Impact of interventions and policies on prolonging working life in good health: an international study

Summary and overall aim

European governments have developed policies to keep workers stay in employment until older age, yet poor health remains an important cause of premature exit from the labour market. There is lack of evidence on whether and how health interventions and policies can prolong working lives as well as the differential effects of these interventions and policies.The overall aim of this project is to examine the bidirectional links between employment and health by quantifying the impact of health interventions on the length of paid employment, and in turn, the impact of employment and retirement policies on pathways to retirement with their effects on late-life health. We aim to focus on workplace interventions, health promotion programmes, and legislation and policies that:

  • support workers with health problems to remain in paid employment until statutory retirement age
  • prevent the onset or aggravation of health problems among workers due to working until older age.

As a second step, we will estimate the cost-effectiveness of these interventions and policies for prolonging working lives in different social groups. A related important aim is to understand whether and how working longer has (unintended) health consequences for older workers before and after statutory retirement.

Project duration and budget

Project duration: 04/2016 –03/2019 (36 months)
Project costs/requested funding: 639.254 €


The consortium consists of 3 partners from 3 EU countries:

  1. Erasmus University Medical Center, Department of Public Health, The Netherlands: Alex Burdorf, Suzan Robroek, MerelSchuring(coordinator of project)
  2. King’s College London, United Kingdom: Mauricio Avendano, Ludovico Carrino
  3. UmeåUniversity, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Sweden: Bengt Järvholm, Mikael Stattin, Mia Soderberg

4 objectives

The WORKLONG project has 4 linked objectives in 5 Work Packages:

  • To determine the impact of legislation and policy measures that have increased retirement ages across European countries in the past two decades on different pathways to retirement among workers with pre-existing health problems. (Work Package 1)
  • To estimate the long-term impact of workplace and health behaviorinterventions and polices to prolong employment trajectories for workers with chronic health conditions.(Work Package 2)
  • To examine the impact of legislation and policy measures on health of workers from different social groups before and after retirement. (Work Packages 3 and 4)
  • To conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis as well as a cost-benefit analysis on legislation and policy measures for a sustainable and inclusive workforce.(Work Package 5)

First jpi mybl call for proposals

WORKLONG is one of the projects that is funded in the first JPI MYBL call for proposals of 2015, entitled ‘Extended Working Lifeand its Interaction with Health, Wellbeing and beyond’. In total 5 projects are funded.