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.