Strategies to support working caregivers

With more than 1 in 6 working Americans also juggling caregiving responsibilities1 — assisting with the care of an elderly or disabled family member or friend — virtually every company has some employees who essentially have a second “job” as informal caregivers. They likely strain to integrate caregiving tasks into packed days, juggling multiple roles and facing increased stress.

This trend has critical implications for employers. For many of these working caregivers, the caregiver role significantly affects their work-life balance, which can lead to anxiety, financial challenges, poor health and lost productivity in the workplace. Our new whitepaper, A New Opportunity for Employers: Strategies to Support Working Caregivers, reveals:

Managing caregiving responsibilities during work hours accounts for lost productivity estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars in the U.S.

The physical and emotional stress on informal caregivers can lead to their own decline in health and higher medical expenses.

Working caregivers report that they are turning down promotions, retiring early or giving up jobs sooner than they planned.

Leaving the workforce prematurely to care for a loved one can have significant short- and long-term financial implications due to new expenses, loss of income and lost opportunity to contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

“Forward-looking employers are now responding to the rise in elder caregiving needs and demands with a number of innovative benefits,” says Cyndi Hutchins, director of Financial Gerontology at Bank of America. “These employers recognize that, unlike parenting, the need for caregiving can occur at any time and without warning.”

Employers can take a number of steps to increase employee engagement and support for working caregivers, helping to create a thriving work culture and improve retention. Download A New Opportunity for Employers: Strategies to Support Working Caregivers, for more information about this growing need and specific steps employers can take to support their workforce.

Key takeaways

Consider providing access to eldercare support and resources, such as counselors or other professionals who can make referrals and give advice about assisted living or nursing homes.

Educate and train supervisors and managers to equip them to better support employees who are also caregivers.

Promote educational resources to employees. Visit Employee Financial Education Resources > Financial Wellness > Topic Bundles > Caregiving to see our suite of caregiving resources for employees.

You may already offer programs and benefits that can help employees who are caregivers, such as an employee assistance program or referral services for finding professional caregivers to help when the employee is unable. Many employees, however, aren’t aware these programs are available, so it’s important to continuously share information about them in company newsletters, emails and meetings.

1 National Center on Caregiving Family Caregiver Alliance. Caregiver Statistics: Demographics. 2016.