Why should you care about caregivers in your organization?
We know that family caregiving costs employees and employers in three significant ways. Financial, emotional and physical well-being of caregivers is undermined. Respondents in a 2007 survey reported approximately $5,500 in annual out-of-pocket expenses, with long distance caregivers spending on average over $8,700 per year. More than one-third of these caregivers used some of their savings to cover caregiving costs.1 As a result of refusing promotions, decreasing work hours or quitting jobs, caregivers are estimated to each experience losses in wages, pension and Social Security benefits that average $659,139 over a lifetime.2 Caregiving can also have serious physical and mental health consequences, largely due to chronic stress that erodes the immune system, and increases the risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression. 3
Employee work performance suffers. Nearly 70% of employed caregivers make some type of work-related adjustment as a result of caregiving responsibilities. These include arriving late/leaving early/taking time off (66%), taking a leave of absence (20%), reducing work hours (12%) or quitting work entirely (9%).4 At work, employees’ caregiving responsibilities may be out of sight but often they are not out of mind. Hovering in the back of their minds, but often not openly discussed, caregiving concerns cause mental distractions, drain their energy and diminish the quality and effectiveness of their contributions.
Employers bear caregiving-related financial costs. In the US economy, the cost of lost productivity for all full-time, employed caregivers is $33.6 billion. The average cost per employee for all full-time, employed caregivers is $2,110, including costs associated with replacing employees, absenteeism, workday interruptions, supervisory time, unpaid leave, and reductions from full to part-time work.5 Costs for employed caregivers’ health care benefits are 8% per year higher than those for non-caregiving employees, totaling $13.4 billion annually.6
For a closer look at your organization, complete the Calculating the Cost of Caregiving form located in “The Cost” tab.
1 Family Caregivers-What They Spend, What They Sacrifice. Evercare and National Alliance for Caregiving. 2007.
2 The MetLife Juggling Act Study: Balancing Caregiving with Work and the Costs Involved. The MetLife Mature Market Institute, National Alliance for Caregiving, and National Center on Women and Aging at Brandeis University. 1999.
3 Valuing the Invaluable: A New Look at the Economic Value of Family Caregiving. AARP Public Policy Institute. 2007.
4 Caregiving in the US. National Alliance for Caregiving, AARP and The MetLife Foundation. 2009.
5 MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to US Business. MetLife Mature Market Institute. 2006.
6 MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs: New Insights and Innovations for Reducing Health Care Costs for Employers. MetLife Mature Market Institute. 2010.