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Most people are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis during their most productive working period - between the ages of 20-50. This section aims to explain what MS may mean for your professional life.

Our guide below offers some guidelines on dealing with MS in the workplace, as well as advice for employers.

MS and Your Work

The most important thing to remember is that, professionally, you are still the same person, even if you have just been diagnosed with MS. Your work experience, value and skillsets are unchanged, but there are considerations to take into account.

Every person experiences different symptoms at different times. For some, this can present a challenge at work, while, for others, very little change is needed. Each patient is different, and it's important to take your time and consider every implication about discussing MS with your employer.

Don't rush into making a decision on giving up work or informing your employer immediately. Take the time to discuss in detail your options with your family, trusted colleague, or healthcare professional.

If you work in certain sectors, such as the armed services, or a role where your symptoms may affect the health and safety of you, your colleagues, or the public, then informing them will most likely be mandatory.

If disclosure is not mandatory, you may need their support further down the line (time off for medical appointments or treatments, for example) then it may help if you decide to tell them.

It may still prove worthwhile telling them so they're aware and can offer support in case things change and symptoms increase, impacting your performance at work.

You may be worried about how your employer will react when you tell them about your MS diagnosis. Research has found that people with MS who tell their employer are more likely to remain employed, and stay in work long term, than those who don’t.

Useful Information for Employers

An employee has recently informed you of their MS diagnosis.

What next?

First, take some time to familiarise yourself with MS and hear your employee’s journey. People with MS find it difficult to share news of their diagnosis with their employer, yet they have trusted you with this knowledge. You’re in a good place!

Second, every person with MS has different needs. The regularity and severity of symptoms will vary per person, try not to assume what the employee needs. Many do not require any additional support in the workplace. For those that do, their requirements will be individual to them.

For many, having received the life-changing news that they have developed MS, a supportive employer can make a massive difference. Ideally, their condition will allow them to remain a productive member of staff at work. All that's required from you is some patience, understanding and a willingness to support them with 'reasonable adjustments'.

Most people with MS are under no legal obligation to share their condition with their employer. The decision to do so may be a difficult one to make. Some fear they will be perceived as less capable, or that it might affect their career development, or perhaps that it may even result in termination.

It's taken a lot of courage for your employee to tell you about their MS, please offer as much reassurance and support as practically possible.

Your rights

A people of determination (POD) e-card is a personal card issued by Ministry of Community Development to people of determination. It is considered to be an official document indicating that the holder is disabled to ensure the rights and services established in the Federal Persons with Disabilities Law No. 29 of 2006 and the regulations and decisions issued in implementation thereof.

To register for a POD e-card, you must create a personal profile here:

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