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Diabetes and Employment

Having diabetes doesn't mean you won't be able to find employment.

It is important to show recruiters that you're the best person for the job, regardless of your diabetes.

The Equality Act 2010 aims to set out the principles that employers should follow in their treatment of employees and job applicants to ensure equality in the work place.

Some job options are not open to people who treat their diabetes with insulin. This is because some occupations have restrictions.

Following extensive campaigning by Diabetes UK, the blanket bans have been lifted in the emergency services for people with Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes who use insulin. Decisions made on someone's suitability for employment in these services should be made by a process of individual assessment.

However the UK armed forces are exempt from the Equality Act and can operate a blanket ban on the recruitment of people with diabetes.

When to tell recruiters

Some application forms ask about your health and it is important to mention diabetes.

If you are not asked about your health on the application form, mention your diabetes at the end of the interview. By this stage the recruiters will have already decided whether you are suitable for the job.

If you are asked how diabetes will affect your ability to do the job be honest but positive. Show you are in control of your diabetes.

Diabetes at work

Be prepared to treat hypoglycaemia (a hypo) at work. Give colleagues enough information to able to help you without overreacting.

Taking time off

  • Try to arrange appointments for the same morning
  • Give good notice of absences
  • Keep your employer informed
  • Don't blame diabetes if you are off for any other reason
  • Seek prompt medical attention

Further reading:

Diabetes UK Advocacy Service, Tel: 0345 123 2399, Advocacy Service Leaflet

Check for your local branch.

The Directgov website has information about disability rights and employment.

Equality & Human Rights Commission

Equality Advisory Support Service

The Equality Act 2010 & Equality and Human Rights Commission will provide additional in information.

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