Publications by subject - Health - 2012
| || Sustainable work and the ageing workforce |
Achieving work environments that make work sustainable over a lifetime is a key facet of the promotion of longer working lives. This study - based on the fifth European Working Conditions Survey - considers the dimensions of work that have proved essential to the understanding of work sustainability: working conditions; physical and psychological health; the expressive dimension of work; reconciliation of working and non-working time; and socioeconomic conditions. It examines the influence of these factors on how older workers perceive the sustainability of their work, taking account of differences between workers in terms of age, occupation and gender. In addition, the working conditions of the ageing workforce across Member States of the European Union are compared. An executive summary is also available.
| || Sustainable work and the ageing workforce - Executive summary |
What are the conditions that make work sustainable over a lifetime and are therefore likely to promote a longer working life? The concept of work sustainability takes into account the simultaneous – and partly contradictory – evolution of working conditions and of the demography of the active population. It builds not only on research on job quality for older workers, but also on research examining how job quality affects all age groups. This study is based on a secondary analysis of the fifth European Working Conditions Survey. Read more in the report.
| || Third European Quality of Life Survey - Quality of life in Europe: Impacts of the crisis |
What determines life satisfaction and happiness? How do we value our social situation and immediate surroundings? How has this changed with the economic crisis? For the third wave of the European Quality of Life survey, 35,500 Europeans in all EU Member States were interviewed, in an effort to gain insights to these questions. This overview report presents findings and trends and shows that the impacts of the recession are indeed noticeable and measurable in some areas, while in others there are more long-term developments to be observed. While overall life satisfaction levels have not changed much, optimism about the future and trust in institutions have declined markedly in those countries most affected by the downturn. And groups that were already vulnerable – the long-term unemployed, older people in central and eastern Europe and single parents – report the highest levels of material deprivation and dissatisfaction with their life situation. An executive summary is also available.
| || Third European Quality of Life Survey - Quality of life in Europe: Impacts of the crisis - Executive summary |
The third European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) carried out in 2011 gives an authentic picture of living conditions and the social situation in the EU, enabling a comparison of experiences and conditions across Member States. The profound economic and social changes occurring in Europe between the second EQLS in 2007 and the third EQLS have also been reflected in the later survey, enabling Eurofound to reveal some preliminary indications of key changes in the overview report. The EQLS not only contributes to monitoring the changes in society but can also pinpoint emerging trends and concerns for the future. Read more in the report.
| || Third European Quality of Life Survey: Questionnaire |
English language version of the questionnaire for the 3rd European Quality of Life Survey which was carried out in 2011-2012. It was used as the source questionnaire for the translation of the 38 language versions for the 34 countries where the survey took place.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: National report – Ireland |
The disability policy of the Irish Government has undergone radical change in the past decade, and is still changing. Underlying this transformation has been a change in philosophy towards mainstreaming in relation to all services for people with disabilities, especially in the fields of education, training, welfare and employment. There has also been a commitment to reorganise and improve services with a view to meeting this goal of mainstreaming, but the recent recession has reduced the resources available for upgrading services. In addition, a major reorganisation is taking place in the State Training and Employment Agency (FÁS), the final outcome of which is not yet clear. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: National report – Germany |
Although a highly elaborated and differentiated rehabilitation system has been established in Germany and many measures may lead to adequate results, a general state of equality does not yet exist. But new opportunities, such as the personal budget since 2008 and supported employment, as well as the signing of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009, may help to form policies that increase the amount of independence and the degree of disability inclusion within Germany. The case studies in this report highlight the current paradigm shift and show that the existing rehabilitative structures and measures are becoming more flexible. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: National report – France |
In France, there has been a continuous focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities since 1987, even though the achievements have been modest. The employment difficulties of young people with health problems or disabilities persist despite the existence of the quota scheme that places an obligation on employers to ensure that 6% of their employees are people with disabilities. Two main types of measures can change this situation. One is the development of school integration (mainstreaming), which would open new vocational training opportunities for young people with health problems to improve their access to employment. The other type of measure is the more frequent use of apprenticeships because young people with health problems or disabilities often have literacy problems and find it difficult to follow standard learning programmes. Apprenticeships may be a more suitable option for some people. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: National report – Portugal |
In recent years, Portugal has aimed to reform some of its main policies in order to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. There has been a strong investment in enabling people with disabilities to gain qualifications and in promoting their integration into the labour market. Services and benefits aiming to promote social and professional participation and economic independence are managed and regulated by the ministries of Economy and Employment; Health; Education and Science; and Solidarity and Social Welfare. Currently, Portugal has a policy of greater activation, particularly leveraged by programmes and legal documents that have been established over the past few years and are described in this report. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: National report – Slovakia |
In Slovakia, the most popular measure to support the employment of young people with health problems or disabilities is a public subsidy for employers and for self-employment to establish sheltered workshops or sheltered workplaces and to cover the related running costs. Some social and work rehabilitation programmes are provided by specialised centres (in Bratislava for physically disabled people and in Levoča for visually impaired people) or by employment support agencies (in May 2011 59 agencies in total provided assistance to people with all types of disabilities in Slovakia). The available data revealed that employment support measures were provided mainly for people with disabilities over 25 years of age. Read more on this topic.
