- The annual cost of unpaid caregiving, already at $67 billion, is likely to double by 2050, according to a study examining the impact of unpaid caregiving on work. The analysis estimates that the cost per caregiver of wages lost to family caregiving was $5,251 a year in 2013, and that the cost per caregiver in 2050 could be as high as $6,323 if wages increase 10.4%.
- Informal caregiving raises the odds that caregivers will stop working, reduce their work hours, change jobs or accept a lower-paying job, said Stipica Mudrazija, the study's author and a senior research associate at the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, said. Mudrazija cited the results of other researchers who found that women ages 51 to 70 work three to 10 hours less a week when providing care, while other researchers noted an annual decrease of 174 hours of work for women ages 57 to 67 who provide care for their parents.
- Demographic trends, such as an increase in the number of older Americans with disabilities that outpaces the predicted increase in the number of potential caregivers, suggest that the United States "can expect a substantial increase in the share of working-age adults who provide essential care to their frail parents and other family members," Mudrazija said.
According to the National Business Group on Health, 70% of working caregivers experience work problems due to their role, while caregiver absenteeism costs the U.S. economy an estimated $25.2 billion in lost productivity each year. The U.S. General Accounting Office has estimated that 68% of working parental and spousal caregivers find themselves needing to arrive late to work, leave early or take time off during the day to provide care.
Employers and employees have vastly differing viewpoints regarding the impact of caregiving duties on workplace performance, according to the Caring Company in a report from Harvard Business School. Less than a quarter of employers said they think caregiving influences employee performance, while more than 80% of employees said caregiving responsibilities affect their job. Among study respondents who are self-professed caregivers, 28% reported that caregiving hurt their careers, and one-third of workers said they had quit a job because of caregiving responsibilities.
Employers can help by offering caregiving benefits that enable workers to fulfill their work and home responsibilities, but employer caretaker benefits offerings seem to be sparse. The Society for Human Resource Management's 2018 Benefits Survey found that the percentage of employers offering eldercare referral service benefits dropped from 13% in 2017 to 10% in 2018. The survey also showed decreases in the percentage of employers offering two variations of flex time in 2018 — flextime outside of core business hours and shift flexibility.