Region: Europe

Disability Definition

Based on the General Law on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Social Inclusion, disability is a situation that results from the interaction between people with foreseeably permanent deficiencies and any type of barriers that limit or prevent their full and effective participation in society, on equal terms with others.

Furthermore, Article 4 of the General Law identifies the Rights Holders as:

People with disabilities are those who present physical, mental, intellectual or sensory deficiencies, predictably permanent, which, by interacting with various barriers, may impede their full and effective participation in society, on equal terms with others.
In addition to what is established in the previous section, and for all purposes, those with a degree of disability equal to or greater than 33 percent shall be considered persons with disabilities. Social Security pensioners who have a permanent disability pension recognized in the degree of total, absolute or high disability, and passive class pensioners who have recognized a disability shall be considered to have a disability of equal or greater than 33 percent. retirement or retirement pension for permanent incapacity for service or uselessness.


Royal Legislative Decree 1/2013, the General Law on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Social Inclusion, effective on December 4, 2013, consolidated 1) General Law 13/1982 on rights of persons with disabilities and their social integration 2) Law 51/2003 on Equal Opportunities, and 3) 2007 Equal Opportunities Act.

Ratified UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on 3 December 2007.

Disability status information can be collected during the Application stage, but, due to the fact that said data is considered as specially protected, it can only be collected if the following two requirements are met:
– employee has been given GDPR-compliant notice of the data collection and specific explicit consent has been collected from the relevant data subject for a specific processing activity
In all cases it seems that local laws “completing” the GDPR will add a new requirement: sensitive data can only be collected and processed in case it is strictly necessary pursuant to a legal obligation (not for internal reasons such as diversity policies).

There are some local laws “completing” the GDPR rules that are under review by the Spanish Parliament. Therefore, the final picture about those additional local provisions is still not in sight and this document should be reviewed once said additional local provisions enter into force.

Employer Legal Requirements

Companies that have had an average of 50 or more employees in the last 12 months are required to hire at least 2% of workers with disabilities (with an equal to or higher than 33% degree disability).

A company that wishes to be exempted from the obligation must expressly apply to the SEPE (Public State Employment Service) and document either no available qualified disabled talent or it would impose a burden

Employers can receive different financial benefits depending on the type of a contract offered to a person with a disability, either permanent or temporary.

Accessibility Requirements

Developed National Accessibility Plan in Spain to remove architectural barriers that remain. The plan will also address access to goods and services along with public administrations.

Definition for ICT and reasonable accommodations exist in current legislation.

Spanish law 34 of 2002, passed on July 11, 2002, related to “De servicios de la sociedad de la información y de comercio electrónico (LSSICE),” or “services of the information society and electronic commerce.” Section five of the “Dispoiciones Adicionales” relates to accessibility for people with disabilities and the elderly. This section directed that public sector websites be made accessible to individuals with disabilities by December 31, 2005 in line with the requirements of widely recognized accessibility standards.

Level Access Spanish Accessibility Requirements Article

Royal Decree 1494/2007 approves the Regulation on the basic conditions for access of people with disabilities to technologies, products and services related to the information society and social media.

Royal Decree 1112/2018 provides guidance for the accessibility of websites and applications for mobile devices in the public sector. RD 1112/2018 FAQs

The Spanish standards organization, AENOR, developed a Spanish web accessibility standard UNE 139803:2004. UNE 139803 is the official standard for web accessibility in Spain and defines the level of accessibility for public sector organizations (government websites) based on Law 34 of 2002 and Law 51 of 2003. UNE 139803:2012 updates the requirements and are based largely on WCAG 2.0 Level AA.European Accessibility Act: The European Parliament and the Council came to a provisional agreement on the Commission’s proposal for a European Accessibility Act on 8 November 2018.

Cultural Norms

According to the OECP Report, Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers (Vol.2),

Only 35% of people with disabilities in Spain are employed. Reasons include low work motivation and widespread stigma concerning the work ability of people with disability, and the ineffectiveness of employment regulations and supports.

According to research conducted by the Pathways Project, in Spain there is a relatively well-developed cooperation between healthcare and social service systems.

In 2005, the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) was the first Spanish university that implemented a special support programme for students with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Business Practices/Examples

Additional content coming soon.


