Council back Jacci’s campaign on terminal illness at work

Jacci Woodcock who is campaigning for a change in the law to protect people with terminal illnesses.
Jacci Woodcock who is campaigning for a change in the law to protect people with terminal illnesses.

A Milford woman’s campaign to improve employment rights for people with terminal illness has won the support of Derbyshire County Council.

The Dying to Work Charter is part of a campaign now being run by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

It was inspired by the efforts of Jacci Woodcock, who was reportedly forced out of her job after being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time in 2012.

The council’s cabinet agreed to sign the charter at a meeting on Thursday, September 14, with support from leader Councillor Barry Lewis, who met Jacci earlier this year.

He said: “We take great pride in treating colleagues with terminal illness with respect and dignity, so they can make decisions which are right for them.

“This could be taking ill health retirement or continuing to work with our support.”

He added: “People in this position should not have the added stress of worrying about their job.

“By signing the Dying to Work Charter we are strengthening our commitment to support our employees if they are given a terminal diagnosis.”

The charter requires employers to recognise that terminal illness requires support and understanding.

It also contains pledges to ensure that employees will have the security of work until they decide on the best course of action, and protections for death in service benefits.

The charter has already won support from Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire County Councils, Derbyshire Police and Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust plus international companies Eon and Santander.

There are currently 500,000 people who are covered by the charter across the country.

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham has also given it her backing, after raising the issue and Jacci’s case in Parliament last year.

Then Prime Minister David Cameron promised the issue would be looked at closely the Government.

Pauline said: “I am delighted that Derbyshire County Council has agreed to sign the charter, and to ensure none of its employees experience the stress and lack of compassion that Jacci endured with her employer.

“Jacci was shell-shocked by her diagnosis and needed the support of her employer, the dignity of keeping her job and an income to pay her bills for as long as possible.”

A date for the official signing will be set in due course.