Working with MS

Can I keep working with MS?

That is one of the most common questions people ask when they receive a diagnosis.

With today’s improved treatments, many people living with MS can maintain their quality of life and continue with normal activities, such as going to work.

Employment can provide financial stability, a sense of purpose and achievement and social interaction. Staying in the workforce can make a positive difference to your quality of life.

Everyone’s experience with MS is different. Like many others living with MS, you may find you can keep working for the foreseeable future.

MSWA Member Matt Nichols portrait

Do I need to tell my employer?

No, you’re not obliged to disclose your MS to your employer unless your MS symptoms may cause an occupational health and safety risk to you or others.

MSWA’s Counselling Services can help you decide how and when you want to take this step and provide you with strategies for communicating clearly with your employer.

What are my rights?

It’s illegal in Australia to discriminate against an employee on grounds of their disability. However, an employer can refuse to employ you if your disability prevents you from performing the requirements of the job. The Fair Work Ombudsman website provides more information about the laws that protect you from discrimination.

As your condition changes, your employer is required to make adjustments to the workplace, work conditions or the tasks inherent in the role to make it possible for you to continue your employment.

What types of adjustments can I seek?

Rosters and working hoursPhysical working environmentChange of role
Part-time working arrangementsPosition workstation away from hot areas of the workplaceTransfer to a position that is less physically demanding
Roster changes to avoid commuting during peak hoursDesk fanRetraining if required
More frequent breaks during the dayChair or stool if your job involves a lot of standing
Working from homeErgonomic assessment to assess chair, desk and IT equipment
Time off for medical appointments

If you’re concerned about managing your MS and your job, talk to an MSWA Counsellor about the various options and strategies that may be available to you.

If you need advice on symptom management relating to work such as fatigue to both yourself and your employer, MSWA Occupational Therapists can help. They can also provide advice regarding the general issues related to workplace set up.

If you would like any further information, contact us on 08 9365 4888 or country callers 1800 287 367.