It is an important challenge to enable persons to work longer in good health, in particular for vulnerable groups. Paid employment is an important determinant of health and health inequalities.
Society has to deal with large health inequalities in paid employment. Our research aims to contribute to the challenge of creating an inclusive labour market for all social groups. Important questions addressed by our research are: How important is work for health and how important is health for work? Is working until old age healthy or not? Which factors determine work ability and sustainable employment during the working life? How can workers with chronic diseases remain productive at work? What interventions and policies enhance sustainable employability? How (cost-)effective are these interventions and policies? We analyse data from large-scale epidemiological studies with state-of-the-art methods, and design, implement and evaluate interventions for sustainable employability among both unemployed and employed persons. To gain insight into the long-term effectiveness of interventions, and the consequences for the working life expectancy, we apply a life-course approach. We are specifically interested in vulnerable groups, e.g. individuals with chronic health problems, long-term unemployed individuals, and workers in a low socioeconomic position.
The WORKLONG study examined the bidirectional relation between work and health, as well as the health impact of policy changes on exit from paid employment. The study showed that vulnerable groups are less likely to maintain paid employment. In the Netherlands, the working life expectancy at age 30 is over 7 years longer for men with a high educational level compared to men with a low educational level. For women this difference is even larger, namely 10 years. Individuals with a low educational level are more likely to become unemployed or to receive disability benefits. In addition, they are more susceptible for a negative impact of policy changes on sustainable employability and health. In the WORKLONG study it was found that the UK pension reform increased depressive symptoms among women who’s retirement age was postponed, in particular among women in lower occupational level and with demanding jobs.
- WORKLONG: Impact of interventions and policies on prolonging a healthy working life
- Re-integration in bold cities, making use of big data to evaluate re-integration activities for unemployed persons
- IPD meta-analysis on the differential effectiveness of Dutch workplace health promotion activities across socioeconomic groups on body mass index and health behaviour.