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I am recruiting at the moment and interviwed an applicant who disclosed they had Rheumatoid arthritis but stated that it would not affect their ability to work. I know nothing about this condition. Has anybody had experience of employing someone in early years setting with this condition? We all know what the job entails, physical and stress and we are a packaway setting too.

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As a long term medical condition, it may be classed as a disability.

It can be a painful condition but it can also be managed with medication. It may necessitate hospital/ doctor appointments to facilitate control etc. Whether you will need to make any adaptions to the working environment for this person is impossible to predict but at this time it sounds as if that is unnecessary.

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I have been living with a chronic illness for most of my life and feel the need to speak up on behalf of your applicant.

Please believe them if they say it will not interfere with their work they will know their limitations if any. The drugs work wonders!

We are a pack away setting too, so I do know how tiring it can be. Even for the young and healthy ones.

I believe I work just as hard as my other colleagues and have not had anymore time off.

If you are still worried you could check with their previous employer.

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I have RA. I own and run a preschool and employ lots of staff.

Most days are fine but I do get times when I cannot move. The drugs I've taken in the past really got the RA under control but they themselves had side effects. So now I just take very strong painkillers when I need them.

But RA itself is a bit of a spectrum and myself I can keep going but I know of others who are in so much pain they cannot.

My advice for your interviewee is to find out how RA affects them and how many days they have had away from work sick in the last 12 months, ask for reference from someone she has worked with.

If you feel she is right for the job give a longer probationary period 6 maths and see how she gets on. Needing to go for regular blood tests or hospital appointments see if they can be arranged outside her working time. You may have to be a little flexible but it is up to you as to how good this lady is at her job.

Good luck

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