Staff work 3,000 hours overtime so colleague can take care of son

Staff work 3,000 hours overtime so colleague can take care of son

Employees at a German firm worked almost 3,300 hours overtime so their colleague could look after his son with leukaemia.

A local media report found that the workers donations enabled the single father take almost a year off to look after his four-year-old.

After his son Julius was diagnosed with cancer, over 700 colleagues at the design company responded to a HR manager’s appeal, asking workers to contribute to an overtime fundraiser.

"Without this great support, I would be unemployed," Graff told local paper, Oberhessische Presse.

He worried that he would lose his job once he used all his unpaid leave to look after Julius.

However, the support from an HR manager, senior management and the workers union, enabled him to take off nine months to stay by his son’s side whilst he received treatment in hospital.

"The reaction of our employees was incredible," Meier told Oberhessische Presse. "There is no-one who has not donated.”

She said that within two weeks of posting sign-up sheets, a total of 3,264.5 hours were collected.

As his son recovers, Graff is hoping to plan a gradual return to work once Julius is well enough to join a kindergarten.

The heart-warming story shows the impact colleagues and a positive workplace culture can have on someone’s life.

Graff’s experience should serve as a lesson, highlighting the financial strain of being ill, or having a family member with an illness.

According to research by Canada Life, cancer diagnosis would cause almost three in four (72%) UK workers to struggle financially.

A Macmillan report corroborated the insurance firm’s findings, concluding that the average amount lost by 80% of families after a cancer diagnosis, stands at £570 a month – impacting mortgage payments and other necessary expenditure.

Sadly, employees are suffering more than they should be, with financial wellbeing often an afterthought and not seen as a necessity.

Paul Avis, Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance, notes that whilst cancer and serious illness treatment is improving, employees are not doing enough to plan financially.

He said: “As cancer survival rates also rise, more will undergo extended periods of treatment, likely resulting in a leave of absence from work and a reduction of income. It’s clear from our research that most families would struggle to cope with this financially, but few have protection in place to provide the support they would need.

“With the ability to meet essential areas of expenditure such as housing, utility and food costs at risk, employers should consider the workplace benefits they can offer to prevent valued members of staff having to experience such hardship,” Avis concludes.

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Comments (1)

  • Boris
    Thu, 8 Feb 2018 12:53pm GMT
    Wow, this is a heart warming tale of people willing to help out a colleague. Unfortunately the statistics for those working in the UK are just the tip of the iceberg, i am aware of many instances when people have been left out of pocket due to Cancer and other long-term/serious conditions and their treatment. Our Union rep lost her house and ended up in a council flat because the employer only offered a set amount of time on full pay. Most don't consider things like Life Insurance, which should be a must for all, and end up in financial trouble. I recently had to take 5 months off due to a back injury and while i had some security and savings i would have to wait until i lost all my sick pay before i could claim.
    More needs to be done to ensure that all employers and employees have policies which safeguard them when dealing with something that is already life changing!

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