Employee Caregiving: Breakdown of the $33.6B Financial Cost to Employers

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Major corporations are moving forward with providing increasing benefits for employees with caregiving responsibilities. New policies expanding paid leave, allowing flexible work schedules, and additional voluntary benefits like back up care and family concierge services are becoming more prevalent as the trend spreads.

While this is good news for caregivers, it’s also good for business. According to a 2010 study from MetLife, the annual cost of caregivers to employers was estimated up to $33.6 billion annually due to lost productivity of employees through workday interruptions, absenteeism, reduced ability to work, and replacement costs.

The Cost Breakdown

  • Workday Interruptions: 2 hours each week. Employees in the study reported frequently being interrupted to take a phone call relating to caring for their dependent including calls from doctors and insurance providers

  • Absenteeism: 6.6 days annually. Many employees reported using their vacation and sick time to provide care for others.

  • Reduced Ability to Work: 9% of caregivers. According to a 2009 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 9% moved to part time or took a less demanding job in order to provide care for a dependent.

  • Replacement of Employees: 10% of caregivers. The same 2009 study also showed 10% of caregivers choose to retire early or leave their job to provide care. This can cost employers up to 50% of their salary to replace.

Increased Healthcare Costs

The Metlife Study also estimated that working caregivers cost an additional $13.4 billion annually in healthcare coverage. Employees with elder care responsibilities were more likely to report themselves in poor to fair health and suffer from depression,
diabetes, hypertension, or pulmonary disease.

Voluntary Benefits are Important

Employers are increasingly turning to voluntary benefits to provide support bespoke to their employees needs. Elder care benefits like family concierge service and back up care can play an important role and compliment other standard benefits such as flexible leave policies and EAP benefits. Such services can help alleviate employee stress and provide much needed support to their loved one while allowing them the freedom to work. Providing these benefits as voluntary has the added benefit of having minimal to no impact on budget. 

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