Parkinson’s Disease brings a lot of changes in your including social, physical and professional life. The intensity of changes and adjustments in your work life depend on the stage of your progression and the disabilities associated with it.If you have Parkinson’s Disease or are a caregiver of a patient, you need to understand how and how much the disease will influence the professional life.
Informing the employer
It is important to inform your office personnel aboutyour condition as it is physically visible in terms of shaking, walking difficulty, slowed movements, etc. If your treatment is managed carefully and your symptoms do not cause issues in your personal life, you can continue working for many years. But before informing you should be sure about yourself and your capabilities as the disease progresses.
The first person to approach is your team leader or manager. Your company cannot discriminate against youbased on your disorder. Your manager will make slight adjustments to your work profile by either adjusting your job role or accommodating assistance under your supervision. If they do not do anything to accommodate your disorder into the work profile, you should reach out to the Human Resources department to claim your rights.
Parkinson’s Disease comes under the category of disability in India. Any employee suffering from Parkinson’s Disease is provided certain provisions under the approved disabilitieslist provided by the Government of India.Employers have a duty to make changes in the work environment or your job role to help you continue working. But to be eligible for the provisions and rights of disability, you need to get a disability certificate as proof. Most of the companies provide medical benefits like insurance or medical cards which help you pay for treatment and medications. A Parkinson’s Disease patient may also be eligible for early retirement at a lower pension plan analyzed according to the years left till original retirement.A company may also provide medical payments through the pension plans after retirement based on their policies.
Any person suffering from Parkinson’s Disease should get a disability certificate which plays a vital role when acquiring certain benefits and facilities that are offered by both the Central and the State Government. In case of Parkinson’s Disease, a medical board needs to specify the disability as progressive/non-progressive or likely to improve depending on the individual’s diagnosis and prognosis reports. Once provided, Parkinson’s Disease patients do not require re-assessment of the disability certificate.
How to obtain a disability certificate?
You can obtain a disability certificate from a state government hospital specific to your region or locality.
- The individual must be an Indian citizen
- The individual must be assessed by a state government neurologist to have a minimum of 40% degree of disability
- Appropriate medical reports including written diagnosis by a neurologist, doctor’s prescription, CT or MRI scan with reports, detailed explanation of the disability obtained from the doctor
Looking for work
Working plays an important role in keeping your mind and body active and also contributes to slowing down the progression of Parkinson’s Disease. You can look for a job even when you are suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. During an interview, you only need to mention your specific disabilities which may interfere with your work. Mentioning the disease itself is not mandatory. There are different options you can consider including full time and part time jobs. To judge how well you can work, you should think about these aspects with respect to the job.
- Level of responsibility
- Travel and mobility
- Flexibility in working hours
- Finances, health benefits and other provisions by the employer
You can also choose freelance work or self employment along with a partner who can help you in working efficiently and handlingemergencies.
Taking Time Off
Parkinson’s Disease patients go through checkups and medical appointments on a regular basis. You can mention your appointment schedule and ask for time off according to the reasonable adjustment agreement. This agreement is unique to each company. As per the government provisions you are allowed sick leaves but you need to follow the employer’s usual procedure for letting them know.
If you are sick for more than 7 days, you need to arrange a fitness certificate from a medical professional for statutory sick pay purposes. You are entitled to sick leaves pay based on the company’s individual sick leave policies. But you may qualify for statutory sick pay for up to 28 weeks if you are sick for more than 4 days.
Being off work for more than 4 weeks may categorize you as long term sick. As a last resort under such circumstances, your employer may dismiss you after following a certain procedure:
- Take medical advice on your condition
- Consider adjustments in work
- Following fair procedure for disability
- Provide all provisions on dismissal
If you believe that your employer is dismissing you based on your disability or because they do not want to make any adjustments in the job role, you can claim for disability discrimination or unfair dismissal.
As Parkinson’s Disease progresses, your ability to work efficiently decreases. The risk of injury and medical emergency also increase as the disease progresses. As much as working may help you stay active, it is required to end for your own safety and health. But before leaving your job or work, you should choose an alternate source to keep you busy in a much safer environment to keep you active. Look carefully at your finances and pension plans. When it is the right time, leave work and take better care of your health and personal life to lead a quality life.
Note – the work policies and guidelines may differ slightly based on the employer – reconfirm all the policies applicable to you.