Sick leave dilemma

Hi everyone,

At what point do people with mild MS stop toughing it out at work and go off sick?

I can physically get in to work OK and do the job, but sitting here with feet that I can bearly feel and a cold wet feeling up to half way down my thighs, makes for a miserable day.

Trouble is, if I decided not to come in based on this, I could probably justify not coming in loads of the time these days. Hence the dilemma.

Thanks for sharing any of your own experiences.

Mr S

Hi Mr S I went off sick before I was diagnosed, when I was told it was labyrinitis. I thought I’d be off for a couple of weeks as that had always been the case, repeatedly over the years ! Now I know ! Anyway, symptoms progressed over those two weeks, I got diagnosed and was off sick for about 9 months before being medically retired. Xx

Hi Mr. Sensible. I’m in a similar dilemna at the moment. I don’t get paid sick leave either so that makes it even harder.

I have vision problems and a numb leg but that’s fine, I can work through that. Lately though I’m finding that all I do is work. I’ve no energy left to do anything at all during the week once I finish work. I’m a single parent also and I feel like I’m not being a very good parent at the moment because I’ve no energy to do anything fun or enjoyable.

I am thinking of reducing my hours permanantly, even just to finish a couple of hours earlier every day, or take one extra day off a week.

I figure I might end up regretting it if I spend these “good” years sitting in an office all day. My child is still young and I am trying to prioritise her because another few years and she won’t want to be seen dead with her mum! :smiley: So all signs are pointing towards making the most of my time now.

It will make things tight but I think it’ll be worth it.

My aim is to reduce my hours from January. I just have to get work to agree now :wink:

I went off sick during diagnosis; at the end of a year I had a decision to make. I was a senior teacher in a big, disadvantaged primary school and I simply couldn’t face the rigours of going back. I had really struggled before going off sick and quite frankly those children deserved more than a teacher at less than full strength (It sounds prissy but inner city kids have enough stacked against them without adding my fatigue into the mix) My now ex husband was in a very well paid job which made it easier to choose ill health retirement.

I’m on my own now and have a significantly lower income than if I had carried on working (or gone part time) but I don’t regret it.


Slightly off-topic, but do be careful about reducing hours. It’s likely it will not just affect pay, but everything else in proportion - pension entitlement (including ill-health pension, if there is one), redundancy payments, should you ever be made redundant - everything.

Since diagnosis (2010) I was increasingly struggling with work, and often toyed with the idea of reducing my hours - say to a 3-day week - but thankfully never got round to it!

Last year, I was made redundant after 23 years (nothing to do with MS). Obviously, I couldn’t have foreseen that would happen. IF I’d switched to part-time working, the fact I’d been full-time for over 20 years previously would have counted for nothing, and my redundancy calculation would have been as if I’d always been part-time - i.e. just 3/5 of what I got.

I know money isn’t the only consideration, but it’s a big one, as it may affect not only your take-home pay at the moment, but what you’re entitled to for the rest of your life. So there’s more to look at than just: “Can I afford it now?”. You need to think about: “Could I afford it if my pension was reduced in proportion?”

The other aspect is that although employers often readily agree to reduce hours, it can be much harder if you change your mind, and want to go the other way. They are under no obligation to let you return to full-time hours, just because you used to do them. Look before you leap!



I think it depends on your financial circumstances and the company you work for. The cold, hard fact is that a person who wants to stay employed usually needs to tough it out where possible. Poor attendance is the no. 1 short cut to being shown the door, disability legislation and protections notwithstanding, so keeping sickness absence to an absolute minimum has to be the priority for most people wanting to stay in work.

I hope you feel a bit better soon.


It might be worth finding out what your employer can do to help you stay in work eg. Reasonable adjustments. another post has already mentioned the disability employment adviser at the jobcentre but they can also help with regards to staying employed rather than changing career. It might be worth a look and a try before making any major plans that like Tina says, affects the rest of your life not just the now.

Hello, has anyone mentioned Access to Work? Might be worth a look. Best wishes.


Before I took earli retirement last year I was getting into work but was having to be brought home more and more as I wasn’t able to get myself home from work. It became quite difficult.

There were loads and loads of reasonable adjustments and the ill health retirement was a last result. I had no choice really.

I had to go off sick for 12 months before they would consider ill health retirement.

Have you exhausted all reasonable adjustments offered yet as this will have to be done before you do have to go off sick.

Shazzie xx

Hi, when i was falling all over the place at work (foot drop), and fatigue was setting in earlier and earlier in the day, and concentration was waning, I went to see practice nurse about something unrelated. She took one look at me and said,Oh Pauline. You look worn out! With that i burst into tears and told her the whole story…how Id had tests for MS for 6 months and PPMS was suspected, how my manager was less than helpful, despite having enjoyed a good working relationship.

Nurse told me to take a self certified week off to rest. That week became 2 and then a month, 3 months…I never went back.

After 8 months I took early retirement on ill health grounds. The symptoms and fatigue continued to worsen and I couldnt have done any job without severe difficulties.

So, to answer your question…

take a weeks self certified sick leave and if youre no better, see your GP for sick notes. There`s no medals for running yourself into the ground hun.

I never imagined myself finishing work at 47 and managing on a reduced income…but I did and am now 61 and pacing myself.

Good luck.


Totally agree Poll.

It is so much easier not to have to worry about getting to work when the symptoms are bad let alone worrying about getting home.

I too was devastated retiring through ill health at 51 but I am so pleased I went down that road.

Shazzie xx

Guys, I was only 42 and whilst initially I was angry and hurt now I realise it was the best thing. On days like today when MS. is on a mission to seek and destroy, I can rest in bed and recoup. Even on good days, everything is so much effort and now I can just pace myself and take it very slowly. The pressure and stress is gone which can only be beneficial in the long run. Xx

Mr S, not sure I would call my ms mild , my walking and balance are very poor, and I have better and worse days in terms of walking and balance. Personally I do not stay off sick because I feel if I did it once i would always be doing it and I agree with Alison about sickness abscence and while I can tough it out, then I will. I’m not going to stay off just cos my walking has a particularly bad day or two. Cheryl:-)

One more thing Mr Sensible.

It is very tough taking early retirement and is in no way easy. I don’t want you and others on here to think that it is an easy thing to do. I was absolutely mortified that I had to stop work at 51. I hope you can continue to work as long as you possibly can if that is what you want/can do. This was impossible for me unfortunately as I was a medical secretary and due to frequent falls whiIe at work broke my foot twice. Also my Optic Neuritis in both eyes made it impossible to type very important medical/legal documents. I stuck it out for 8 years with adjustments but I wish I had called it a day earlier for myself, my family and my employer.

Hope you manage to make the right decision for you. Again, we would all like to work for as long as we possibly can but some of us are unable to.

Take care

Shazzie x

Thank you all for your kind responses and suggestions. Sounds like its been an issue for many of us. Will inevitably be toughing it out a bit longer. I probably new this but it’s so helpful to see that there are choices. I will do some self cert sick leave sooner rather than later having had all of your advice. With thanks and wishing you all the best. Mr S