Friday, April 19

Delaying retirement is bad for your health


Two retirees walk along a beach. / FILE, ARCHIVE

A Fedea study concludes that postponing one year leaving the labor market significantly increases the risk of dying between the ages of 60 and 69

Lucia Palacios

Delaying the legal retirement age, a measure that is being implemented by most countries and that is still the subject of debate today, has adverse effects on the health of workers. Moreover, postponing one year of leaving the labor market “significantly” increases the risk of dying between the ages of 60 and 69. This is warned by a study published this Monday by Fedea in which it investigates the effects of the 1967 pension reform, which modified the early retirement age in Spain and hardened access to retirement.

Specifically, the study evaluates the impact of age at last job on the risk of dying in different age groups and concludes that delaying leaving the labor market for one year increases the risk of dying between 60 and 69 years of age by 5 points percentages, which is equivalent to a relative increase of 50%.

The risk is especially concentrated in the most physically demanding occupations and those subject to a higher level of emotional and mental stress, and is much lower for individuals who have access to partial retirement mechanisms that allow them to reduce their working hours from certain age.

More specifically, the increase in mortality is greater for those who worked in sectors with a high intensity of occupational accidents. Likewise, Fedea highlights that the mental and social stress experienced by individuals before retirement also has an influence. Thus, delaying leaving the labor market for one year increases the risk of dying between the ages of 60 and 69 by 5.3 percentage points for people with jobs with a high psychosocial burden, while this figure drops to 3.6 percentage points for people with jobs with low psychosocial burden.

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The authors further show that only people working in low self-worth sectors are more likely to die when faced with a one-year delay in leaving work. Lastly, they point out that extending the exit from the labor market for one year increases the risk of dying by 6.6 percentage points for blue-collar workers (blue collar workers) and only 3.2 points for the rest.

That is why, at a time when the extension of working lives can be an essential instrument to guarantee the sustainability of pension systems, from Fedea they ask to reflect on the need to design “carefully” the details of the policies of retirement, taking into account its possible effects on the health of workers. Thus, this organization is committed to taking into account the degree of physical, emotional and mental demand of the different occupations when setting the minimum and legal retirement ages, which – they warn – cannot be the same for everyone, as well as introducing general flexible partial retirement mechanisms that allow workers to modulate their working hours in the final part of their career.


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