Older people being forced to stop work early due to ill-health
Unions are calling for more support for older workers who lose their jobs, warning that hundreds of thousands are being "consigned to poverty" due to ill-health.
The Trades Union Congress said its study suggested that one in eight men and women are forced to stop working before state pension age due to ill-health or disability.
More than half a million workers aged 60 to 65 have had to leave the workplace for medical reasons, said the report, with those in low-paid jobs, such as cleaning or care, much more likely to quit.
There is also a stark regional divide, with one in 12 people in the South West of England and one in seven in Yorkshire and the Humber said the TUC.
General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "People should be able to retire in dignity with a decent pension when the time is right, but many older workers are being forced to stop work earlier due to ill-health. They must not be consigned to years of poverty.
"The Government should stop plans for further rises in the pension age and focus on improving support for people who are too ill to work, and tackle the health inequalities that are causing it
"With healthy life expectancy falling for women in poorer areas, ministers need to reverse this alarming trend - not make them wait even longer for their pension.
"Older workers have a crucial role to play in the labour market, but, like everyone else, they need access to decent training.
"This is especially important as we emerge from this pandemic. Many older staff are at risk of losing their jobs and we know they face extra barriers getting back into work."
Emily Andrews, of the Centre for Ageing Better, commented: "This report shows that too many people are falling out of work before they reach the state pension age because of ill-health and disability, with serious implications for their financial security in later life.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that many changes to the way we work, such as increased flexibility and workplace adjustments, can be implemented almost overnight.
"Employers must grasp this opportunity to create workplaces that are fit for all our longer working lives."