Cost Of Caregiving On Employees

In the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, we often forget the reality of our employee’s and colleague’s responsibilities outside of work. Whether these responsibilities are to an elder relative or to their dependent children, approximately 43.5 million Americans are currently providing unpaid or informal caregiving. Your employees and colleagues are finding it more difficult to balance successful career development while fulfilling their caregiving responsibilities.

Employers need to take into consideration the caretaker benefits they can offer employees. Joseph B. Fuller, Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School, states “The costs associated with voluntary turnover and lost productivity driven by caretaking duties are much more substantial than employers take into account.”

Read further for information on the impact of unpaid caregiving on employees:

The Facts.

The 2017 Transamerica Institute report on Caregiving and its Impacts states that out of the 43.5 million unpaid care givers, 76% stated they had to make some type of adjustment to their employment in order to fulfill their caretaking responsibilities. This included cutting hours, using paid sick or vacation days, taking a leave of absence, or quitting their job altogether. More than half of employed caregivers work full-time (56%), with approximately 16% working between 30-39 hours, and 25% working fewer than 30 hours a week.

With only 1 in 10 employers offering any kind of paid caregiver leave, very few employees are open about their caregiving duties because of a lack of support surrounding “care culture” at work. Care.com, a childcare service, reports that 85% of working parents wish their employer would provide benefits surrounding employees involved in caretaking outside of work.

Fill The Benefits Gap.

Employers are acutely aware of the added costs of offering these benefits but there needs to be a bridge that connects the gap between employees departing to provide caretaking and the cost of onboarding new hires to replace them. The answer? Employers are revisiting the drawing board when it comes to family leave benefits that can help caretakers and parents remain in the workforce.

The national average cost for non-medical home care for adults/elders is upwards of $45,760 per year, with yearly non-medical child care costs ranging between $9,672 – $24,544. If employers are aware of these costs, they can yield better benefits that can help their current employees, in turn helping longevity, production, and motivation.

For example, AutoNation offers all employees a specialized benefit plan for employees who receive a cancer diagnosis, assisting in medical treatment and care costs. Estee Lauder is offering in-home child, adult, and elder care benefits to its U.S. employees. General Mills has introduced paid caregiver leave along with its employee benefits. Starbucks offers U.S. employees paid time off for “back up care” time that can be used to care for adults or children.

The national movement towards providing caregiver benefits is on the outset. Filling the benefits gap will give employees the needed resources to manage their personal lives. While we can be consumed by our responsibilities in the workplace, it is beneficial to remember the outside lives of employees and colleagues exists and can directly impact performance. The positive support they receive form their employers bridging the gap of “care culture” where possible, can make all the difference in retaining your top talent.