RA can affect all aspects of life, including work, and of course, the added stress of needing an income from work makes managing RA in a workplace setting all the more important. Thankfully, there is much that can be done, with reasonable adjustments and a good understanding of your rights and how your employer can support you at work.  


In this Article

10 years on from our survey in 2007, NRAS launched a new report on the impact RA has on working lives at the end of 2017. “Work Matters” was a landmark report providing new data on this most important subject. “Work is central to human existence and the motive force for all economies. For individuals, it provides structure and meaning and is good for people’s health and wellbeing, as well as their financial health and prosperity. Moreover, work benefits families and is socially inclusive.” Professor Dame Carol Black wrote these words in her report to Tony Blair’s government “Working for a healthier tomorrow” in 2008, and they are as true today as then. 

The first recommendation in our report was: 

Government should incentivise employers to incorporate training of workforce, particularly line managers, in how to support employees with long-term conditions/disabilities and ensure this is included in all new employee induction processes. The emphasis should be on providing early support to prevent employees getting to a crisis point where job loss or reduction of hours is more likely or inevitable. 

As part of our commitment to support the above recommendation, NRAS invested in creating two important videos both of which were interviews with key employer organisations in the UK which focus on how and why employers should provide better support to people with RA and other long term conditions in the workplace as this benefits not only the employee but the employer as well. Often employers, particularly the smaller to medium-sized enterprises who don’t have HR departments, simply don’t know how best to support their employees with a long-term condition like RA, or where to go for information and support. On 18th September 2019, NRAS launched both of the below videos at a special event called ‘Time2Work’ at the King’s Fund in London. These videos capture interviews by NRAS National Patient Champion, Ailsa Bosworth, with Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry and Neil Carberry, the CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

A video of the highlights of the launch event on the 18th September was made and launched on World Arthritis Day (12th October 2019) as part of the EULAR (European League against Rheumatism) campaign, Don’t Delay, Connect Today, with this year’s theme being #Time2Work. We were fortunate in securing some excellent speakers for the event and further videos of their individual presentations and the panel session, which followed, can be viewed below:

Introduction by Clare Jacklin, CEO NRAS

Presentation by Professor Karen Walker-Bone BM, FRCP, PhD, Hon FFOM

Director, Arthritis Research UK/MRC Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work

Presentation by Louise Parker 

Lead Nurse, Rheumatology & Connective Tissue Disease, Royal Free Hospital
Chair – Royal College of Nursing, Rheumatology Forum

Presentation Kyla Sanders and Kate

Living with RA

Keynote presentation from Mr Nick Davison

Head of Health Services, John Lewis Partnership

Panel discussion with all above speakers and the audience

Work and RA - Resources

I want to work

In this booklet you will find up-to-date and accurate advice and information, to make sure you know what help you can expect to receive and have the support to help you to keep working and to minimise the impact that work might have on your RA and vice versa.


An employers’ guide to rheumatoid arthritis

This booklet has information about rheumatoid arthritis (RA), how it can affect people at work, the kind of difficulties it can cause and how these may be overcome. It also includes up to date information on where employers can go for help and advice on the law relating to disability, on best practice and on making reasonable adjustments for employees at work.


Work matters

In this booklet you will find a UK wide survey of adults with rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis on the impact of their disease on work.