The Terminally Ill Employee

By January 15, 2014 No Comments

man with head in hands 2HRE Online recently published an article exploring how to handle a situation involving an employee who’s been given a terminal diagnosis but wants or needs to keep working as long as possible.  It was a thoughtful, insightful piece stressing the importance of confidentiality, respect and support from the company and colleagues.

The author, Lynne Curry, president of Alaska-based management consulting firm The Growth Company, offers several practical steps for such a circumstance.  Reviewing benefits with the employee should be high priority.  Chances are good that medical bills will quickly pile up, and when a grim prognosis is handed down, the last thing a person wants to worry about is the financial toll the disease will exact.  Make sure the employee is clear on what sort of support he or she can count on.  Curry also covers the option of setting up a donation bank of paid time off to which co-workers can contribute leave hours.

Just as important is allowing the employee flexibility to work as much as he or she is able.  As the end approaches, the employee may wish to focus on passing the baton, developing or updating protocols for the job and training a replacement.  It may seem morbid, but grooming one’s successor can give the departing employee the sense of leaving a positive legacy.

Most organizations will face this unhappy reality at some point.  It only makes sense to be prepared for how to handle the situation when it arises.

Read more here.

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