Did you know? UK Government wants more people to work until age 67. Medical retirement” with the onset of ill-health or disability can seem the safe choice when life is looking bleak.  But the longer term consequences can out-weigh any lump sum payment (if you are lucky enough to get one).  Reviewing the recent Government paper suggests that a third of people who left work between age 50 and pension age saw their household incomes drop by half.  If they had a future work pension, this was also reduced as both their own and their employers stopped paying in meaning more reliance on state pension in years to come.  So staying at work may be safer in the long run. And health conditions/disability is one of the major causes of people leaving work before pension age. Talking with disabled people over many years makes it clear that lots are desperate to get back to work because they hate being on benefits.  For many, their health gets worse because they miss out on mixing with work colleagues and their lives are limited by money worries.  Had their employers had the foresight to help them stay on, they would have saved recruitment and training costs and been rewarded with employees who knew their jobs, were much more loyal, had less unplanned sickness absence and fewer accidents.  It’s a win-win situation.  But everyone (the employer, the person “off sick” and Government) all need to play their part: making work more flexible at least in the short term, being determined to get back to the job, providing speedy health treatment and in-work support. All of this is going to be increasingly important in the future as people get older and more gain health conditions/disabilities before they reach retirement age.  Inflexible employers will find that they are scratching around to find the right people (or paying more) while individuals face the long-term prospects of low pensions – and we all bear the tax bill to pay billions in benefits. Bouquet of the week. Hats off to the Premier Inn in Chesterfield where I spent another three days last week.  I’ve been staying there for years so having the same room each time rather than having to learn new layouts is a huge bonus.  The fan does struggle to overcome the summer heat - I’m never really sure whether being unable to open windows properly is more about keeping us in than security and safety – it’s certainly uncomfortable.  But this pales when the team go out of their way to be helpful: making sure I’m up for breakfast, finding a working remote, rootling around for anything I’ve dropped.  And the restaurant team are just as great – even down to making sure I get a hot plate! Yours warmly! Penny Melville-Brown penny@laylands.co.uk
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