Rebecca: What would you say are the most common barriers that someone with MS faces in relation to work?
Rony Erez, Senior Policy Officer at the MS Society: We know that the most common barrier to employment for people with MS is actually MS and its symptoms itself. So 80% of people who don’t work, and more, told us that this is why they left work.
But most people – sorry – a lot of people with MS, they can and want to work and there are barriers for them. The main one, I would say, is the attitude of employers.
We know that a lot of employers want to do their best for employees with MS but that’s not always the case. Employers’ attitudes are very important, if they don’t have the knowledge and the understanding of MS, then it’s very difficult for them to support people. Another barrier is workplace cultures, which relates to the attitude of employers.
In the UK we work very long hours and it’s always go, go, go, and for some people with MS it’s just simply not an option to work very long hours without any breaks and, you know, with long travel times perhaps.
So that is an issue. We also know that because of the workplace cultures there is a problem with finding flexible or part-time employment. Very few quality jobs are advertised in the UK as flexible, so that stops people with MS who want to get into work or who want to change their jobs from finding employment.
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