‘There is a strong evidence base showing that work is generally good for physical and mental health and well-being. Worklessness is associated with poorer physical and mental health and well-being’. This statement and the evidence behind it is set out in Is work good for your health and well-being? by Gordon Waddell and A Kim Burton (published by The Stationery Office, 2006). The report argues that it is better to be in work for economic, social and psychological reasons and for the good of physical and mental health.
‘175 million days were lost to sickness in 2006 [in Britain]’ states Dame Carol Black’s Review, Working for a healthier tomorrow (published by The Stationery Office, 2008) leading to lost production costs of £63billion each year. The report argues that good health is good business and that better workplaces have better financial results.
Health and safety legislation in the UK places a statutory duty on employers to keep their employees healthy and safe whilst in work, and in particular to manage risks in the workplace likely to give rise to work-related ill health.
So it is in the interests of both employees and employers to ensure that workplaces are safe and healthy and that there are mechanisms to minimise sickness and absence from work.