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Exploring the relationship between economic security, furlough and mental distress

Pounds and pennies
Published: November 2020

The first output of this research project is a briefing paper investigating how job and financial insecurity is related to mental distress amongst employees across the UK, and the impact the UK government’s furlough scheme has had on this.

Findings

  • Furloughed workers were over twice as likely to feel insecure in their jobs and to report high levels of financial insecurity compared to non-furloughed workers.
  • Higher levels of job insecurity and financial insecurity two months after lockdown were associated with greater increases in mental distress.
  • Furlough moderated the extent to which employment and financial circumstances were associated with increases in mental distress. Furloughed workers in insecure jobs two months after lockdown were less likely to experience mental distress than their counterparts who were not furloughed.
  • Furlough was protective of mental health among people with long-term insecure jobs. Furloughed workers who were in long-term insecure jobs, before and during the lockdown, reported no increase in mental distress, unlike their counterparts who had not been furloughed.

About the research

This research investigates how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people’s mental health and financial situation, and how this differs among different groups of the UK population.

Find out more about the research project here.