Work and Parkinson's
If you have Parkinson's, you may be thinking about things like your rights at work, pensions and retirement.
Many people with Parkinson's continue to work for a long time after diagnosis. However, you may need to make some adjustments.
Everyone with Parkinson's experiences it differently and the decisions you make will depend on your personal circumstances. The best thing you can do is get as much information as you can about your options.
If your treatment is carefully managed and you have plenty of support, it could be possible to continue working for as long as you want to.
Can I continue working?
If your treatment is carefully managed and you have plenty of support, it is possible to continue working for many years.
This depends on the type of job you have and how Parkinson's affects you.
Some people may feel they would benefit if some adjustments were made.
Adjustments at work
Making adjustments to help you stay in work could include the following:
- Making sure your treatment is appropriately managed. Talk to your specialist or Parkinson's nurse.
- Asking an occupational therapist for help if you're having practical problems at work. Speak to your employer about getting an assessment.
- Talking to your employer about what support is available. Remember that your employer has a duty to offer support and make reasonable changes.
- Thinking about the type of job you have and how your condition affects you. Some jobs are more compatible with Parkinson's than others, so you may find it helpful to consider alternative employment.
Advice and financial help
Get as much information and expert advice as possible about your situation. You may want to talk to your trade union, staff association or professional body.
The disability services team at your local Jobcentre Plus office can provide advice on any adaptations or retraining opportunities that are available. They can also advise your employer.
Financial assistance may also be available through the Access to Work scheme. This will help you meet the costs of travelling to work and buying equipment that you need in order to stay in work, retrain or get a new job.
Do I have to tell my employer that I have Parkinson's?
You only need to tell your employer about a disability:
- if you need them to make changes to the way you work, such as the adjustments mentioned above
- if there is a health and safety risk (for example, if your condition means that either you or someone else may be at risk of harm)
If you're not sure whether this applies to you, you may find it helpful to check the terms of your contract or seek legal advice.
If you're worried about talking to your employer, our free confidential helpline, 0808 800 0303, provides support and advice to anyone unsure about what to do next.
How am I protected against discrimination in the workplace?
Because Parkinson's is a long-term condition, you are likely to meet the statutory (legal) definition of 'disabled' under the Equality Act 2010, or the Disability Discrimination Act 2006 in Northern Ireland.
This means that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of your disability or because of something that happens as a consequence of your disability.
To find out more, you can contact the following organisations:
What support should I expect from my employer?
Your employer has a statutory duty to give 'reasonable' support and to make reasonable changes to your employment where necessary.
This support can include:
- making changes to your place of work
- giving some of your work to someone else
- moving you to another post or place of work
- being flexible about your hours
- giving you training
- giving you modified equipment
- making instructions and manuals easier to use
- providing a reader or interpreter
- increasing supervision
For any questions about your rights at work, call our helpline on 0808 800 0303 and speak to our employment and benefits adviser.
If a prospective employer is made aware of your disability, changes should begin at the recruitment stage.
You do not have to pay for any part of a reasonable adjustment. Your employer can get support from the Government's Access to Work scheme.
Where can I get more advice about work and Parkinson's?
You can call our helpline on 0808 800 0303 and speak to our employment and benefits adviser.
Our helpline can also put you in touch with your Parkinson's local adviser.
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Finding a job with Parkinson's
After being made redundant, Anna found a part-time role that meant she could continue working without wearing herself out.
Helpline and local advisers
Our helpline has a dedicated employment and benefits adviser to answer your questions, or get in touch with one of our Parkinson's local advisers.
Call us on 0808 800 0303