August 1, 2013 | News | Living with MSMy Voice

Wide range of problems in the workplace: survey

An online survey reports that people with MS face a variety of challenges in the workplace as they try to keep working (Benedict and colleagues. Mult Scler 2013; epublished July 10).


The survey included 52 people with MS who were currently employed and were not receiving disability benefits. Most had relapsing-remitting MS, three people had progressive MS and one had clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).

The average person worked 36 hours a week; the median salary was $45,000 a year. Forty people (77%) had disclosed to their employer that they have MS. No one said they had a recent change in their work duties.
Overall, one-third reported that they’d had problems at work. One was formally disciplined, five had received verbal reprimands, seven had their hours cut, two were demoted and four were required to have job retraining.
Most people said they didn’t have to put in extra hours at home to catch up on work, but some worked up to 32 extra (unpaid) hours. Some people reported that their employer provided some accommodations, such as flexible working hours, rest breaks, additional time to complete a job, or allowed them to work at home.

People having problems at work were more likely to report symptoms of depression or to have some physical or mental disability. It wasn’t determined if work-related problems occurred because of an acute relapse, or arose due to gradually progressing disability. It’s also important to note that while problems at work were presumed to be due to MS, the survey would need to compare these results with an employment study of healthy people to clarify the link between MS and employment problems.

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My Voice

Tell us about your work experience and view latest results from others

I am:

I’m aged:

I have:

I’ve had MS for:

My employment status is:

Have you told your employer that you have MS?

Have you experienced problems with your employer because of your MS?

Have you experienced problems with your co-workers because of your MS?

What is the biggest problem you’ve faced at work?

What is the biggest challenge you face in remaining employed?

Are you required to put in extra, unpaid hours?

If yes, how many extra hours per week do you work?

Does your employer allow you to work flexible hours?

Does your employer allow you to work at home?

Has your employer renovated your workplace (e.g. installed ramps, air conditioning, etc.) to accommodate you?

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