Background

Ageing society and labour force participation
Across the European Union, higher and prolonged labour force participation throughout a worker’s life is necessary to safeguard social and economic realities of an aging society. To achieve this ambition, governments develop policies to keep workers in the workforce until older age. The success of these policies partly depends on their ability to create an inclusive labour market with access to paid employment among all vulnerable groups. There is a need to get insight into how changes in retirement policy affect the health of vulnerable groups and contribute to health disparities.

How do changes in retirement policy affect the health of vulnerable groups?
Many countries implement policy reforms to increase the retirement age. If working is good for health, policies that influence the length and continuity of employment are likely to promote health. If strenuous work has adverse effects on health, especially at older age with declining physical and cognitive function, then timely retirement may be health-preserving.

Do health policies and interventions help older workers to maintain in paid employment?
Effective interventions on modifiable determinants of ill health, i.e. unhealthy behaviours, physical load and psychosocial demands at work, may prolong working life. New modelling approaches are required to predict the long-term consequences of health interventions on extended working lives.

Are effective policies and interventions transferable across Europe?
Observational studies have shown that the relation between poor health and paid employment differs greatly across Europe. The large variation across European countries in employment protection, income support, and disability and retirement benefits offers a unique opportunity to empirically examine their effects on health against the societal context.