Introduction Increasing employment among older workers is a policy priority given the increase in life expectancy and the drop in labour force participation after the age of 50. Reasons for this drop are complex but include poor health, age discrimination, inadequate skills/qualifications and caring roles; however, limited evidence exists on how best to support this group back to work. The Work Programme is the UK Government's flagship policy to facilitate return to work (RTW) among those at risk of long-term unemployment. Supporting Older People Into Employment' (SOPIE) is a mixed-methods longitudinal study involving a collaboration between academics and a major Work Programme provider (Ingeus). The study will investigate the relationship between health, worklessness and the RTW process for the over 50s.