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New Zealand Woman With Chronic Illness Calls Out Ministry Of Social Development Over Double Standard

Thursday 9 July 2020


From New Zealand news outlet NewsHub.:


Abby Malcolmson
Abby Malcolmson

Woman with chronic illness calls out Ministry of Social Development over double standard

By Eleisha Foon for RNZ
29 June 2020
Copyright © 2020 MediaWorks TV - All Rights Reserved.

A former public sector worker says she is disappointed with her employer as she battled to be understood in the workplace, after being diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Just seven months into her new job, Abby Malcolmson's life changed when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic illness causing long-term muscle pain and fatigue.

She was employed by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in Wellington in October 2018, helping people to apply for welfare support and learned she had fibromyalgia in early 2019.

However, she has since resigned due to work-related stress and is now on the sickness benefit. She said as a woman with a chronic illness, she felt she lost the battle to be fully supported in the workplace.

Over this period she had to learn how to live with extreme back pain and adjust her lifestyle including the way she worked which required her to ask for extra time off and the option to work from home.

"Stress really affects the condition and if managers are a lot more open and kind to speaking about it, it makes the whole process a lot easier."

As time went on, she said her workplace became stressful and challenging, and the requests for flexibility were not fully supported.

She said it was hard to balance work and learning to cope with a chronic illness, but felt her employer could not fully accommodate her when she needed it most.


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