Mismanagement and misconceptions of migraine place an avoidable burden on employees, employers and the economy

The Issue

The impact of migraine presents a serious problem for sufferers, employers and the economy. It is the second highest cause of absence among non-manual employees. Approximately 25 million days are lost from work a year due to migraine. This costs the UK approximately £2.25 billion a year. The true cost of migraine, taking into account presenteeism (when employees attend work despite being unwell), will actually be much higher than this. Initiatives to reduce sickness absence at work often fail to help employees with fluctuating and episodic conditions, such as migraine, who are more likely to take frequent and short-term absence.  There is a lack of understanding and awareness among employers and the public about migraine and how it can be managed in the workplace.  Stigma and a lack of understanding about migraine can exacerbate problems in the workplace.

Migraine sufferers should not be disadvantaged at work or in the labour market.  Being a migraine sufferer should not mean low socio-economic status.

What needs to happen?

  • A national public awareness strategy to increase understanding of migraine and tackle stigma in the workplace.
  • Appropriate government-led support and incentives for employers to provide flexible working systems to be able to employ and retain staff with fluctuating and episodic conditions.

Our work

The Migraine Trust is committed to raising awareness of the disabling impact of this condition on working age men and women and the effect on the economy. We seek to eliminate stigma and discrimination of sufferers in employment and all areas of public life.  We do this by raising awareness in parliament, to policy-makers and by working with employers and unions.