therefore the employee’s line manager, Human Resources representative and Occupational Health representative will work with the employee to develop a work plan tailored to them.
All cases will be managed on an individual basis, with respect, dignity and compassion.
Owen Lyne from the University of Kent Branch of UCU said “We welcome wholeheartedly the University of Kent’s signing of the Charter as well as its adoption of a memorandum of understanding. We believe this will provide significant reassurance to members of staff and their families when facing the trauma of a diagnosis of a terminal illness.”