Employers are failing people with Arthritis

November 9, 2009

A new survey by Arthritis Care for World Arthritis Day (12 October) has criticised the lack of employer support to help people who experience arthritis stay in work. According to the survey, while 75 per cent of respondents who are still currently in work said that their employers had made reasonable adjustments to help them to stay, only 39 per cent of those now not in work said they had received such adjustments. In addition, 70 per cent of the non-working respondents directly blamed leaving their jobs on arthritis. Of these, although almost two thirds had requested reasonable adjustments, only one in three had got them.

Flexible working and an understanding attitude by bosses to arthritis-related absence topped the Arthritis Care survey as the employer support most valued by respondents. Rachel Haynes, Arthritis Care’s director of public affairs, said: ‘Arthritis Care’s poll shows an inescapable link between an employer’s support for someone with arthritis and their ability to stay in work. Arthritis is the UK’s biggest cause of

physical disability, and more must be done to enable people with the condition to have a full working life, not existence on disability benefit by default.’ As a result of the survey, Arthritis Care launched an ‘Employers Pledge’ on World Arthritis Day, which urged UK employers to affirm their commitment to improving life at work for people with arthritis.