Researchers with the Human Early Learning Partnership and the School of Population and Public Health at UBC found that low and medium-skilled workers in the United States are at a greater risk of death if they lose their job than their German counterparts, who have access to more robust employment protections and insurance.
"Employment insurance makes a difference to the health of the most vulnerable populations, low-wage and poorly educated workers," said Chris McLeod, the lead researcher on the paper and a post-doctoral fellow with the Human Early Learning Partnership. "For low-wage and poorly educated workers, it's not just about losing your job but losing your job and being at the bottom of the labour market."
The study, published online earlier this month in the American Journal of Public Health, compared mortality rates of unemployed minimum, medium and high-skilled workers in Germany and the United States of America between 1984 and 2005. While researchers found an increased risk of dying for all unemployed workers, the relative risk was higher for U.S. workers in almost all situations. Unemployed minimum and medium skilled Americans were about seven and 3.5 times more likely to die than employed high skilled Americans or Germans.
The U.S. and Germany are the world's two most successful economies but differ significantly in their employment policies. Germany, a coordinated market economy, has high levels of both employment protection – restrictions on terminating employees – and unemployment protection – availability of unemployment benefits. The United States, a liberal market economy, has low levels of employment and unemployment protection. The study found that 75 per cent of unemployed German workers received unemployment compensation compared to only 19 per cent of U.S. workers.
Canada was not included in the study but has a liberal market economy similar to the U.S. The Canadian government is currently implementing reforms to the country's employment insurance system, which may reduce benefits to low-income and low-skill workers.
"It is important that we recognize how changes to employment and unemployment protections could inadvertently affect the health of the most vulnerable populations," said McLeod.
In a second study, published earlier this year in the Annual Review of Public Health, the researchers, along with Harvard University professor Peter Hall, looked at the policies that could help mediate health inequalities among workers.
The researchers found that broader employment and social policies that included training and education opportunities, employment security, access to housing and welfare, and benefits to low-income families were important social protections.
"The wear and tear of daily life is important to everyone's health," said Hall. "As these findings show, social policy matters not only to people's well-being but to the very length of their lives."
LINKS: American Journal of Public Health study: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300475
Annual Review of Public Health study: http://bit.ly/Mwbt4w
UBC Public Affairs media release: http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/?p=52729
Heather Amos | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine