Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Work and Retirement

ICLS's highly policy relevant research on work and retirement has highlighted the interaction between poor working and housing conditions and adverse changes in biological processes which lead to poor health and leaving work prematurely.

Findings from our work have played a key role in challenging myths about 'any job being better than none'. ICLS research has shown that more and more women are adopting traditionally 'male' employment patterns such as full-time employment, rather than men reducing hours or taking time off work to accommodate parenthood.

We have shown that worse mid-life health of long-term fulltime homemakers persists across cohorts, and that the association appears to become stronger in more recently born cohorts as long employment breaks have become less common. In addition, we have shown that modern couples remain remarkably traditional in their divisions of labour.

Our current programme of research looks at:

  • Zero hours contracts and the gig economy: do non-standard working conditions, such as job, housing and retirement lead to negative health outcomes?  With the TUC
  • What can employers do to improve workplace wellbeing, management standards and job quality? With Public Health England (PHE)and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)     
  • Millennial dads: forming families, parenthood health, wellbeing and development. With the Fatherhood Institute, Working Families, My Family Care and WorkShareCare

Our research will contribute to workplace and policy efforts encouraging greater care participation and parental leave amongst fathers and ways of addressing the persistent impact of parenthood on gender relations within families.

Other funded projects led by ICLS members include work on family work patterns and parent and children's wellbeing. Mel Bartley and David Blane are also working with the International Longevity Centre UK's Brian Beach, the UK Faculty of Public Health's Jenny Lisle, the Canon Foundation in Europe's Claire Mawditt and Public Health England consultant Jessica Sheringham to examine the possible public health implications of raising the State Pension Age and how to mitigate them (MISPA).

Other research themes

Our current research programme includes three other themes: