Forum

Working with MS

Hi everyone,

I’ve been having a bit of a rough year post diagnosis. I won’t go into all the details here, but suffice it to say that I’m not longer on my nursing degree and am very angry about it - but heyho!! Anyhow, since then, I’ve been looking for work (rather desperately, as I have no savings, but own a property which due to where it is I can’t live in as I can’t drive, but it means I’m not eligible for benefits). I’m really struggling to find anything and I have an okay CV (ran a business for 8 years). I’d prefer part time, but there’s just nothing, or at least nothing that doesn’t require a degree and/or for you to drive or for some other specialist qualification.

How do all of you guys get on with finding / holding down work? Any tips? I’m having such a nightmare.

Thanks,

Forest x

Hi Forest

That’s a rubbish situation to be in! Given the state of the economy, it’s hard enough getting a job anyway without having MS thrown into the mix. I have to work part-time, but whenever I enquire about any vacancies where I work I’m fed up of always told they want someone full time. So what I’m going to do now is make no mention of being part time, then if I’m lucky enough to be offered the role, I’ll say then I need reduced hours and claim it as a reasonable adjustment.

On a practical side, something that might help is Access to Work. It’s a government thing to help people with disabilities to work.They can help finance things like specialist equipment, or what they do for me is pay for a taxi to & from work. It might be worth getting in touch with them now to see if they could help.

Good luck

Dan

Hi Dan,

does access to work pay for your entire taxi far to and from work?

how many miles is the journey each way?

Thanks Dan,

I thought I had to have a job before they would help, but I’ll try them and see what advice they give me.

Forest

Interesting what you said about applying for Full time but then when secured the role, ask to have hours reduced to Part time. Hyperthetically speaking, would a company not terminate the contract on the basis that the role requires a full time employee and part time would not suit the business needs?

Interesting what you said about applying for Full time but then when secured the role, ask to have hours reduced to Part time. Hyperthetically speaking, would a company not terminate the contract on the basis that the role requires a full time employee and part time would not suit the business needs?

Sorry you are having such a difficult time. Can you take some of the financial pressure off yourself by selling the propety and buying yourself something that suits you better and has good transport links etc and free up some capital in the process? Might as well make the asset work for you instead of just being no good to live in and rendering you ineligible for benefits for good measure! Some breathing space and a well-placed place to live might be a good starting point? Sorry if this is all just complete cobblers because I do not understand your circs… Alison

Hello Forest and others,

You encapsulate everything that is wrong with the employment sutuation in this country particularly with the private sector. Public sector such as NHS are much more open minded

  • Why does every job have to be a full time job?
  • Why not make a 40 hour a week position into two 25 hour a week positions?
  • Why are employers so reluctant to hire disabled people?

There seems to be a mindset that has got to be broken. This country cannot conrinue to be so blinkered in the way it hires people. Incidentally the same applies to employment agencies .

Going for a full time position then trying to work fewer hours - surely that gives disabled people a bad name.

Industry needs to sharpen up its act. I know many disabled people with MS who woud love to work and earn an income but cannot manage a full week cos of travel issues and stamina.

Hi Forest, I agree with Alison about selling the property and freeing up assets or buying something more suitable. Dan raises a good point about applying for full time work and then asking for part time hours as a reasonable adjustment but I have to agree with Patrick that I think that that gives disabled people a bad name. I mean if I hired a disabled person, to be asked, the first day in the job, if they could work part time as a reasonable adjustment, then I think I’d be reluctant to ever hire a disabled person again, disability discrimination laws or not! However, needs must, and think about yourself first, so you certainly could tackle it that way. I can understand why someone would do that. Forest, I think you have to just keep applying and stay positive. Cheryl:-)

Hi all,

Thanks for the advice. I was hoping it wasn’t going to come to selling my property. It’s like I’ve worked so hard for everything I have, and now, if I want any help at all (and that won’t be much), I’m expected to have nothing before I can get it. There’s something really wrong with that - I’m tempted to say that that too is discrimination. But thank you for your advice.

