Extended Working Life and its Interaction with Health, Wellbeing and beyond


The call invites proposals for funding research into one or more of four broad topics:

  1. Modern work factors
  2. Longer working life & Inequality
  3. Health challenges
  4. Caring responsibilities

Research is expected to cross the traditional boundaries of Government departments and occupational sectors and to examine the implications of extending working life for older workers (50+), new labour markets, health, wellbeing and intergenerational equity.Demographic Change (DC) is becoming a key issue around the world (in this call the focus is on Europe and Canada). One of the most important aspects is the increasing life expectancy and the low and slightly decreasing fertility rates. Also complex patterns of migration contribute to demographic change. The consequence of an ageing society is a scenario where a growing proportion of the population is healthy and active but not necessarily actively participating in the labour market. In order to respond to these changes and their economic effects, policymakers need more research done within the field of Demographic Change in order to develop new policies better adapted to these phenomena. There are potential advantages in sharing such research, since the scale and importance of demographic change goes beyond national borders. In 2010, nine EU member states (later expanded to fourteen including Canada) came together for this purpose and decided to use the EU framework for Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) and to create the JPI More Years, Better Lives (JPI-MYBL; http://www.jp-demographic.eu). The objective of JPI-MYBL is the better coordination of national, European and Canadian R&D programmes and activities relevant to Demographic Change (ageing societies) in order to address the most urgent and demanding challenges. In order to address the complexity of an ageing society and the interplay of different aspects related to this phenomenon, the JPI developed a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA)1 through a broad consultation of experts and stakeholders. This document, agreed by the fourteen States participating in JPI-MYBL, identifies the following four main research domains, each corresponding to a cluster of policy issues: (1) Quality of Life, Health and Wellbeing; (2) Economic and Social Production; (3) Governance and Institutions; and (4) Sustainable Welfare. The SRA also identifies eleven specific research topics. This call relates particularly to topic 6 “a new labour market”, but since the issues overlap, proposals may also integrate other topics on the agenda. Proposals under this call should explain how the research project will address the four domains identified in the SRA. 1 The SRA can be downloaded at http://www.jp-demographic.eu/about/documents/full-version-of-sra CALL TEXT 3 Early 2014 the JPI More Years, Better Lives initiated a fast track activity dealing with Understanding Employment Participation of older workers (UEP) (http://jpdemographic.eu/about/fast-track-projects/understanding-employment), focusing on paid work and the age group of 50+ years. The objective was to address the issue of employment participation among older workers in times of extending working lives and compile a critical and interdisciplinary review of the state-of-the-art research, considering the broader social and economic context in Europe. The SRA and the UEP report, together with input from national stakeholders have contributed to the content of this first joint transnational call. 1 st Joint Transnational Call Under the umbrella of the JPI-MYBL this 1 st Joint Transnational Call will be launched with funding from the following partner organisations2 :  Austria: Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW)  Belgium: Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy (BELSPO)  Canada: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)  Denmark: Innovation Fund Denmark (InnoFond)  Finland: Academy of Finland (AKA)  France: Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR)  Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)  Spain: Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO)  Sweden: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE)  The Netherlands: The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research (ZonMw)  United Kingdom: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Furthermore the call is open to project partners of other countries, provided that their participation is fully self-funded. 2 The JPI is a collaboration between national funding bodies, and is not a European funding programme in its own right. CALL TEXT 4 Objective of the Call The objective of this call is to support innovative and interdisciplinary research into the drivers to, and constraints on, extending working life. Research is expected to cross the traditional boundaries of Government departments and occupational sectors and to examine the implications of extending working life for older workers (50+), new labour markets, health, wellbeing and intergenerational equity. In this context, this call invites proposals for funding research into one or more of four broad topics: (i) Modern work factors (ii) Longer working life & Inequality (iii) Health challenges (iv) Caring responsibilities Background Most countries are experiencing rising life expectancy and a consequent shift in the age profile of the population. However, despite general improvements in health, most people in Europe and Canada have effectively retired before the normal or statutory retirement age in their country, leaving a growing group of people in relatively good health who could make a larger contribution of skills, knowledge and experience to society through paid and unpaid work. To respond to this, policymakers need to find more effective and equitable ways of distributing employment across the longer healthy life