| || Psychosocial risks in the workplace in Slovenia |
Data presented in this report support and complement previous analyses on quality of working life in Slovenia, which indicated increasing work intensity in Slovenian companies over the last decade. The report is based both on analysis of the standard European Working Conditions Survey questionnaire that covered several aspects of working conditions, including physical environment, workplace design, working hours, work organisation and social relationships in the workplace, and on a Slovenian special module exploring experiences of mobbing, harassment and bullying at the workplace. The findings suggest that Slovenian companies should improve their methods of human resource management and strive to create a more constructive and worker-friendly environment. For example, they should seek to use workers’ full potential and to provide them with good quality information. They should seek to improve working conditions and thus reduce exhaustion and stress levels in the workforce. One tenth of respondents reported experiencing psychological violence and this experience was correlated with being given too much work or work that is badly organised.
| || Trends in job quality in Europe - Executive summary |
Using data from the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), this study measures job quality in the 27 countries of the European Union, as well as the seven additional countries in Europe that participated in the survey. The intention was to find an objective means of assessing the principle established in a number of EU directives that work should adapt to the workers. Increased understanding of the social costs of poor job quality has focused attention on physical and social environments at work. Prolonged life expectancy and the ageing of the population suggest jobs will have to be of good quality if more workers are to be persuaded to work longer. Read more in the report.
| || Trends in job quality in Europe |
Using data from the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), this study measures job quality in the 27 countries of the European Union, as well as seven additional countries in Europe that participated in the survey. The intention was to find an objective means of assessing the principle established in a number of EU directives that work should adapt to the workers. Increased understanding of the social costs of poor job quality has focused attention on physical and social environments at work. Prolonged life expectancy and the ageing of the population suggest that jobs will have to be of good quality if more workers are to be persuaded to work longer. The indices constructed for this study do not rely on subjective measurement such as preferences and attitudes, but are built on the self-reported features of jobs that are associated with workers’ well-being. An executive summary is available.
| || Working conditions in the retail sector - Executive summary |
This report examines trends in working conditions and employment status in the retail sector in the EU27 countries and Norway between 2001 and 2010. The considerable expansion of the sector over the past 20 years or so is associated with a transformation in its competitive structure, greater use of technology and changes in the regulatory framework. Large companies now dominate at the expense of the numerous small and micro businesses that once characterised the sector in most countries. One result is a significant decline in the number of self-employed workers and a substantial increase in the number of part-time jobs (many held by women) and non-permanent contracts. These changes have affected career patterns and introduced new risks to employees’ health, especially psychosocial ones. Recent initiatives by the social partners have aimed above all to regulate flexibility and working time arrangements, promote training, reduce the risk of robbery and enhance employee well-being. Read more in the report.
| || Use of alcohol and drugs at the workplace - Executive summary |
Alcohol and drugs represent a serious problem for a significant percentage of the working population (5%–20% of workers), especially in some sectors and occupations. Consumption of alcohol and drugs at work can have negative impacts for individuals and organisations in terms of health problems, more short-term absenteeism, reduced performance, conflicts, more work accidents, company image problems, and damage to equipment or products. Public authorities and social partners in EU countries have developed national legislation and agreements banning/limiting alcohol/drug use at work, with a focus on testing practices intended to control usage. Public authorities and social partners have also adopted various policy measures to prevent and combat the negative effects of alcohol and drug use at work. Read more in the report.
| || Active inclusion of young people with health problems or disabilities - Executive summary |
This Eurofound study examines the situation of young people with health problems or disabilities in 11 countries and at EU level, with an emphasis on assessing the implementation of active inclusion policy at national level. An overview report as well as national reports for Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom are available.
