Injury hurts men’s wallets
A James Cook University researcher says men with long-term injuries such as back problems are nearly $1,000,000 worse off over their working lifespan compared to men with no injuries.
JCU’s Dr Emily Callander, Senior Research Fellow, Health Economics, looked at more than 24,000 respondents in the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.
“Overall, males with any long-term injury had a median weekly income of $660, which was 41% less than the income of males with no chronic health condition,” she said.
Men with any long-term injury were about seven and a half times more likely not to be in the labour force than someone uninjured. Women with a long-term injury were more than twice as likely to be not in the labour force as an uninjured woman.
However, the lower rates of employment for women who are injured compared to those without a long-term injury did not necessarily translate into lower incomes.
“Females overall had lower incomes in the first place, so leaving the labour force doesn’t always translate into lower incomes for them. This is a highly significant finding that highlights the extent of earning inequalities within Australia,” said Dr Callander.
She said flexible work arrangements, such as hours of work and the option of working from home, were also more often available to women and likely to benefit those with a long-term injury.
Dr Callander said increasing flexible working arrangements could help lessen the impact of chronic disease and disability as barriers to getting a job.
“Given we know from previous studies that 660,000 Australians aged 45–64 are not in the labour force, costing AU$12 billion per year, there is a pressing need for such cultural change,” she said.
Link to paper: http://occmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/07/12/occmed.kqw083.long
Having a long-term injury made males significantly more likely to be out of the labour force and have significantly lower incomes.
For females, long-term injury also had a significant impact on labour force participation, but less impact on income.
Males with a long-term injury would be much better off if they had increased access to flexible work arrangements.
Dr Emily Callander
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