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The Social Gradient in Health: How Fair Retirement could make a Difference

Wester, G; Wolff, J; (2010) The Social Gradient in Health: How Fair Retirement could make a Difference. Public Health Ethics , 3 (3) 272 - 281. 10.1093/phe/phq021. Green open access

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Abstract

Social inequalities in health in the UK persist despite attempts to reduce them. We argue that work and pensions constitutes an area of intervention where there is potential to make change happen. We propose that workers who are exposed to significant health risks through their occupation should be allowed to draw their state pension earlier, based on a minimum number of years in the workforce. We model this proposal on similar policies in other European countries. In our modification, the pension age and the retirement age would be separated, such that workers can receive a state pension whether or not they choose to continue working. This arrangement may encourage workers either to reduce their working hours or to change to less demanding or harmful work. The health of these workers would thereby benefit from reduced exposure to a harmful work environment, reduced stress and more opportunities for rest and relaxation. However, it has also been suggested that retirement is bad for mental health. In response, our proposal enables workers to phase in full retirement over a period of part-time work, and we believe that this would counter any potential negative effects on health caused by retirement.

Type: Article
Title: The Social Gradient in Health: How Fair Retirement could make a Difference
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/phe/phq021
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/phe/phq021
Language: English
Additional information: © Wolff 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. Available online at www.phe.oxfordjournals.org
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1343121
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