A COLLEGE has pledged to support members of staff diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Colchester Institute staff signed a voluntary charter to ensure employees with severe health problems are protected rather than being faced with additional stress.

The signing of the Dying to Work Charter took place at the college’s Sheepen Road campus with chief executive Alison Andreas and two union representatives, Marisa Baker and John Pullen-Appleby.

Ms Andreas said: “Of course our hope for all of our staff is they will remain fit and well during their working life and enjoy long and rewarding retirements, but we recognise if a terminal illness is diagnosed this requires support and understanding, and not additional stress and worry.

“By signing the Dying to Work Charter we commit to providing Colchester Institute staff with peace of mind around job security and the right to choose the best course of action with dignity and without undue financial loss.”

Colchester Institute University and College Union branch secretary John Pullen-Appleby said staff wholeheartedly welcomed the pledge.

He said: “Worrying about your job should be the least of your concerns when you receive a terminal diagnosis and we believe this will provide significant reassurance to members of staff and their families if they ever have to face the trauma of a terminal illness diagnosis.”

Unison rep Marisa Baker added: “The last thing anybody needs when they’re diagnosed with a terminal illness is to be thrown out of work as well.

“Colchester Institute should be applauded for promising to do the right thing by its workers when they’re at their most vulnerable.

“Hopefully other schools, colleges and universities across Essex will follow this excellent example.”