Tackling the disability employment gap

Addressing workplace barriers for disabled people.

More disabled parents will be helped into work following an additional £6 million aimed at reducing both the disability employment gap and child poverty.

With only around 40% of working age disabled adults in employment, compared with more than 80% of non-disabled adults, the new funding is part of an action plan outlining how this gap can be at least halved over the next 20 years. The plan sets an initial ambition to increase the employment rate of disabled people to 50% by 2023 then to 60% by 2030.

The action plan also includes:

  • Up to £1 million to develop solutions to the barriers employers face in hiring and retaining disabled people
  • Up to £500,000 to pilot the provision of support similar to Access to Work to disabled people undertaking work experience or work trials
  • A new support service to help disabled people for who more mainstream employment support is not suitable
  • Appointing a business leader to advise Ministers on the steps to reduce the perceived risk of recruiting those with fluctuating health conditions
  • Developing targets for the employment of disabled people within the Scottish Government’s own workforce

Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“Everybody who can and wants to work should have the chance to find rewarding jobs. Unfortunately, far too many disabled people are currently denied this opportunity.

“I am determined that we do everything in our power to address inequality in the workforce and ensure disabled people are supported to have fair and sustainable working lives. The action plan is a significant step forward in making this happen and helping achieve our aim of at least halving the disability employment gap.”


The Disability Employment Gap refers to the difference in employment rates between disabled people and the rest of the working age population. As at 2016, our baseline year, the gap stood at 37.4 percentage points. This means to meet our ambition to at least halve the disability employment gap, we will need to reduce it to 18.7 percentage points.

View A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan.


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