Employment that works for people with MS

Many people with MS who feel able to work aren’t getting the right support at work, according to a new report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for MS (a cross-party group of MPs and peers with an interest in MS). The report follows a year-long review into whether people with MS have the support they need to stay in, or get back into, work, to which the CIPD gave oral evidence in the Houses of Parliament.

The report notes that the employment rate for the UK population as a whole is 75%; however, among the 1,511 people with MS who responded to the Group’s survey, only 55% were working. Simon Hoare, Chair of the Group, comments that, ‘staggeringly, up to 80% of people with MS retire within 15 years of diagnosis.’ With the Government’s goal to halve the disability gap by 2020, this report is published at an important time for policymakers and employers.

The report includes recommendations (for Government, employers and service providers) on how to improve employment support for people with MS, which are very relevant to the Government’s current Improving Lives Green Paper and consultation about work, health and disability. Key recommendations for Government and employers include:

For the UK Government:

  • Improve the provision of employment retention support, for example through the Work and Health Programme and Disability Confident.
  • Work with employers and progressive condition charities – such as the MS Society – to establish best practice for transitions out of employment for disabled people. This should include the provision of adequate career guidance to enable the consideration of alternative roles.

For employers:

  • Adopt policies and practices which promote inclusion and opportunity for disabled employees, and deal quickly and effectively with instances of bullying, harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Wherever possible, employers should adopt a disability absence policy.

Roundtable events

The MS Society is holding two breakfast roundtable events with employers, to discuss challenges of employing people with MS, and how these can be overcome. These free events will be of interest to line managers and HR specialists with an interest in, or experience of, employing people with MS.

When: Tuesday 13th December 2016, 8-10am; Thursday 15th December 2016, 8-10am.
Where: The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole St, London W1G 8YS. Nearest tubes are Oxford St, Bond St and Regent’s Park.

To book your place, or for more information, please contact Katharine McIntosh: katharine.mcintosh@mssociety.org.uk 020 3828 6850

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