In a sample of 50 individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), participants able to work full-time ('W'), those who reduced their hours ('CB') and those who were unemployed ('NW') were compared on demographic and disease variables and symptoms that the participants identified as being responsible for their work status change. The NW group had significantly greater physical disability than the other two groups and significantly more fatigue than the W group. The CB group had significantly more years of education and higher occupational prestige ratings than the NW group. The W group reported significantly greater mood disturbance compared with the NW group. Employment status was unrelated to age, gender, full scale IQ estimate, disease duration, diagnosis duration or cognitive functioning. Ninety per cent of the CB group reported that fatigue was a primary symptom responsible for their work status change, whereas 86% of the NW group reported that broad physical/neurological symptoms were responsible for their change in work status.