Previous research has found the employment consequences of poor health to be of increased magnitude in low qualified groups. The purpose of this study is to investigate if this relationship varies within different stages of the life course when focusing on long term associations with non-employment. An expectation of the article is that stronger effects of poor health may be found in young adults compared to middle aged people. The article considers two possible explanations: normative change and life stage resources. Using three-wave panel data from the Norwegian county of Nord-Trøndelag, the HUNT study allows the study of respondents over two decades. Two narrow cohorts have been selected for comparison, and health was measured by self-reported longstanding limiting illness. For the analyses, cross tabulations, logistic regression, and fixed effects logistic regression techniques are used. The article concludes in favour of the resource explanation; young adulthood is a critical period in relation to long term employment consequences of poor health, and especially so among people with fewer educational resources. Cohort differences in the employment consequences of poor health are not likely to be caused by poorer work ethics among younger cohorts.