Navigating Diabetes and Employment: Your Questions Answered!


Living with diabetes can raise various concerns about its impact on your professional life. At times, you might wonder whether to disclose your condition to your employer, if you’re entitled to extra time for medical appointments, or if you can still pursue certain career paths, like driving.

Is Diabetes a Disability?
Despite not always feeling like a disability, diabetes is classified as an ‘unseen disability’ under the Equality Act 2010. This classification offers protection against workplace discrimination, ensuring that you are treated fairly and equitably.

Should I Inform My Employer about My Diabetes?
It is advisable to be open with your employer about your diabetes diagnosis. This transparency can prove beneficial in various situations, such as when you need time off, require moments for insulin injections, or face any diabetes-related delays. By informing your employer in advance, you empower them to consider your condition when addressing any work-related issues.

Reasonable Adjustments for Diabetes:
The law recognizes the need for ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate employees with diabetes. This might include flexible working hours, modified equipment for those with visual impairments, a private space for insulin injections, improved accessibility features, or even changes in duties or job positions.

Time Off Work Due to Diabetes:
Diabetes should not hinder your ability to take necessary time off work. While the law does not mandate paid time off, the Disability Discrimination Act emphasizes that employers should make reasonable adjustments to prevent disadvantage compared to non-diabetic colleagues.

Employer Knowledge of Medical History:
In most cases, the decision to disclose your medical history is yours. However, the Health and Safety at Work Act may require employers to conduct individual risk assessments to ensure that a disability, such as diabetes, does not pose a risk to your health or the health of others.

Job Security After Diabetes Diagnosis:
If you are diagnosed with diabetes while employed, your company is expected to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your condition. Examples of these adjustments may include altered working hours, modified duties, time off for medical appointments, or even a transfer to a more suitable position.

Driving and Diabetes:
For those controlled by tablets, there’s no legal ban on driving employment. However, if insulin is required, stricter license rules may apply. Employers ultimately decide whether you can continue driving for work.

Work-Related Travel and Diabetes:
If diabetes affects insurance costs, your employer may limit your involvement in certain activities, like overseas meetings. Open communication is crucial to ensure appropriate insurance coverage for both you and the company.

Handling Strenuous Work and Diabetes:
Employers should ideally allow time for you to manage your sugar levels during the workday. If accommodation is challenging, they need to justify their reasons. Keeping a stash of sugar on hand can be beneficial in strenuous work environments.

Benefits for Those Unable to Work:
If you’re under 65, disabled, and require personal care or supervision due to diabetes, you may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Remember, open communication and awareness can go a long way in creating a supportive work environment for individuals with diabetes