The international theme for World MS Day 2016 was ‘independence’. MS organisations all over the world celebrated all the ways that people affected by MS maintain independence and get on with their lives. This may be thanks to support from family and friends, adjustments and flexibility in the home and workplace, support from MS organisations, effective treatment and lifestyle choices, a steady income, or even just a shift in attitude.
MS in the workplace
This World MS Day we shone a light on MS in the workplace. Most people are diagnosed with MS in the prime of their working lives, when they have valuable experience and expertise to contribute to the workplace, and for many people, having a supportive employer is what enables them to remain in employment.
A global report from the MS International Federation has revealed a significant number of people with MS are leaving employment earlier than they need to; highlighting the need for employers to put reasonable adjustments in place to help people continue working. The report, based on data from a survey of over 12,200 people affected by MS, shows that 43% of people with MS who weren’t working had left employment within three years of diagnosis. This rose to 70% within 10 years of being diagnosed.
We hosted a national employment summit in Canberra on World MS Day to provide key recommendations for employers, policy makers and researchers. A number of people with MS came together to share their personal experiences of living and working with MS including MSA Advocate Mike Welsh who attended alongside a representative of his employer, ANZ Bank.