About MS and the workplace
MS is often diagnosed within the working age of the population and at a time when you are planning a full and rewarding career. Understandably, this can cause uncertainty about the future. With the right help and support most people can carry on with their careers with only minor emotional or practical changes. Some people may have to give up work earlier than anticipated and this will have an impact on all aspects of life .
The Guernsey employment laws differ from the UK (specifically there is no Disability Discrimination legislation, but it is currently being developed along with other 'Equality' legislation - see www.equality.gg) and individual companies will also have their own policies. Telling employers about your MS might be a daunting prospect and is very much done on an individual and on 'a need to know' basis. All information disclosed is confidential and employers cannot tell others about you. Your employer or colleagues may not understand about MS and it may worry them, but you are in the best position to educate them about how MS affects you and the strategies that work for you.
Generally employers are very supportive and will consider reasonable adjustments to make your work and work place suitable for your requirements. Stress can have an impact on your MS symptoms and its important that this is managed effectively (see Managing Stress, under Managing Fatigue and Psychological issues). Everybody's MS is different and will affect you in different ways and at different times. This also means the impact on work be will as individual as you are and may fluctuate depending on your symptoms at the time.
Most people with MS manage their job very effectively and don't require any external support but the people mentioned below may prove useful links if you require extra support. With the right support most people with MS can remain an essential member of the work force.
People who could help with finding employment or maintaining support in the workplace
His/her role is to help people stay in work or return to work after a period of sickness.
Key professionals in managing issues at work such as stress, work places assessments, and helping to address performance issues.
Changes at your workplace can affect your hours and possibly your salary. Your social worker or local Social Security office can advise on the local benefits system and your entitlements.
Guernsey Employment Trust (GET) is a free employment service for people who may struggle to prepare for, find and maintain paid employment.
"We are a specialised recruitment service and can offer you support if you have a physical disability; a long term health need or; any other difficulty that could impact you in finding and maintaining a job.
We can help you to develop your employability skills, improve your confidence, support you with your CV and help you to practice for interviews. We can facilitate arrangements for work experience and support you at work to help you learn and develop into your new role.
If you would like to access GET we welcome self-referrals or you can ask a professional to refer you. Please contact GET for an application form or arrange a meeting to discuss how we can help".
The best approach if considering employing someone who has MS, is to consult The States of Guernsey Employment Advisory Officers. They can provide advice on good practice, being aware of impending legislation. Good employers will always try and stay 'ahead of the curve' and adopt best practice.