British bakery Hovis has signed the Trade Union Congress’s (TUC) Dying to Work charter, marking its commitment to addressing the impact of terminal illness in the workplace.
The organisation, which has 2,800 employees across eight bakeries, one flourmill and three distribution centres in the UK, joins organisations such as Lincolnshire County Council, TSB, Wilko and Lloyds Banking Group in signing the charter.
The TUC pledge aims to encourage employers to effectively support staff that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, as well as promise them job security.
Hovis has signed in conjunction with its four recognised unions: the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), Unite, United Road Transport Union (URTU) and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW).
Alongside signing the agreement, TUC negotiators will advise the organisation on the best way to train senior staff on dealing with terminal illness, and how to adapt an employee’s working environment after a diagnosis. The TUC will also works with Hovis to ensure it amend its sickness policy to include a specific terminal illness job security clause, and to provide counselling and financial support.
Pete Hill, HR director at Hovis, said: “For those who are given a terminal diagnosis, it is important that they can focus on themselves and their families without the stress of needing to worry about their employment. This is a practice that we have naturally adopted, so I did not hesitate in agreeing to sign the charter when asked to do so by our four unions.”
Paul Nowak, deputy general secretary at the TUC, added: “Your job should be the least of your worries when you get a terminal diagnosis. I’m delighted that Hovis have shown real leadership in this area, working with unions to guarantee fair treatment for terminally-ill workers.
“We now have a million workers being covered by the Dying to Work charter across the country, and we expect more employers to commit in the coming months.”
Ian Hodson, national president at BFAWU, said: “We welcome the work done between Hovis and the trade unions which guarantees peace of mind for any of their colleagues that find themselves being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
“Hovis is the first employer in our industry to sign up for the charter and one of only a few private sector employers to do so, and I hope today’s signing encourages other employers to provide the same support moving forward.”