The Impact of Caregiving on Employment

Will employers ever realize that the cost-cutting measures to remove many of the wellness programs they used to invest in could actually make a big difference to their bottom line?

The trend seems to be on encouraging better health for the employees through monetary incentives to do everything from drinking more water to getting in more steps daily. These incentives dismiss the reality that millions of employees are dealing with health issues that are not their own … and it will ultimately impact their ability to perform their jobs and sadly, ultimately their health. One study found that employers paid about 8 percent more for the health care of caregiver employees compared to noncaregivers, potentially costing U.S. businesses $13.4 billion per year.

According to AARP About half (49 percent) of the workforce expects to be providing  eldercare in the coming five years.

After living through the care of two parents, I hope more employers will consider offering something as simple as a brown bag lunch to help employees understand the choices, issues, and how to better navigate the caregiving journey.  Most of us that do these workshops as well as those that are serving in the senior community left careers after being a caregiver. We know it can be easier, better, and are doing our part to make a difference. I hope if you are still working you have gone to your employer to find out what they might have in place to help you.

The Costs of Caregiving Affect Both Individual Workers and Employers

According to a white paper on caregiving done by AARP, U.S. businesses lose up to $33.6 billion per year in lost productivity from full-time working caregivers. Costs associated with replacing employees, absenteeism, workday distractions, supervisory time, and reductions in hours from full-time to part-time all take a toll.

While it’s expected to impact nearly half of all employees in the coming years, the initial fear was the loss of the workers due to aging. Now it’s the impact of workers caring for loved ones that will take a toll on our workforce.

Add the costs from increased health expenses for caregivers to the costs of lost productivity and the total mushrooms to $47 Billion. Have you noticed corporate America?

The report shares that:

  • Some 20 percent of all female and 16 percent of all male workers in the United States are family caregivers. That’s nearly 1/5th of all employees.
  • Nearly seven in ten (68 percent) caregivers report making work accommodations because of caregiving. These adjustments include arriving late/leaving early or taking time off, cutting back on work hours, changing jobs, or stopping work entirely (see figure 1).


Family caregivers (age 50 and older) who leave the workforce to care for a parent lose, on average, nearly $304,000 in wages and benefits over their lifetime. These estimates range from $283,716 for men to $324,044 for women.

For now, the numbers prove that both sides are on the losing end.

What I do know is that I lived though these statistics and can vouch that my caregiving resulted in me leaving the workforce temporarily. The impact to my lifetime wages and benefits was greater than the average. However, I enjoy my new career and wake up every day with a fire in my belly to make a difference, if even only for one person each day. Testified.

If your company is ready to put some caregiving education programs into place, you can reach me at 703.436.2827.

3 thoughts on “The Impact of Caregiving on Employment

  1. I became my mom’s caregivers 4 years ago and continued to work. My effectiveness and my ability to have patience at my job were slowly losing ground. I missed many opportunities to make extra money and my evaluations began to drop due to time off. My company does offer unpaid FLMA after the federal mandate has expired (6 weeks.) I am currently on unpaid FLMA to take care of mom full time because her condition has reached the level where she can not be alone. Although I feel fortunate to have this time to care for mom without losing my job, my retirement plans and monies are being effected. It is a tough call, but I could NOT do both any longer.

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