Non-Standard Work and Mortality. A Census-Based Investigation in Belgium

Rebeka Balogh , Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sylvie Gadeyne, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Christophe Vanroelen, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Background. Precarious/non-standard employment is linked to adverse health but fewer studies analysing the health impacts of flexible forms of employment have looked at mortality outcomes. Objective. This paper aimed to investigate whether non-standard employment is associated with elevated mortality risks. Methods. The Belgian census and a 15 year-long mortality follow-up data have been used. Over 1,4 million men and women employed in 2001 with good baseline health and no long-standing disability were included in the analysis. Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to assess whether those initially on non-standard forms of employment (temporary agency, fixed-term, seasonal and causal work, and work program) had excess all-cause and cause-specific mortality compared to permanent workers in the subsequent years. A set of socio-demographic and work-related characteristics was accounted for. Results. Among men, all categories but casual workers exhibited elevated all-cause mortality after adjustment. The highest adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause mortality computed was for temporary agency workers (hazard ratio: 1.54, 95% confidence interval: 1.39-1.70). External causes (2.06, 1.66-2.56), including suicide (2.17, 1.61-2.91) and fall (2.34, 1.03 - 5.29) were important specific causes among this group. Importantly, we also found raised mortality in seasonal workers due to cancers (1.67, 1.03-2.69) and transport accidents (5.05, 2.07-12.31). Female non-standard workers’ mortality patterns were less pronounced, although temporary agency and fixed-term workers had elevated all-cause mortality. Conclusion. This study provides an additional piece of evidence that non-standard employment should be paid more attention to as a potential public health risk.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality