Achieving more with IBD
do not have to disclose your condition to your employer, but it is
usually better to do so
challenging job will not necessarily worsen your IBD
Maintaining activities appropriate for the severity of your symptoms
can lead to a better quality of life
Working can improve your well-being and self-esteem
people with IBD have a good, satisfying working life, with all the usual
benefits that having a job brings.
not obliged to tell a potential employer about your IBD unless you are
directly asked about having a health condition during your interview;
however, if you deliberately withhold this information and your employer
finds out later, you could risk being dismissed. In addition, if you
have not declared your IBD your employer will not know to support you by
making any necessary adjustments to accommodate you and your condition.
countries grant schemes exist to provide financial support to employers
who recruit people who have been legally granted a degree of disability;
this may improve your chances of employment in some cases. Under
European Union law employers also have a legal obligation to avoid any
type of unlawful discrimination.
Specific employment rights vary by country. Your national IBD
association may have useful information and links on employment and
are already in a job and are diagnosed with IBD, or your condition
deteriorates, you may wonder about telling your employer. There is
generally no legal requirement, but check whether such a requirement is
in your employment contract. There are advantages to telling your
employer: keeping your symptoms hidden may be a strain; if your employer
is aware of your condition they may make adjustments for you. A lack of
trust/understanding with your employer can lead to problems.
tell an employer or prospective employer about your IBD, you may not
wish it to become public knowledge. However, telling your colleagues
about your condition and what it entails means they are more likely to
give you the support and assistance you need, and so help to create a
better working environment.
more information on communication issues in IBD, one can refer to
with IBD/ Communicating IBD
important that you are aware of your rights regarding sick leave and
payment, pension rights and job security. If you feel you are being
discriminated against because of your IBD, speak to your human
resources/personnel manager or the person in charge of employee
relations in the company.
important not to let your IBD impose a restriction on your education and
employment goals and aspirations. A recent study has shown that there is
no clear relationship between stress and IBD. Therefore an increase in
work responsibilities does not necessarily lead to an increase in
disease activity, and so your decision (for example) to accept a
promotion, or move to a more challenging post, should not influenced by
this, but on whether the job is right for you.
with IBD tend to have a better quality of life if they maintain certain
activities appropriate for their symptoms, including continuing to work.
Job seekers guide
order for you to assess whether a job is right for you consider the
many hours can you work each day?
many hours can you travel to work?
many toilet breaks do you need on average?
you need to take medication at work?
you have pain at work?
Does the pain stop you from working?
your employer flexible?
many hours/days a week can you work?
you work from home?
What is the sick leave policy?
you get time off from work for doctor’s appointments?
there colleague support?
there good toilet access?
some people with IBD (but not all) need to use a toilet frequently,
travelling to and from work can be very taxing, and you may find the
necessity, or even the possibility, of having to use toilet facilities
en route daunting.
example, a long underground or bus journey where it is difficult to get
off and back on can often create psychological problems. Indeed,
‘fearing failure’ to get to toilet facilities in time can turn into a
desire to use the toilet when not actually necessary. Without the proper
behavioural support mechanisms, the danger is that the individual with
IBD may avoid difficult situations (for example, declining work and
social invitations that they label as “not necessary’), which can lead
to further isolation. This pattern of behaviour is sometimes difficult
However, you can learn techniques to avoid such restrictive behaviour.
Self-efficacy (which is a belief that you can exercise control over
specific events) will allow for a successful working life. Enabling
thought processes, and the ability to access our feelings, all influence
how well you approach life. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about
these techniques, so they can put you in touch with a qualified
professional who can provide guidance on these.