United Kingdom

Region: Europe

Disability Definition

A physical or mental impairment (excluding addiction, hay fever, tendency to set fires (pyromania), tendency to steal (kleptomania), tendency toward physical or sexual abuse, exhibitionism, and voyeurism) that has a “substantial” and “long-term” negative effect on one’s ability to do normal daily activities, “substantial “ meaning more than minor or trivial (e.g. it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed) and “long-term” meaning one year or longer.


The Equality Act of 2010, combined several equal access acts and regulations, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA).

Updated and combined older pieces of legislation addressing minority groups, including the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995, into one simpler, more robust act that seeks to protect equal rights and advance equality. It defines “disability” and lays out requirements of employers.

Signed the UN CRPD 30 March 2007 and ratified the CRPD 8 June 2005

Employer Legal Requirements

Employers are obligated to make reasonable adjustments (i.e. accommodations) during the recruitment process and in the workplace, under the Equality Act 2010.

Allow employees with disabilities to do things another way –e.g., allow someone with social anxiety disorder to have their own desk instead of hot-desking or hoteling.

Make physical changes –e.g., install a ramp for a wheelchair user or an audio-visual fire alarm for a deaf person.

Let a person with a disability work somewhere else –e.g., on the ground floor or remotely for a wheelchair user.

Change their equipment –e.g., provide a special keyboard if someone has arthritis.

Allow employees who become disabled to make a phased return to work – e.g., work flexible hours or part-time.

Offer employees training opportunities, recreation, and refreshment facilities.

There are no direct financial wage subsidies or tax incentives for employers to hire disabled people, although some assistance is available with reasonable accommodations.

Accessibility Requirements

Web accessibility is a requirement of the 2010 Equality Act. Public sector websites and apps must be accessible to all users under the EU’s ‘Accessibility of public sector websites and apps’ directive.

Ensure digital services work for those who have specific needs or use assistive technology and ensure compliance (to minimum accessible AA level) within WCAG 2.0 web content accessibility guidelines.

To meet government accessibility requirements, digital services must: meet level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) as a minimum, work on the most commonly used assistive technologies – including screen magnifiers, screen readers and speech recognition tools, include people with disabilities in user research.

Review the details at GOV.UK Service Manual, section entitled Making Your Service Accessible –

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

The UK, with a universal healthcare system and relatively favorable cultural attitudes toward mental health conditions, offers a promising landscape for individuals with disabilities seeking equal opportunities for employment.

Some believe that the UK’s longstanding cultural tendency toward politeness and respect for personal boundaries may make inexperienced managers unsure of themselves around employees with disabilities. They may be disinclined to address needs or voice questions, especially among those with physical and visible disabilities.

Business Practices/Examples

Additional content coming soon.


In the UK, 1 in 5 people has a disability for Disability Statistics compendium from GOV.UK (or 1 in 6 people per Leonard Chesire)

The UK is ahead of the curve when it comes to invisible disabilities. There are higher disclosure rates to HR for invisible disabilities than in the U.S. (29% in the UK sample vs. 13% in the U.S.), and 34% of those in the UK sample who have mental health conditions feel they’re being promoted quickly (vs. 26% in the U.S.).

The UK is not necessarily ahead when it comes to disability in general. In the UK sample, 33% of employees with disabilities who haven’t disclosed a disability say they haven’t told others because there is a stigma around it (vs. 26% in the U.S.). Further, 40% of employees in the UK sample regularly feel nervous or anxious at work (vs. 35% in the U.S.).

By the age of 26 disabled people are nearly four times more likely to be unemployed than their able-bodied peers.

Department for Work and Pensions oversees the Disability Confident scheme https://disabilityconfident.campaign.gov.uk/

Supplier Diversity

Certification is in place for women-owned (WeConnect) and ethnic minority-owned business enterprises.

Ethnic minorities include the following: Asian, Black African, Black Caribbean, Black Other, Mixed Race, Chinese

Minority controlled certification available for business owners who have obtained capital from professional institutional investors through a new class of non-voting stock.

Talent Sourcing Resources

Into Work is a charity – a non-profit organisation. We have many years’ experience helping people with long-term health conditions and disabilities achieve their goal of both finding and keeping a paid job https://www.intowork.org.uk/

Business Disability Forum is a nonprofit member organization supporting disability workforce inclusion by consulting, providing training, and facilitating networking opportunities. Formerly named the Employers’ Forum on Disability, the organization has contributed to the development of disability discrimination legislation in the UK.

Leonard Chesire Employment sourcing programs, including internship program (Change100) and placement program (Change London). Current partners include Accenture, Bank of America, GSK,

Scope: Through our Work With Me campaign with Virgin Media, we want to see more disabled people find and keep a job.

The National Autistic Society is a British charity for autistic people. The purpose of the organisation is to improve the lives of autistic people in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1962 as the Autistic Children’s Aid Society of North London, it has around 18,000 members. Provides assessments for employers and assists with recruitment, training and retention of autistic talent.

Centa Co and AutiQuest provide support for individuals with learning disabilities and autistics. AutiQuest lists employment services in particular and is building an App to support transition and placements. Inarm Osborn is the Founder of both organizations.

Additional Resources

Disability Rights UK – Disabled people leading change, working for equal participation for all. Leads policy efforts to open career opportunities for more individuals.

Mencap – Mencap’s mission is to transform society’s attitudes to learning disability and improve the quality of life of people with a learning disability and their families. Supported by funding from the Department for Education, Mencap is working with employers and education providers across England with the aim of securing work placements for 500 young people with a learning disability by March 2019.

Action on Hearing Loss, known until 2011 by its official title, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, is a charitable organization working on behalf of the UK’s 9 million people who are deaf or have hearing loss. Their website has an Employer’s Hub to support recruitment and resources to better support employees with hearing loss. The head office is in Islington, London.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People is a UK charity offering information, support and advice to almost two million people in the UK with sight loss. RNIB provides employers education on employing blind invididuals and also helps blind individuals find employment.

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.

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