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© Quinn Dombrowski

Employers ‘must support’ staff with migraines


Employers do not understand the terrible effects of migraines and could do more to support staff who have the condition, three UK charities have announced.

The research – which indicates one in seven are affected – suggests that more help and awareness from managers is required.

In a survey of more than 2,000 adults in the UK by the Migraine Trust, Migraine Action and the National Migraine Centre, 64% said that they believed employers were misinformed about the characteristics of migraines, or how they affected employees.

Fiona McKenzie was told by a former employer she would be fired if her absences – which stemmed from migraines – didn’t improve. She added that the pain is “like someone hitting my brain with an ice pick”.

Common migraine symptoms include: throbbing headache; sensitivity to light or noise; nausea; seeing flashing lights or coloured spots; dizziness; and double vision.

Migraines can be classified as a disability if it is severe enough to affect work, however charities say that the legislation is unclear and consequently, many employers are reluctant to act.

Simon Evans from Migraine Action said that most employees “kill themselves to get in to work”. He also added that employers should consider how lighting and computer screens have the potential to affect staff with the condition.

Evans said that such issues should be resolved by offering a sick room that is dark and quiet where employees can recover, alternatively, they should also send home those affected in necessary circumstances.

Research published in the journal Headache, identified that measuring daily stress levels could help to predict the occurrence of migraine attacks.

Pan European Networks Ltd