Hovis has signed up to a charter developed by the TUC to support employees with terminal illness.

The Dying to Work charter is designed to make employers more aware of the impact of terminal illness, enabling them to support employees during an uncertain time.

Hovis is understood to be the first business in the bread category to sign up to the charter, which commits it to providing terminally ill employees with security in their jobs.

The charter is supported by several organisations and has been signed in conjunction with four unions: Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), Unite the Union, United Road Transport Union (URTU) and Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW).

“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,” said Hovis HR director Pete Hill.

“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, BFAWU, Unite the Union, USDAW and URTU.”

TUC deputy general secretary Paul Nowak said a person’s job should be the least of their worries when they received a terminal diagnosis.

“I’m delighted Hovis have shown real leadership in this area, working with unions to guarantee fair treatment for terminally-ill workers,” he added. “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.”

BFAWU national president Ian Hodson said the union welcomed the work done between Hovis and the trade unions to guarantee peace of mind for any of their colleagues that found 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.”