Statistical data based on the poll EDAD 2008 by the National Institute for Statistics (INE) reveals that 3.85 million persons in Spain (out of which 59.8% are women) are affected by some level of disability which is equivalent to 8.5% of the population. These figures are the basis for the second Spanish Disability Strategy 2012-2020.

According to this article, the most optimistic predictions for Spain estimate that, in 2050, more than 55% of the population will be over 65 years.

Special Employment Centers offer employment to the disabled. Employment centers are considered as work integration companies where people with disabilities can join a job and perform activities or functions according to their personal characteristics. There are support programs for its creation with some grants and public subsidies aimed at promoting the labor integration of people with disabilities.

Supplier Diversity

Although there are companies registering suppliers, it is unclear that WBEs or LGBT-owned businesses have made much headway in this area in Spain.

Talent Sourcing Resources

Incorpora: Talent sourcing for companies for people in vulnerable situations, including people with disabilities.

Spanish Federal of People with Physical and Organic Disabilities (COCEMFE): COCEMFE makes available to companies for free different services to promote Corporate Social Responsibility and Disability (RSE-D) and compliance with the legal obligations of companies in matters of disability. The Employment Services and Placement Agencies of COCEMFE provide companies with information and advice to become inclusive companies, a preselection service for each job offer; a consultancy on the available bonuses and incentives and compliance with the legal employment reserve for people with disabilities or alternative measures.

Additional Resources

ONCE is the Spanish organisation for the blind and other disabled persons and they offer advice in areas such as management and accounting. Also provides grants to increase training and employability of persons with disabilities.
ILUNION is a unique business model conceived from the perspective of and for people, the goal of which is to create quality employment for people with disabilities. And the best way to achieve this goal is to develop and professionalise profitable and sustainable lines of business that offer a specialized, comprehensive and, as perceived by our clients, high value service
Discapnet is an initiative to promote the social and labor integration of people with disabilities, co-financed by Fundación ONCE and ILUNION Technology and Accessibility. It comprises two main lines of action: an information service for organizations , professionals, people with disabilities and family members and a platform for the development of actions aimed at promoting the participation in the economic, social and cultural life of people with disabilities.
COCEMFE is a non-profit non-governmental organization that was constituted in 1980. Its objective is to unite, strengthen, train and coordinate the efforts and activities of the entities that work in favor of the people with physical and organic disabilities to defend their rights and improve their quality of life. Reference their Talent Sourcing capability in the above section.
The Association of Supported Employment (AESE) mission is to promote the development of Supported Employment in Spain and Latin America, so that more and more people with disabilities or at risk of social exclusion can successfully access the integrated labor world, and, with it, can be recognized in practice as citizens with all their rights.
CEDDD, the Spanish Council for the Defense of Persons with Disabilities and / or Dependency, includes 5,000 Associations, Centers and Special Education Units, 350,000 workers, 9,000,000 users and more than 2,000 volunteers. The CEDDD represents and defends the rights and interests of persons with disabilities and / or dependents and their families and associations that represent them, as well as the entities that make up the environment of these persons. The CEDDD mission is to integrate broadly and without exclusions all those people, associations and entities that work for the defense, improvement and representation of people with disabilities and dependency. CEDDD Members List.
National Confederation of Deaf People (CNSE) is a non-profit and statewide social action NGO that was founded in 1936. Since its creation, the CNSE has developed a work of vindication and political advocacy to achieve full citizenship of deaf people, as well as the implementation of care and service delivery programs through its federations and associations of deaf people.
SID – Organización Nacional de Discapacitados (National Organisation for the Disabled) is an information directory for support and related services.
European Disability Forum (EDF) is an independent European non-governmental organization (ENGO) that represents the interests of 50 million disabled people in the European Union and stands for their rights. It was created in 1996 and is based in Brussels.


DOTCOM: the Disability Online Tool of the Commission – Spain (Operated by The Academic Network of European Disability Experts (ANED)): Site contains details on the UN Convention, Optional Protocol, reporting, national legal framework, accessibility, national action plan and more.

Positive evolution in employment, but with increasing the gap between people with and without disabilities, Fundacion ONCE article, December 2018

Spain and Disability Report, VILNIUS 2010


Additional content coming soon.
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