Employment and Parkinson's

If people with Parkinson's are able to work, they should have the support and opportunity to do so.

This policy statement has been developed with advice and guidance from people with Parkinson's, the people who love and care for them, health and social care professionals and other experts.

What we believe

We believe that people with Parkinson's should have the support and opportunity to work if they wish and are able to do so.

My first thought when I found out I had Parkinson's was: 'can I go on working?'

Richard, who has Parkinson's

Being able to remain in, or return to work can have clear benefits to someone's wellbeing, as well as the wider economy.

Support from employers can make a huge difference to the experience of a person with Parkinson's in the workplace.

However, people also need to feel valued and respected if they can't work, as work is not always beneficial or possible when living with Parkinson's.

Why we believe this

There are many people with Parkinson's of working age. One estimate is that there are more than 17,000 people living with the condition aged 20-64 across the UK.

A diagnosis of Parkinson's is not the end of someone's working life. It is a long-term condition and many people have full and independent working lives for many years.

However, Parkinson's can impact on many aspects of daily life as the condition progresses.

People with Parkinson's tell us that their employment experiences mirror those of the wider population of disabled people. And they want to see disability discrimination challenged.

What's the evidence?

A UK-wide study investigated the effect of Parkinson's on employment and the critical factors that would help people with Parkinson's remain in or re-enter employment.

327 people with Parkinson's took part in a survey and a smaller number in one-to-one interviews. The findings showed that:

  • 4 out of 5 respondents felt that Parkinson's made work difficult for them
  • 6 out of 10 respondents had left work because of these difficulties
  • 4 out of 10 respondents felt that they were supported by their employer

Full policy statement

Parkinson's UK policy statement - employment and Parkinson's (PDF, 230KB).