| || Fifth European Working Conditions Survey - Overview report |
Work plays a significant role in the lives of people, companies and society at large. Since its inception, the European Union has paid considerable attention to work, and improving working conditions is one of its key policy goals. The European Working Conditions Survey series (the ‘EWCS’) aims to: Measure working conditions across European countries on a harmonised basis; analyse relationships between different aspects of working conditions; identify groups at risks and issues of concern, as well as areas of progress; monitor trends over time; and contribute to European policy development, in particular on quality of work and employment issues. An executive summary is available.
| || Fifth European Working Conditions Survey - Executive summary |
Work plays a pivotal role in people’s lives, in the functioning of companies and in society at large. Improving the quality of work and working conditions has long been at the forefront of EU policy, most recently in the Europe 2020 Strategy towards ‘Smart, inclusive and cohesive growth’. The fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) explores topics as diverse as physical risks, working time, gender segregation,work–life balance, employee representation, work organisation, stress at work, skills development and pay, as well as health and well-being. The survey charts trends in working conditions, identifies major risk factors and highlights issues meriting policy attention. Based on interviews with 44,000 workers across 34 European countries, the fifth EWCS represents a rich store of information and analysis on work in all its dimensions in Europe today.
| || Living conditions of the Roma: Substandard housing and health - Executive summary |
Housing-related problems faced by the Roma include high overcrowding rates, lack of access to improved forms of sanitation and high levels of urban segregation thus limiting access to healthcare services. These issues reinforce existing health inequalities among the Roma – increased risk of disability, chronic illness, being overweight. Moreover, these conditions worsen in the case of forced evictions. This report analyses the extent of the problem of substandard housing for the Roma in Europe and draws attention to the situation of Traveller groups, who often have difficulties finding a place in halting sites. Regarding the health status of the Roma, interestingly they report better subjective health than the majority population, perhaps because they have a different perception of health (seen as the absence of illness), use health services less frequently or are less aware of health issues. Read more in the report.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: United Kingdom |
As in many other countries in Europe, the number of young people not in employment, education or training in the UK has risen in recent years. Information collected by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) provides a picture of increasing reliance on benefits by these young people. The number of young people in receipt of any benefit rose from 12.2% to 16.1% between 2002 and 2010. Between 2003 and 2010, the combined number of young people with health problems or disabilities claiming specific disability benefits (Disability Living Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance) rose from 21.5% to 33.3% of all benefit claimants. This should be viewed within a context where the absolute number of people with disabilities in the UK did not increase over the same period. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: Denmark |
Denmark is a welfare society. The current aspiration of Danish disability policy is equal treatment for all, regardless of physical or mental capacity. This objective is the result of an evolutionary process, the effect of which is that people with disabilities are increasingly integrated into society and into the open labour market. In Denmark, labour market policy is targeted at integration and retention. Based on the principle of compensation, society offers people with disabilities a range of services in order to limit the consequences of impairment as much as possible and also to provide disabled people, as far possible, with equal opportunities on the open labour market. The social system therefore offers a combination of income protection and employment activation. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: Poland |
In Poland policy relating to people with disabilities does not differentiate between different groups – all groups are treated equally. There are no policies or programmes that particularly promote the participation of young people with disabilities in the open labour market. As in many other countries, young people face significant challenges entering the job market (especially the open market). Moreover, the Polish labour market still has relatively few jobs for people with disabilities. Most are employed in sheltered workshops. According to the employment records of people with disabilities, almost 93% of those employed in the sheltered labour market have regular employment contracts. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: Finland |
The situation of young people in the labour market in Finland worsened during the recent economic recession. It has subsequently improved, but these positive changes don’t cover all job seekers, for example young people with health problems or disabilities. The employment rate of people with disabilities remains low, and the trend seems to be that the number of subsidised workplaces has decreased, while vocational training and similar activities have increased. There have been some improvements recently, but many young people with health problems or disabilities are still not part of the labour force. Read more on this topic.
| || Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems: Spain |
In Spain disability is officially recognised when the competent evaluation services assess a person as having a minimum 33% disability level. This evaluation is carried out by regional governments and there are differences among regions, which can result in a person obtaining a disability certification in one region when they may not in another. Integration in education and employment remains a challenge for institutions and organisations, as many disabled students and workers are still segregated. Fear of change and also fear of losing benefits if they enter into employment remain big barriers to inclusion. Read more on this topic.