This Good Practice Guide has been developed as part of SUSE’s ‘More than the Sum of the Parts’ project. Our members work with hundreds of employers across Scotland every day and they told us that employers are keen to know more about how to support disabled people and people with long term conditions in the workplace.

We know that the vast majority of employers want to create opportunities for disabled people but they may not know how to go about this. There are many myths around employing disabled people and a lot of fear about getting it wrong. The Good Practice Guide is intended to offer some practical advice for employers, challenge some mistaken beliefs and start a conversation about how we can work together to get this right.

SUSE members are available and ready to help employers and have a lot of experience and knowledge to share.  If you want the support of a local organisation we can help you to connect with them. You can contact us at

From September 2018 this site will host a searchable database of supported employment organisations across Scotland – this will enable employers to find out what is available in their local areas and make direct contact with providers.  We will update this page with a link to the search function when it is ready to go live.


About 750,000 people of working age in Scotland have a long-term health problem or disability

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Demographic changes and a tight labour market mean some employers are struggling to fill vacancies. Disabled people or people with long term conditions are an under utilised pool of talent in our communities and economy. The Good Practice Guide offers advice on how to reach them.



of disabled people aged 16-64 are working compared to around 80 per cent of non-disabled people.

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Every year thousands of Scots develop a disability or long term condition. Most of these people want to stay in work and their employers do not want to lose experienced staff they have trained and invested in. The Good Practice Guide can help you to retain these valued workers.

Only 20%

of disabled people with mental health issues are employed

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Exercises are available throughout the Guide to help you reflect on the practice within your workplace.

Before you get started, find out how much you know about disability in the workplace: Take the test

Many disabled people want to work but can’t get the opportunity to show what they can do.

The Supported Employment model is designed to enable people who are furthest removed for the labour market to work towards a paid job and supports employers who want to create workforces that are more diverse.

Every year more and more employers across Scotland are working with supported employment services. Trained job coaches are helping them to find the right candidate for their vacancy, supporting the jobseeker and employer through the recruitment process and providing in-work support to help the new employee settle in, learn the job and make a meaningful contribution to the business.

Find out more about Supported Employment. 


A person is described as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities. We’ve given some definitions below:

Mental Impairment refers to a wide range of conditions that impact on mental functioning. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Learning disabilities
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

Substantial is more than minor or trivial. A condition with a substantial adverse effect doesn’t have to stop a person from doing something completely, but it must make it more difficult to complete a daily task such as getting dressed. It may also be that a person avoids doing certain things because it causes them a lot of pain or makes them tired.

Long-term means a condition lasting 12 months or more, for example a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection.

Normal day-to-day activities are those carried out by most people on a regular basis. For example:

  • walking or driving
  • washing or getting dressed
  • cooking or eating
  • using public transport
  • talking or hearing
  • writing, typing or reading
  • carrying or moving things
  • being able to concentrate or understand
  • being able to form social relationships.

Some conditions are specifically excluded from the Equality Act as an impairment. For example, addiction to alcohol, nicotine and any other substance (unless the addiction is the result of medically-prescribed drugs or treatment).

A progressive condition is one that gets worse over time. People with progressive conditions can be described as disabled. However, you automatically meet the disability definition under the Equality Act 2010 from the day you’re diagnosed with HIV infection, cancer or multiple sclerosis.

Hidden disabilities refer to disabilities which may not be visible at a glance, but can have a major impact on people’s lives and can include:

  • Chronic Pain – a variety of conditions may cause back problems, musculoskeletal issues, physical injuries, neurological causes or headaches.
  • Chronic Fatigue –  can be extremely debilitating and affect every aspect of a person’s everyday life.
  • Mental Illness – there are many mental illnesses that are regarded as a disability. Some examples are depression, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, agoraphobia, and many others. These diseases can make performing everyday tasks extremely difficult.
  • Chronic Dizziness – often associated with problems of the inner ear, chronic dizziness can lead to impairment when walking, driving, working, sleeping, and other common tasks.

Some Common Hidden Disabilities include traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic Fibrosis, Attention Deficit-Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder(ADD/ADHD)

A related condition is a condition which later develops into another condition related to the first. If taken together, the adverse effects of these two related conditions last for more than 12 months, a person will be considered as having a disability under the Equality Act.