My migraines make me miss work. What should I tell my employer?
Telling your employer about your medical history is a very personal decision. However, if your work performance is suffering and your absenteeism is now becoming an issue, it may be time to let your employer know why this is happening.
It is unfortunate that there still remains a stigma attached to ‘migraine’ and those who do not suffer may not understand. Best to let your employer know why you are absent from work rather than have him assume your performance and absenteeism are down for other reasons.
When you make the decision to speak to him/her, you should be prepared for your discussion in advance.
Begin by informing them ‘what migraines are’. That they are a neurological condition, with episodes, that have certain triggers. They may be unpredictable, but can be controlled with medications.
It would be beneficial to bring some literature or pamphlets on migraine to inform them. Alternatively direct them to websites on migraine.
Letting them know that you are under a physician’s care and taking appropriate medication, and that you can support this with a physician letter may also be advisable.
Be prepared to teach them a little about the disability associated with migraine. That it ranks among the top 20 in the World Health Organization’s diseases, among things like heart disease and diabetes. That may help to put it perspective for them.
Once you have described your headache triggers, ask them if they would be willing to work with you to assist in minimizing some of these around your workplace. For example, reducing the bright lights at your workstation, checking the ergonomics of your workstation, making the workplace fragrance free.
If you start to get a migraine, allowing you to find a quiet place to lie down and take your meds for a time rather than go home. This may reduce your time off and allowyou to get back to work once your mediction has taken effect.
These strategies may show your employer that you are serious about wanting to do your best to work with your condition and also educate them and hopefully have them understand and accommodate to your needs.