May 10, 2023 | by Joanne Smithson

Working with terminal illness cohort offer: workplace policy and procedures to maximise wellbeing

Closing date: Friday 16 June 2023

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing is seeking to work with a cohort of people professionals to come together and design terminal illness policies for their organisation. We will provide three, free, facilitated workshops between June and September 2023.

People of working age experience significant financial, social, welfare and legal challenges as a direct result of terminal illness. This can interact with demands of their diagnosis, and compound the poor mental wellbeing of individuals and close family members. Our survey of 1000 HR decision makers revealed an ‘employers’ lottery’ in which the support people receive, whether it be on flexible working, sickness absence, changes to duties, insurances, or direct financial support varies significantly. Only 44% of organisations have policies in place to support employees working with a terminal illness.

Working in partnership with Marie Curie, the UK’s leading charitable funder of palliative and end of life care research, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the What Works Centre for Wellbeing is leading a project to build our knowledge and understanding of ‘what works’ in policies and procedures to support employees working with a terminal illness.

While respecting confidentiality and people’s individual wishes, it’s vital that organisations are ready to provide compassionate, flexible, and practical support for an employee who is facing a terminal diagnosis”.

Rachel Suff, Employment Relations and Diversity Adviser (Europe), CiPD

We are inviting people professionals from organisations of different sizes and sectors to join our cohort.  You could be from a human resources background, learning and development, or organisation development. You could also apply to be part of the cohort to refresh and update an existing organisation policy supporting terminal illness, to reflect the new insight from research.  

The Centre will provide expertise, access to tools and techniques, and a facilitated learning community, where peers can come together to share ideas and experiences to develop workplace policies for terminal illness. Areas covered will include:

  • Factors affecting continuing to work
  • Attendance and flexible working
  • Work adjustments
  • Long term sickness absence due to terminal illness / absence management
  • Sick pay
  • Occupational health & employee assistance programmes
  • Keeping in touch
  • Deciding to stop work
  • Reviewing and evaluating your policy’s impact

Although not finalised, we expect the three cohort meetings to take place:

  • Thursday 29 June 10:00-12.30 Online
  • Tuesday 18 July 10:00-12.30 Online
  • Thursday 14 September 10:00-15:00 London in person with hybrid option

To express an interest in joining the cohort, or for more information, please contact the Centre’s Head of Implementation & Learning, Joanne Smithson using ‘Workplace terminal illness cohort’ as the subject heading.  

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