Objective: to understand and manage the legal and ethical implications of advice on suitability for work
Appreciate the benefits of employment on overall health, and the negative effects of worklessness and unsuitable jobs.
Is work good for your health and well – being? Waddell G, Burton A. K. London TSO 2006I
Suicide, deprivation, and unemployment: record linkage study – Glyn Lewis, Andy Sloggett BMJ Volume 317 7 November 1998
There is now strong evidence to show that work is generally good for physical and mental health and well-being. Worklessness is associated with poorer physical and mental health and well-being. There is also evidence that work can be therapeutic and reverse the adverse effects of unemployment. This is true for healthy people of working age, for many disabled people and for most people with common health problems and those on social security benefits. However, it is important that the nature and the quality of the work and its social context must be taken into account. Jobs should be safe and accommodating.
Overall the beneficial effects of work outweigh the risks of work and are greater than the harmful effects of log term unemployment or prolonged sickness absence.
So when considering work and health it is important to consider the following:
Work is generally good for health, but the quality of work is important: job insecurity and workplace hazards mean that not all work is good.
Individual factors are also important in determining what constitutes a ‘good’ job.
The benefits of work can reverse the adverse health impact of unemployment.
The social gradient remains the biggest and over-riding determinant of health – social and economic circumstances are more important than any individual work factors in determining health outcome.
If people are to benefit from moving from social security benefits into employment, they need to be supported into good quality jobs that offer financial improvement and job security and where health and safety risks are properly managed.