Please join us for a Lunch & Learn on disability and employment, titled Swimming Against the Current or Being Swept Away? The Workforce Experiences of Employees Living with a Chronic Illness with professor Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, and Augustana students Hailey J. Smith and Jessica Dostie.
February 14, 2018
Roger Epp Conference Room, Forum 2nd Floor, Augustana Campus
Free Event! $5 lunch is available upon request (free lunch for students with pre-registration)
Please register with Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (780) 679-1626.
Swimming Against the Current or Being Swept Away? The Workforce Experiences of Employees Living with a Chronic Illness
Finding and maintaining employment is a challenge for someone living with a chronic illness. For many, their illness involves managing some form of physical disability that may limit the type of work they can do, may require them to seek workplace accommodations, or increase the likelihood of experiencing workplace discrimination. Despite policy changes at a national, provincial, and labour-market level to support employees with disabilities and to encourage workforce diversity, persons with disabilities remain under-represented in the labour market. Among working-age adults between 15 to 64 years, the employment rate in Canada is 51% for persons with a disability compared to 75% for non-disabled persons. As the number of people reporting at least one physical disability due to chronic illness increases each year and the need for labour and skilled workers continues, understanding how individuals find and sustain durable employment is essential.
This presentation will discuss the findings from a series of studies that examined the work experiences of employees diagnosed with arthritis or multiple sclerosis, and the strategies they used to stay employed and be productive. For example, most employees encountered a range of challenges at work, such as navigating the physical environment, deciding whether to disclose their disability to their employer, redefining their work identity, and feeling supported by their co-workers. Using these findings, we developed the Job Sustainability Model to illustrate how disease, personal, and work-related factors interact to influence what type of coping behaviours employees use to stay employed. Our findings provide a useful framework to help rehabilitation specialists, employers and colleagues, and researchers understand what challenges employees living with arthritis or multiple sclerosis might encounter during their employment journey.