Disability and employment
This factsheet was last updated in November 2015.
What is disability?
Disability is defined in different ways for different purposes. In the UK and for employment purposes, the definition is contained in the Equality Act 2010: a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
‘Long-term’ means that the condition must last, or be likely to last, for more than 12 months, or is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person affected.
Individuals with cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV/AIDS are covered from the date of diagnosis regardless of the impact that the illness is having on their life at the time of diagnosis. Other examples of conditions covered include: chronic fatigue syndrome, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy, dyslexia, severe nut allergies, eczema, depression and some cases of obesity. These are simply examples and many more categories may be included.
To be covered under the Act, a mental illness doesn't have to be clinically well recognised. The emphasis is on the impact of the symptoms rather than the label that's been attached to them.
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- What is disability in an equality sense?
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