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Commission for Healthier Working Lives Action for better working-age health and a thriving workforce

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The Commission for Healthier Working Lives aims to build a consensus on the action needed to address the decline in working-age health. It will create a better understanding of health trends and inequalities – and their impact on individuals, employers and the economy.

The Commission will make recommendations for action to improve working-age health, and to help more people with health conditions get the support they need to access, remain or thrive in the workforce.

Why is a Commission needed?

The health of our working-age population is in decline, holding back economic growth. We already know that:

  • Around 2.6 million people aged 16 to 64 are not in the workforce because of ill-health.
  • The number of workers with long-term health conditions is rising, and the number of younger workers with work-limiting health conditions has doubled in the last decade.
  • This problem isn’t going away – the number of 20-to-69-year-olds living with major illness is predicted to rise by half a million by 2030.

For too long, our working-age health challenge has been overlooked. Our health is an asset that needs investing in: being unable to work, or having to work and earn less, can affect our health and worsen inequalities. The impact of poor working-age health on public finances cannot be ignored either, with reduced government revenues and increased welfare spend. Successive governments have failed to introduce policies needed to maintain working-age health and boost participation in the workforce. We need a long-term plan.

What will the Commission do?

The independent Commission will build a shared commitment to sustained action by government, employers and other partners to meet the growing challenge of working-age ill health. The Commission will partner with expert organisations to develop an evidence base and engage with employers, trade unions and other stakeholders to reach a shared understanding of the challenge and build a consensus on the action needed.

We expect to publish our final report in early 2025.

Who is part of the Commission?

The independent Commission will be chaired by Sacha Romanovitch OBE, with a secretariat provided by the Health Foundation. 

Learning and Work Institute, the Institute for Employment Studies and Royal Society for Public Health will work together as the Commission's research partners. We will announce commissioners and further partners in the coming weeks. 

Read more about the Commission here.

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