Chronically Sick: Employment

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12 July 2007.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to bring forward provisions to strengthen the legal rights of people with (a) rheumatoid arthritis and (b) other chronic health conditions in the workplace.

Photo of Anne McGuire Anne McGuire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We have no plans to extend the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as we have already fulfilled our commitment to put in place a comprehensive set of enforceable civil rights for disabled people. In particular, we extended and improved the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 from 1 October 2004 to bring all small employers and previously excluded occupations, except service in the armed forces, within the scope of employment provisions of the Act.

For a disabled person to benefit from the protection provided by the Disability Discrimination Act, they must meet the Act's definition of a disabled person. In general, the Act defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Someone with rheumatoid arthritis or a chronic health condition is protected by the Act if their condition meets this definition.

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