Region: Europe

Disability Definition

People with disabilities are people who have physical, physical, intellectual or sensorial impairment, which will predictably be permanent, and when they interact with a range of barriers, these can prevent them from participating fully and effectively in society in the same conditions as others.

Alongside those defined above, and for all purposes, people with disabilities also include anyone who has a recognized a degree of disability equal to or higher than 33 percent. Anyone who has been granted a pension for total, absolute or comprehensive permanent incapacity or economically inactive people who have been granted a retirement pension for permanent incapacity for work or unfitness will be regarded as having a disability equal to or higher than 33 percent.


The General Law on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Social Inclusion, effective on December 4, 2013, consolidated 1) General Law 13/1982 on rights of persons with disabilities and their social integration 2) Law 51/2003 on Equal Opportunities, and 2007 Equal Opportunities Act. Royal Legislative Decree 1/2013, of 29 November, unifies all these rules in a single legal text

“Disabiity status informaiton can be collected during the Application stage, After offer and After employment commences:
• yes, but due to the fact that said data is considered as specially protected, it can only be collected if the following two requirements are met:
1. employee has been given GDPR-compliant notice of the data collection; and
2. specific explicit consent has been collected from the relevant data subject for a specific processing activity.

In all cases It seems that local laws “completing” the GDPR will add a new requirement (in addition to the consent and the GDPR compliance notice): sensitive data can only be collected and processed in case it is strictly necessary pursuant to a legal obligation (not for internal reasons such as diversity policies).

There are some local laws “completing” the GDPR rules. They are, however, still being examined by the Spanish Parliament and enactment is not expected before the second half of 2018 (after the GDPR is in force). Therefore, the final picture about those additional local provisions is still not in sight and this document should be reviewed once said additional local provisions enter into force. As a matter of example, it seems that local laws “completing” the GDPR will add a new requirement to the collection and process of the so-called sensitive data to the ones established in article 9 GDPR: the collection and processing of sensitive data must be strictly necessary in order to comply with a legal obligation (not for internal reasons such as diversity policies).

Ratified UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on 3 December 2007

Employer Legal Requirements

Companies that have had an average of 50 or more employees in the last 12 months are required to hire at least 2% of workers with disabilities (with an equal to or higher than 33% degree disability).

A company that wishes to be exempted from the obligation must expressly apply to the SEPE (Public State Employment Service) and document either no available qualified disabled talent or it would impose a burden

Employers can receive different financial benefits depending on the type of a contract offered to a person with a disability, either permanent or temporary.

Accessibility Requirements

Developed II National Accessibility Plan in Spain to remove architectural barriers that remain. The plan will also address access to goods and services along with public administrations.

Definition for ICT and reasonable accommodations exist in current legislation.

Spanish law 34 of 2002, passed on July 11, 2002, related to “De servicios de la sociedad de la información y de comercio electrónico (LSSICE),” or “services of the information society and electronic commerce.” Section five of the “Dispoiciones Adicionales” relates to accessibility for people with disabilities and the elderly. This section directed that public sector websites be made accessible to individuals with disabilities by December 31, 2005 in line with the requirements of widely recognized accessibility standards.

The Spanish standards organization, AENOR, developed a Spanish web accessibility standard UNE 139803:2004. UNE 139803 is the official standard for web accessibility in Spain and defines the level of accessibility that public sector organizations must conform to based on Law 34 of 2002. UNE 139803 defines both the technical requirements for conformance and the method of certifying sites for accessibility. The requirements of UNE 139803 are broadly based on the requirements of WCAG 1.0 and divided into three priority levels. (Note: This may have updated to WCAG 2.0)
European Accessibility Act The European Parliament and the Council came to a provisional agreement on the Commission’s proposal for a European Accessibility Act on 8 November 2018.

Cultural Norms

In Spain, there is a relatively well-developed cooperation between healthcare and social service systems.

Widespread stigma concerning the work ability of people with disabilities.

The Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) was the first Spanish university that implemented a special support programme for students with intellectual disabilities (ID), in 2005.


3,528,221 or 9% of the country’s total population has a disability

Special Employment Centers offer employent to disabled. Seemingly a sheltered workshop model, without understanding on pay rates. Access more details and a Center Directory here:

Supplier Diversity

Although there are companies registering suppliers, it is unclear that WBEs or LGBT-owned businesses have made much headway in this area in Spain.

Talent Sourcing Resources

Incorpora – talent sourcing for companies for people in vulnerable situations, including people with disabillities

OCEMFE: Attention to companies is provided through the SIDE (Direct Information Service to Companies), providing up-to-date and free legislative information on employment and disability and especially about ALTERNATIVE MEASURES TO HIRING and preferential attention to those that are part of the CIRCLE OF EMPLOYERS COMPANIES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

Additional Resources

OCEMFE, Spanish Confederation of People with Physical and Organic Disability , is a non-profit non-governmental organization that was constituted in 1980. Its objective is to unite, strengthen, train and coordinate the efforts and activities of the entities that work in favor of the people with physical and organic disabilities to defend their rights and improve their quality of life.

ONCE is the Spanish organisation for the blind and other disabled persons and they offer advice in areas such as management and accounting. Also provides grants to increase training and employability of persons with disabilities.

European Disability Forum (EDF) is an independent European non-governmental organization (ENGO) that represents the interests of 50 million disabled people in the European Union and stands for their rights. It was created in 1996 and is based in Brussels.

The Spanish Portal for Persons with Disabilities

Positive evolution in employment, but with an increase in the gap between people with and without disabilities, December 2018 Article,

Spanish Accessibility Requirements


Positive evolution in employment, but with an increase in the gap between people with and without disabilities, December 2018 Article,

Spanish Accessibility Requirements