Many people with MS who feel able to work aren’t getting the right support in the workplace. This is according to a new report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for MS.
This follows a year-long review into whether people with MS have the support they need to stay in, or get back into, work.
The Group has also published recommendations on how to improve employment support for people with MS. The APPG is made up of Parliamentarians who are committed to tackling issues that affect people with MS.
The launch of this review coincides with the next phase of our MS: Enough campaign. We’re calling for better support for people with MS at work.
What did the review find?
The review found that the fluctuating nature of MS is one key barrier to work.
It also found that:
- Common MS symptoms (including fatigue, mobility issues and cognitive problems) can cause significant challenges at work.
- Those who are not in and looking for work due to their MS lose almost 20 working years on average.
- Preventable issues result in many people with MS leaving work earlier than they would choose to. These issues include people with MS facing stigma and discrimination at work and a lack of understanding of MS in the workplace.
The Group heard from people with MS, relevant professionals and organisations as part of the review.
How can we improve it?
Simon Hoare, Chair of the APPG for MS, said: “Small, straightforward changes by employers – such as supporting managers to feel confident in talking with employees about their health and offering reasonable adjustments – can help people with MS to stay in work for longer.
“There are areas for improvement in Government policies and employment support schemes such as the Work and Health Programme and Access to Work. And employees need to feel comfortable about discussing their immediate and ongoing needs with their employers.”
Employment that works for people with MS
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society said: “With the Government’s consultation on work, health and disability now launched, this timely review sets out concrete steps that could result in more people with MS, who feel able to, remaining in work.
“We know that employment can help people with MS to remain independent and participate in society, so it’s crucial this issue is addressed. And those who can no longer work should be able to rely on welfare support without the fear of having it taken away.”