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Why Employers Should Care About Caregiving

Oct 07, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • At 53 million Americans, the shadow workforce of unpaid family caregivers is large and growing.
  • Caregivers report reduced productivity at work and strains on their financial, emotional, and physical health.
  • Employers can help caregivers in a number of ways.


More than one in five U.S. adults have acted as unpaid caregivers in the past 12 months.1 The shadow workforce of unpaid family caregivers in America is large, and the need for caregiving is expected to increase as longer lifespans translate into aging parents needing help for longer periods of time.

Caregivers have long faced challenges in meeting all of their responsibilities, but the shift to remote work and school during the COVID-19 pandemic has further disrupted the boundaries between their day jobs and their personal lives. Unpaid caregivers today face many challenges, including difficulty maintaining productivity at work and reduced financial, emotional, and physical health. Moreover, caregiving responsibilities disproportionately fall upon women and people of color, further widening existing gender and racial wealth gaps.

Employers may underestimate the impact of caregiving on their workforce because only half of employed caregivers say their manager is aware of their caregiving responsibilities. Yet employees’ caregiving challenges can impact employers in the form of lower productivity as well as higher levels of absenteeism and presenteeism.



  • 53 million - unpaid caregivers2
  • 40% of mothers reduced work hours to provide care3
  • 28% of caregivers have stopped saving4
  • 61% of unpaid caregivers are women5
  • 2.5 million women left workforce since pandemic started6
  • 57% of caregivers report high levels of anxiety or depression7

Employers can help employees navigate the challenges of serving as a caregiver while also holding down a job. By offering a range of solutions to help employees balance caregiving and work responsibilities, employers can help improve their workers’ emotional, financial, and physical wellness. For employers, this can yield improvements in employee engagement and productivity, talent recruitment and retention, cost containment, and workforce management and diversity. These win-win dynamics make helping caregivers both the right thing and the smart thing for employers to do.


Read More

To learn more, read Why Employers Should Care About Caregiving  PDF Opens in new window or view the Why Employers Should Care About Caregiving  PDF Opens in new window infographic.

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  • 1 AARP.
  • 2 AARP.
  • 3 Prudential.
  • 4 AARP.
  • 5 AARP.
  • 6 Reuters.
  • 7 Blue Cross Blue Shield.

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