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Definition of a disadvantaged worker

If you’re applying for a grant from us, you might be asked about the number of disadvantaged workers you employ, or how many new jobs you’re creating for disadvantaged workers. Read this guidance to understand how we define a disadvantaged worker.

Disadvantaged worker definition

A disadvantaged worker is any person who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Has not been in regular paid employment for the previous six months
  • Is between 15 and 24 years of age
  • Is over the age of 50 years
  • Has not attained an upper secondary educational or vocational qualification (International Standard Classification of Education 3), or is within two years after completing full-time education and who has not previously obtained their first regular paid employment
  • Lives as a single adult with one or more dependents
  • Works in a UK sector or profession where the gender imbalance is at least 25% higher than the average gender imbalance across all UK economic sectors, and belongs to that underrepresented gender group
  • Is a member of an ethnic minority within the UK and who requires development of their linguistic, vocational training or work experience profile to enhance prospects of gaining access to stable employment

A severely disadvantaged worker is defined as any person who meets either of the following criteria:

  • Has not been in regular paid employment for at least 24 months
  • Has not been in regular paid employment for at least 12 months and belongs to one of the categories mentioned under the definition of ‘disadvantaged worker’ (other than not having been in regular paid employment for the previous 6 months)

Disabled workers

We also consider disabled workers to be disadvantages workers. A disabled worker means any person who is either:

  • Someone who is recognised as a worker with disabilities under national law
  • A worker who has long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in a work environment on an equal basis with other workers

Got a question?

If you've got any questions about what we mean by a disadvantaged worker, or any other questions about your grant application, you can get in touch with our team.