Health, Work and Well-being is a cross-Government initiative to protect and improve the health and well-being of working age people.
The initiative promotes the positive links between health and work and aims to help more people with health conditions to find and stay in employment. It brings together employers, trade unions, healthcare professionals and other partners and builds on a growing evidence base that working is good for health. The initiative began in 2005.
The Health, Work and Well-being Initiative is supported by six Government partners –
- Department for Work and Pensions
- Department of Health
- Health and Safety Executive
- Scottish Government
- Welsh Assembly Government
- Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
As well as content on this website, we publish content in partnership with the following Government websites.
Why is Health, Work and Well-being important?
There is growing evidence that health, work and well-being are closely connected.
Work is known to be the best route out of poverty. The 2006 report, "Is work good for your health and well-being?" found that work is also usually good for health.
For all age groups, work generally:
- makes people healthier
- helps people with a health condition get better
- improves the health of people returning to work from unemployment.
Far more people gain health benefits from work than suffer negative effects:
- The long-term unemployed or those who have never worked are two to three times more likely to have poor health than those in work.
- People are twice as likely to become psychologically distressed after going from work to unemployment.
Today there are still too many people who are unable to work due to ill health: currently 2.6 million people are claiming health-related benefits, with around 600,000 coming on to these benefits each year. Of these, we estimate that around half move directly from work on to benefits.
With more than 130 million working days lost last year to sickness absence businesses suffer too. The cost of this sickness absence to the economy through lost output is estimated to be up to £15 billion.
Britain also has an ageing workforce, more likely to face chronic or long-term health issues – this makes it more important than ever to support people to work when health conditions arise or progress.
We know that people with long-term health conditions can and do work. Over a quarter of the 28 milllion people in work in this country have a long-term condition or impairment.
Evidence shows that 90% of people with common health conditions can be helped back to work following a few basic principles of good healthcare and workplace management.
For many people returning to work after the onset of a new health issue, or progression of an existing condition, can be part of their recovery.
By addressing Health, Work and Well-being, we can make a real and substantial difference to the health of individuals and the cost to businesses and the economy.
For more information on the research and evidence base on health and work, please visit Resources.