Navigating employment when you have a chronic condition is difficult. You may be asking yourself: Is it safe to disclose my illness? What will my boss say? Will my workplace make the adjustments I need to continue to do my job? Will I need to reduce my hours?
Continuing to work may be really important for your mental health and for your financial situation. Below we outline some things that you can think about when handling your employment.
“If you get sick, you may need to take time off work or adjust the way in which you work. Your employer is not legally allowed to sack you because you are ill. Whether you tell them is up to you. How you handle your employment when you get sick depends on the type of illness, the type of treatment you need, and how you feel. It is best to do what feels right for you.” (Healthdirect)
We know from our research that some women may face discrimination at work. This is likely due to a lack of understanding and empathy for people with chronic illnesses, and an unwillingness to change how workplaces operate to accommodate more flexibility.
The list below may be helpful in negotiating your workplace and chronic illness:
- Telling your boss – telling your boss is a personal decision with pros and cons.
- Talk to your Human Resources area – this might be helpful having someone else know what is going on with you. It helps if you run into any tensions with your workplace.
- Ask for accommodations.
- Know your rights.
- Beware office bullies.
- Take care of yourself.
- Check in regularly.
- Build confidence.
- Get support.
Adapted from Glassdoor.