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Councillors support ‘dignity at work’ for terminally ill council staff

Published
27.06.2019

Gloucestershire County Council has agreed to support terminally ill employees over and above national legislation.

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At its full council meeting yesterday (Wednesday 26 June), councillors unanimously supported the motion to protect terminally ill employees with dignity at work.

As part of the motion, councillors agreed to:

  • extend sick pay for terminally ill staff
  • make a commitment not to dismiss a member of staff with a terminal illness, due to their condition
  • provide further training for managers to support any person with a terminal diagnosis.

The county council already protects the rights of terminally ill staff, but agreed to call on other employers to do the same.

The council’s Occupational Health service provides professional support and advice to employees who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition.  This may include signposting them to other support groups, such as McMillan Cancer Support.

The council is sympathetic to any member of staff receiving a terminal diagnosis and Occupational Health and HR work together to make sure they are treated with dignity and have the best possible support in managing their condition.  This will be looked at on a case by case basis to provide the best financial way forward for the member of staff, which may be dismissal through ill health.  This has always had the support of the council’s recognised trade unions.

Although sick pay is governed nationally, the council will extend sick pay (which is currently for six months on full pay) in exceptional circumstances, such as a terminal diagnosis.

Proposer of the motion, Cllr Kate Haigh, Labour group representative at Gloucestershire County Council, said:  “Whilst I am confident that Gloucestershire County Council already has procedures in place that support staff and their loved ones when facing a terminal diagnosis I believe that it is important to take the opportunity to place that support on the record and to set an example to others. I am delighted the motion was carried unanimously and have asked the Cabinet Member to publically sign the TUC Dying to Work Charter.”

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of the county council, said: “The council has support services in place for employees with a terminal diagnosis through our Occupational Health service and has robust procedures in place to accommodate staff with a terminal illness.  Training and advice is available for managers to support them. I would hope that other employers would look to do the same”.

Cllr Rachel Smith, leader of the Green Group at the county council said: “It’s important the county council is able to take a compassionate approach with employees who have received a diagnosis of a terminal illness and I welcome the opportunity for the whole council to affirm its support for people who are living with such difficult circumstances.”

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats Group at the county council, said: “I am pleased this matter came before the full council yesterday as it provided the opportunity to record our commitment to supporting the council’s colleagues and employees in the face of a terminal illness.  I hope this acts as a marker for other employers in Gloucestershire of the standard they should aspire to.“ 

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