One in three working adults say they have missed work in the last year while waiting for a...read more
A new report by the TUC shows 77% of the increase in older people dropping out of the workforce due to long-term health issues since Covid is made up of people on low incomes.
Over 50s in working class professions on low incomes are much more likely to be forced out by long-term sickness than higher earners, according to a report by the Trades Union Congress.
The TUC says that, while the policy focus on getting those who have dropped out of the workplace since Covid has been on early retirement, it is sickness that is the big issue, with the number who are out of work because of long-term ill health nearly 340,000 higher than it was before the pandemic at almost 2.5 million – 1.5 million of these are aged 50-65, a rise of more than 20% in the last three years. The TUC says more than three quarters (77%) of the increase is made up of people on low incomes.
It adds that there is also an occupational divide between those who are likely to be forced out of work before they start drawing their state pension and those who are either able to stay in work longer or can afford to retire early.
Caring responsibilities also have an impact, although the number of people out of work because of caring responsibilities has fallen over the last three years. Women, particularly BME women, have been particularly impacted says the TUC. Economically inactive older BME women are four times more likely than economically inactive older white men to be unable to work because of caring responsibilities.
Th TUC says restoring the NHS, tackling waiting lists and the recruitment and retention crisis is a priority for addressing the problem. Other suggestions include providing support to those who may not be actively seeking employment through job centres; focusing on good quality flexible jobs rather than benefits sanctions or increasing the state pension age; providing greater access to training and upskilling; strengthening the safety net for those who will not be able to return to work; and increasing levels of workplace pension saving to give more people the financial resources to have control over how and when they stop paid work.