Forest x

Hi

Just to answer the query about the taxi, AtW pay for the whole fare, which in my case if only a short trip. Each case they get would be looked at individually, so I couldn’t say what’s the most they’d pay. I think sometimes the employer may have t contribute, but I don’t really anything about the ins & outs of how it all works.

As to the whole debate on whether to apply full time, there’s a couple reasons why I’m thinking of doing that now. Firstly, I’m just fed up of constantly being knocked back at the first hurdle, despite the fact that every job advert at my place has a statement saying they believe in promoting diversity & inclusion, and judging people on merit. And secondly, I know that when people are in an existing role and they want to reduce their hours for any reason, it’s never a problem. If I’m offered a role, I’m under no obligation to accept it. So while I understand people’s disagreements with it, if they think I’m the best person for the job, I’d like to then ask them if they believe that enough to make this adjustment. But if anyone has a better way of getting a foot in the door, I’m very open to suggestions :slight_smile:

Dan

I don’t Dan, but just watch your back. They may make the adjustment, but how long you’re in that job for will be the next question (no they won’t make it obvious, they’ll just make something up - I’m only diagnosised this year and have already experienced it with uni)

Forest x

I’d be very surprised if my employer does that, they’ve been amazingly supportive since my diagnosis. I didn’t work for over 2 years & they kept me employed, they let me reduce my hours, they set me up so I can work from home as well as in the office, they let me work flexable hours with no set start or end time, so if I slept badly or am just shattered, I can start later or leave early, they even contributed a sizable amount of money towards my wheelchair. I know I’m incredibly lucky; it’s just a shame they’re not so open minded when it comes to advertising new posts.

Have you ever thought of going self-employed? Then you’d be in complete control of how much you work. I think it’s becoming more common, and loads of my friends are - I know a wedding photographer, website designer, IT specialist, florist, app designer for mobiles, plumber, dance school owner…

Dan

If you’ve just hired a new person for a full-time position, and they immediately request reduced hours on grounds of disability, there’s no guarantee at all this a “reasonable” adjustment - and therefore one they have to make. They could argue they recruited a full-time person because that’s what they needed, and it’s not “reasonable” for them now to have to make do with a part-time one.

Even if you’ve been with the employer a long time, reduced hours aren’t automatically “reasonable”. It depends how easy or difficult it would be to cover your duties - or just to make do without them for that period. Is there anyone already within the organisation, who is willing and able to cover (that would imply somebody was under-employed)? If not, what is the probability of finding somebody outside? Although there IS a market for part-time jobs, most people are going to want a respectable number of hours. You would have trouble recruiting somebody for just 10% of a job, for example, if that’s the amount the person with MS wants to reduce by. And, if it’s a small company, can they afford to recruit and train someone just for that amount? All these questions - and probably more - impact on whether the request is reasonable. It’s not a simple case of announcing you have MS, and they’ve got to do it.

Tina

Golly, seems I’ve caused a bit of controversy! Just to clarify, I would say I need to work part time when being offered the role, not after signing a full time contract - I wouldn’t dare agree to the role & sign a contract, then expect them to reduce the hours. If I was offered it, I would ask if they are still willing to employ me as part time. If not, then I would have to politely decline the offer of the role.

Dan

Can you rent your property out ? (rather than sell up)

Hi maude,

Yeah, it is currently rented, but simply because I own it means I can’t get any help, and I don’t make anything off the rent.

Forest x

Just a thought…could you ask for a job share rather than part-time? I know it amounts to the same thing but might show that you’re considering business needs and prepared to be a team player! Good luck!

Oops sorry didn’t mean to click anon!!

Yeah, I’d be happy to jobshare, but don’t really know how to go about getting one. All the jobs are just advertised full time, and I’m mainly going through agencies who as soon as you mention such things stop trying for you. They’re just not geared up to that kind of thing. But thanks for the advice.

Forest x