A healthy labour market: Creating a post-pandemic world of healthier work
That work determines health has been impossible to ignore during a pandemic.
People in ‘working class jobs’ have been around twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than those in ‘middle class jobs’. And those in the lowest paid occupations have experienced a mortality rate five times higher than those in the highest paid occupations.
The pandemic illustrated the complicated but critical relationship between work and health in real-time. Not only has it highlighted the importance of work as a determinant of health, but indicates the policy instruments most effective at improving population health.
As the pandemic reshapes labour markets and redefines attitudes to work, this report makes the case for why health should be put at the heart of work.
New analysis, conducted by the Virus Watch study at UCL and shared with IPPR for the report, shows that many people are not even able to access basic levels of sick pay and that the most vulnerable groups are being unfairly impacted the most:
- Poorer households are more likely to lack access to sick pay – households earning less than £25,000 are around twice as likely to lack access to any sick pay compared to households earning above £75,000.
- Older workers are more likely to lack access to sick pay – workers aged over 65 are five times, and workers 45-64 around two times, more likely to lack access to sick pay compared to younger workers (25-44 year olds).
- There is a class disparity in access to sick pay – people working in jobs traditionally considered working class are more likely to lack access to sick pay. People working in outdoor trades, such as farming and construction, are five times more likely to lack access to sick pay than managers and senior officials. People working in manufacturing, manual trades, beauty, transportation and catering are also around twice as likely to lack access to sick pay.
- There is a racial disparity in access to sick pay – South Asian workers are around 40 per cent more likely to lack access to sick pay than white British workers. This disparity cannot be explained by income, occupation or employment status, suggesting institutional racism plays a part.