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27 October 2016

UK: Ill health forces early retirement

Around one in eight (12%) British workers are forced to stop working before reaching the state pension age because they are too ill or disabled, says new research published by the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

According to the report, entitled Postponing the pension: are we all working longer?, nearly half a million (436,000) workers who are within five years of the state pension age have had to leave the workplace for medical reasons.

The analysis finds that those working in the lowest paid jobs, including cleaners, cares, people working in the leisure industry and those carrying out heavy manual work, are twice likely to stop working before retirement age due to sickness and disability than are managers or professionals.

The analysis also reveals a stark North-South divide. In the South West of England, sickness and disability is cited by just 1 in 13 of those who have left work in the run-up to state pension age, followed by 1 in 11 in the South East and in the East of England.

But this rises to 1 in 7 in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East, the North West, Wales and Scotland and 1 in 4 in Northern Ireland, reflecting wider health inequalities across the regions and nations of the UK.

Workers aged over 50 now make up one in three (30%) of the workforce - up from less than one in four (24%) in 2000.

Sources: Labour Research Department,

The full report:

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