course, including extending paid working life, while recognising the needs of caregivers, workers with health challenges and those in physically or mentally stressful occupations. Most Governments are trying to raise real retirement ages, but for such strategies to be effective, it is necessary to understand the factors which encourage or prevent longer working life. However, previous research has often concentrated on single factors, without adequately recognising the complex and mutually dependent interaction of factors influencing work and retirement in later life. Answering these questions calls for an understanding, which crosses the boundaries of academic disciplines and of Government Departments. The JPI has explored these issues in its Strategic Research Agenda and in the “Fast Track” project on understanding employment participation in later life. In the light of this previous work, the present call focuses on four topics : (i) Modern work factors: the interactions of longer working life with the changing nature and organisation of paid and unpaid work; (ii) Longer working life & Inequality: the extent to which extending working life impacts CALL TEXT 5 differently on different kinds of people, or people in different circumstances; (iii) Health challenges: the impact of longer working on health, and health on longer working; (iv) Caring responsibilities: the impact of longer paid work on the caring responsibilities of individuals and society at large. These topics interact with each other, but we expect that all four will feature in the research to be funded under this Call. Call Topics Proposals should focus on one or more of the four broad topics outlined below. (i) Modern work factors The nature, organisation and management of work in Europe and Canada have been changing substantially over recent decades. New jobs and ways of working create new risks and opportunities both for individuals and for society at large. Some sectors and occupations are becoming more important, while others are declining. Some work is becoming more secure, while other work is less so. Flexible working conditions, and new and emerging technologies bring new challenges but also opportunities for older workers. Extending working life is itself likely to produce changes in the way work is organised and managed. Relevant research questions for this topic include:  How far, and in what ways, are current changes in the way work is organised and managed (including employers’ incentives and disincentives) improving or restricting opportunities for people to work longer?  How can the management and organisation of work be most effective in enabling people to work longer? (ii) Longer working life & Inequality Extending working life has very different implications for different groups, who may be affected by many factors including health, domestic and caring responsibilities, migrant status, social position and gender. Those who have worked in heavy manual occupations are more likely to suffer health problems, and have lower life expectancy, but are often treated in the same way in policies to extend working life. Research is needed into how different social and occupational groups are impacted by extending working life, and into how individuals cope with the resulting pressures and opportunities, including how these changes affect the experience of retirement itself. Relevant research questions for this topic include: CALL TEXT 6  How far do policies to extend working life impact differently on different groups of people, considering differences including gender, occupation, education, disability, family status, migrant status, and age cohort? How do such policies affect factors like life expectancy, quality of life, health and retirement?  What strategies and policies for extending working life ensure that all older people are fairly treated? (iii) Health challenges Health factors have a major effect on individuals’ ability and aspirations to work longer. Overall, the effect of health is complex; to some individuals good health can be a driver for a long working life while to others it can be a driver of early retirement. Some jobs directly harm health or require physical or mental capabilities which decline with age. On the other hand, in some circumstances staying in work has a positive impact on health and wellbeing. Good work design and appropriate technologies can both contribute to enabling people to remain healthy and continue to work. Relevant research questions for this topic include: - What are the consequences of raising formal retirement and pension ages for a worker's health, work ability, work motivation and quality of life? - What technologies or strategies for organising work and managing health conditions are effective at reducing premature retirement? - What strategies are effective in helping older people to maintain a valued and significant contribution to society, through paid or unpaid activity? (iv) Caring responsibilities Whilst researchers have examined the impacts of labour market and welfare state regimes on older workers’ employment trajectories, there has been less attention to the impact of family and household structure and change. Furthermore, expectations of the relative roles of family and state in providing care for children and elders vary greatly across Europe. The consequences of (highly-gendered) caring obligations on retirement behaviour and extended working life requires further study , including attention to the impacts of these caring responsibilities on the whole household and its organisation across the life course, and the impact of current and emerging technologies and integrated service on caring responsibilities. Relevant research questions for this topic include: - How do caring responsibilities affect retirement decisions? - What are the consequences for family care when older people work longer?

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