Information for employers

Not everyone with MS will need extra support in the workplace, and many of those who do will only require small changes – known as reasonable adjustments – to enable them to continue working.

It’s important to remember that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to managing MS in the workplace: the support your employee will need – if any – will be individual to them.

The law and confidentiality

Supporting your employee

For many people with MS, having a supportive employer is what enables them to manage their condition at work, and to remain in employment. The MS Society has made this short film demonstrating the difference that a supportive employer can make.

Most people with MS don’t have to tell their employer about their diagnosis. As a result, the decision to reveal their MS is often a difficult one to make. Many people are afraid they will be seen as less capable, or that it might affect their career progression – or even that they could lose their job as a result.

The chances are that it’s taken your employee a lot of courage to tell you about their MS. It’s important to recognise this, and to provide them with the reassurance and the support they need.

Shift MS produced this short film about the challenges of disclosing an MS diagnosis at work.

 Supporting the team

Your employee’s MS can also have an impact on other members of staff. They may be worried about what’s happening to the person with MS, particularly if the person hasn’t told anyone else at work about their MS. They may also have to take on extra work if the person with MS is off sick for a number of weeks, which could cause resentment.

the employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure these issues are addressed sensitively, while also respecting your employee’s confidentiality.

You may want to discuss with your employee whether they want to tell their colleagues about their MS. If the other members of staff know why they are being asked to do extra work, for example, they may be happier to do so.

Any decision about telling other members of staff has to come from the person with MS. If they decide to tell their colleagues, you can help them do so. Perhaps by giving them time in a team meeting, or by telling the other members of staff on their behalf, if they have asked you to do so.

However, if they decide not to tell their colleagues, you must respect that decision.